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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 08/11/2009

Woman Claims Jacko Gave Her Baby to Tom Cruise

By Liz Kelly

In addition to the myriad other head scratchers surrounding the the death of Michael Jackson, the one-time pop singer's demise finally provided a platform for a possible schizophrenic to gain national coverage of her fantastic delusions.

On Monday, one Claire Elizabeth Fields Cruise -- a 43-year-old woman who describes herself as the president of the Department of Empowerment --- stepped forward claiming to be the mother of Michael Jackson's three children. Watch her presser outside the L.A. County Courthouse below:

How Cruise managed to convince a gaggle of reporters to gather for a press conference I don't know, but at least one person -- a former high school classmate she claims is the real father of Paris Jackson -- is saying Cruise "is not quite right."

Cruise claims to be the biological mother of Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket but not to have actually carried them herself. Not only that -- she says Jackson fathered a fourth child with her then forced her to give that child up to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Which is probably ultimately okay, right?, since she also claims to have married Tom Cruise when she was nine years old. Oh, and Cruise says she sold Jackson her Beatles catalog and legally married him in 1983. In a rambling screed posted to her MySpace page, Cruise also says she married Ron Goldman (yes, that Ron Goldman), wrote George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and sang on Madonna's first album. There's more, but you get the idea.

Her MySpace friend pool is limited but if her fixation with Michael Jackson is any indication, friends Leonardo DiCaprio and John Mayer should probably be on the alert.

By Liz Kelly  | August 11, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Michael Jackson  
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Woah, Nellie!

Another coo-coo Cruise.



Posted by: bmschumacher | August 11, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ok, come on Liz. I'll go along with a lot of things, but clearly this woman is mentally unstable. It's not news, not gossip either. It's just mean.

Posted by: megtheegg | August 11, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If only the media would Just.Ignore.Her. But traditionally in journalism, August (a slow time of year, news-wise) has been the "silly season."

Unless she's an imminent threat to her own or someone else's life, or mentally incompetent (e.g., having extreme retardation), she cannot lawfully be committed involuntarily; the era of what happened to Rosemary Kennedy is long since past, fortunately.

Perhaps this woman's Cruise obsession has something to do with $cientolocult's denial of the existence of organic mental illness and its opposition to the sorts of meds she clearly needs but likely doesn't want to take.

This is, at its basis, a very sad story.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Minor quibble: describing this woman as "unstable" is a little like describing One World Trade Center as "a fixer-upper."

But yeah, she would seem to need treatment, not airtime.

Posted by: byoolin1 | August 11, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Agree with megtheegg. This story dips a little too low.

Posted by: kvs09 | August 11, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Suddenly, that woman who stalked David Caruso is feeling mighty superior. (Though if I were Claire Cruise, I'd leave out that "Careless Whisper" thing; people might think she's nuts for claiming "guilty feet have got no rhythm".)

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | August 11, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I feel very sorry for her. Whoever arranged the press conference took advantage.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | August 11, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Liz, I totally understand what this column/blog is, what it's about, and I know it's not about serious journalism, it's about escaping serious journalism just for kicks. but my God, I cannot believe this appeared on a Web site even remotely associated with the Washington Post, much less on its actual Web site. Please, take this down, and put up something more appropriate, like whether LiLo is losing her hair or what the hell is going on with Mickey Rourke these days.

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

On a slightly funny and sad note, her myspace page lists her as "Pope Claire Elizabeth I" and her religion as Buddhist. Now we can no longer rhetorically and sarcastically ask "Is the Pope Catholic?".

Posted by: DCCubefarm | August 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

What we really need is Cruise Control.

Posted by: kabuki3 | August 11, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I feel so sorry for this woman. I'm pretty skeeved out that so many reporters thought giving her a microphone was a good idea.

I'm gonna second the "not for Celebritology" sentiment.

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | August 11, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm quite surprised that some of the regulars are so offended by the post. I may not find it in good taste but many of the posters regularly make comments that I find patently offensive and disgusting. Why is this any worse? Before you say that she's being exploited, SHE went to a courthouse and stood outside making such declarations. The woman sought media attention and here it is. She obviously needs some help and hopefully her family will do right by her but I am just amazed by the hypocrisy showcased regularly in these comments. You say you want snark and put up stuff that might get you assaulted were you to say it to someone's face and here you are crying about a post that is relatively tame. Wow, just wow.

Posted by: lafilleverte | August 11, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Why is this any worse?

Uh, because the person is incompetent to make this decision. But as long as she's not an imminent threat to anyone's life (and clearly not majorly retarded), she can't be involuntarily institutionalized.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

lafilleverte -- the issue is not snarking, or that 90% of the stuff on this blog is not really news -- the issue is that at some point you have to draw the line on providing media coverage of mentally ill people. I don't think she is being exploited. That's not the point either. She's obviously crazy. What I think is equally looney is that reporters would cover what she is saying and that a blog on the Washington Post would repeat it.

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Liz, but this is lower than low.

