Lisa-Marie becomes a part of Michael Jackson's history

DAVID USBORNE

New York

The marriage of Michael Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley, the King of Pop and the daughter of the King of Rock'n'Roll, is over. The self-declared "loneliest man in the world" may indeed be just that.

It was apparently she who made the move to sunder what many had labelled more of a business merger than a marriage. "Irreconcilable differences," were cited by her publicist, Paul Bloch, in Los Angeles last night, who confirmed that a request for divorce had been filed in court.

For the gossip columnists it means an abrupt end to a long and wonderful season of Lisa-Marie-Whacko conjecture.

It was a comic farce that began in May 1994 in a grubby hotel room in the Dominican Republic, where they had found sanctuary from the glare of paparazzi to tie the knot. But rumours that all was not well started almost immediately.

At the MTV Music Awards in New York last September Jackson, 37, and Lisa- Marie arrived at the ceremony separately and left the same way after ignoring each other throughout.

Lisa-Marie was the only person to remain seated during a standing ovation after her husband performed a 15-minute medley at the show.

Most recently, Jackson spent Christmas Eve alone at a children's party in Paris, without his 27-year-old wife and her two children, from her previous marriage to rocker Danny Keough. The children did not take to Jackson, according to reports, and allegedly hated living at his Neverland Ranch in California. Jackson wanted to adopt them but Lisa-Marie refused, saying they were too close to their biological father.

Dubbed "the world's weirdest couple", their 20-month marriage has been plagued by child sex abuse allegations and claims that he only married her to take the sting out of the claims.

The point, the cynics said, was the resurrection of Jackson's superstar status wrecked by allegations that emerged in 1993. He managed eventually to quell the sensation with an out-of-court settlement to the boy's family put at $20m, leaving the publicists free to begin the task of repairing his image.

Full re-entry into the global spotlight came last summer with the release of his latest album, HIStory Past, Present and Future, Part I. It was then that the couple appeared together on ABC Television to inform us about their busy bedroom life.

Lisa Marie was especially adamant: "They can eat it if they think anything different," she declared. And she later told a chat show host: "We will be expecting children but I won't be saying when. It's in the hands of the gods."

A spokeswoman for Michael Jackson's British fan club said: "A lot of the fans didn't really think Lisa-Marie was being supportive enough of Michael.

"Many didn't really think she was the one for him ... so they will probably be quite happy with this news."

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