The memorial service for the biggest entertainer of all time takes place today. Michael Jackson’s public memorial service will be held at The Staples Center at 10 a.m. PT. (1 p.m. ET). Only 8,750 fans were chosen to attend from the 1.6 million that registered online for free tickets. Each person received two tickets for a total of 17,500 fans in attendance. Only 11,000 of the seats are inside the Staples Center, the other 6,500 seats are for a telecast at the Nokia Theater across the street. Participating in the service are Kobe Bryant, Mariah Carey, Berry Gordy, Jennifer Hudson, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Bernice King, Lionel Richie, Usher, Al Sharpton and Stevie Wonder.
Michael’s ex wife and suspected mother to two of his children, Debbie Rowe, will not be at today’s service. Her lawyers issued a statement saying:
“”The onslaught of media attention has made it clear her attendance would be an unnecessary distraction to an event that should focus exclusively on Michael’s legacy,” said a statement from Browne, Woods & George, the law firm representing her. Debbie will continue to celebrate Michael’s memory privately.”
Michael’s long time friend Elizabeth Taylor, decided not to attend today’s service either. She posted a message on her Twitter saying:
“”I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others, how I feel is between us. Not a public event.”
Before the public service, the Jackson family will have a private service at Forest Lawn Cemetery at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m.ET). His body will then be escorted to the Staples Center by an LAPD motorcade.