Mental illness is not entertainment. It is a tragic reality for many families, and your failure to recognize how painful this is to read for people who care about a mentally ill relative is very hard to understand. I hope you never know the reality of that pain. I also hope you never choose to inflict it on people again.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

While this woman is truly sad, and may not be an appropriate target, most experts don't think that mental illness is necessarily an either/or (totally sane vs. batsh*t crazy), but is a continuum. It seems a bit ironic for someone on one hand to decry the entertainment value of manifestations of mental illness, but cite as an alternative focusing on Mickey Rourke. Then there were the millions of electrons expent on Jacko, who clearly did not have both oars in the water.

It's a judgement call, and I guess this one was questionable.

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 11, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This is a good debate to have when you think about the mental stability of some of the celebrities that are regularly "snarked" on in this blog - Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, etc. They might be rich and famous but they are also troubled souls with substance abuse and mental health issues.

Posted by: kvs09 | August 11, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the reporters actually did this. Slow news month is not an excuse.

Liz should have put this up as a commentary on the problems of celeb coverage. It brings out the crazies. Like the 53-year-old last week who claimed he was secretly engaged to Miley Cyrus.

We snark, but are not a danger to the celebs. Also, we decry the exploitation of those who cannot protect themselves like children and the mentally ill. but, if a grown, competent adult wants to date the babysitter, hey, fair game.

Posted by: epjd | August 11, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

But there a couple of good things to come from this story...Number one, a few certain sensationalist "tabloidesque" reporters got what they deserved when they showed up at a news conference looking to further beat a dead horse with yet more Jackson coverage and scandal. And number two, Tom Cruise and Scientologists are reminded very publicly how stupid are their views on mental illness with living proof of the matter. (I seriously doubt, though, this will lead to policy change).
I have to admit, however, before some of you others shamed me for laughing at this story, I was going to snark that Michael got the idea for the single white sequined glove from me and I have the other one to prove it!

Posted by: hodie | August 11, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

hodie, you've mentioned that in your clinical practice days you were an OB/GYN. Without violating any doctor-patient privilege, did you ever encounter any patients who were certifiable, like the subject of this afternoon's blog? And, to the point, how did you proceed? Were you able to get them to accept the treatment they needed?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Reddragon -- I thought Micky Rourke was a celebrity. Or are you saying the Mick is mentally ill?

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Mickey Rourke has just been hit in the head too many times. I remember when he was a beautiful, talented actor. I loved him in The Pope of Greenwich Village. I couldn't watch The Wrestler - too painful to see the freak he has become.

Posted by: kabuki3 | August 11, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the others - this woman is obviously mentally ill and this story should never have been posted. Coverage just feeds her illness. Liz - please ignore these kind of stories for the future.

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | August 11, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Nosy, yep did ob/gyn but switched to family medicine w/ob. And yes I've had my fair share of looney-tunes. I apologize if that sounds a bit disrespectful but those of you who know doctors will know that a good sense of humor is our first defense against feelings of hopelessness and depression that can come from seeing and being involved in tragic and heartbreaking or just frustrating and exhausting cases.
Often we see such cases in the elderly who are slipping into dementia, but we also encounter younger patients with untreated mental illness like as Liz suggested, schizophrenia, or even bipolar disorder or personality disorders. And it is very hard to help someone who doesn't wish to be helped or doesn't see a problem if they are not putting themselves or others into immediate danger.

Posted by: hodie | August 11, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

feelings of hopelessness and depression that can come from seeing and being involved in tragic and heartbreaking or just frustrating and exhausting cases.

I mean no disrespect, Doc, because it must be hard to feel so helpless in the face of the hard-to-cure. But at least health-care providers get to go home at the end of their shifts. A relative or close friend of the mentally ill gets no respite till death does them part, unless the relative/friend bails out.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

First off, I'm heartened by the debate here.

I did consider writing this piece as more of a cautionary tale about coverage of celebrities and the dark side of people who lead very public lives. In reading your comments, I'm thinking maybe I should have gone that route.

But -- I don't think this woman was off limits to write about for Celebritology. And aside from intimating that she probably suffers from mental illness, I wrote it as a straight out report of her claims -- with minimal snarkage -- though I will admit to a few lame attempts at yuks.

Before deciding that something is worthy of this blog, I always ask myself whether or not a given subject furthers our mission to study of Celebritology -- does it help us to understand another facet of fame or of a public figure's life. I think the above piece does both -- it illustrates the dark side of celebrity, showing how someone who makes the decision to lead a life in the limelight forever trades away a level of privacy the rest of us take for granted. It also served as yet another example of how Michael Jackson's life and death has become a three-ring circus. Would this woman have gotten any coverage before his death? Probably not. But considering the unusual circumstances surrounding Jackson's death and the cast of characters put forward as possible biological parents for these children (not to mention Jackson's own eccentricity while living), well, it wasn't that big of a leap to extend the coverage to Claire Cruise.

I agree that Claire Cruise needs help and hope she gets it. As for me, I'll pay a bit more attention to tone, but I am heartened by the debate the piece inspired here in the comments section.

You guys make my job so worthwhile.


- Liz

Posted by: Liz_Likes_Celebs_Not_Baseball | August 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

rashibama, the Rourke is somewhere on the continuum. As are many of us.

Posted by: reddragon1 | August 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Liz, this woman reminded me way too much of such desperately ill people as the woman who stalked David Letterman for years claiming to be his wife (and making his life a misery, as well). She eventually died a tragic death, which may have been a relief for her.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I wouldn't be so hard on Liz. Once it's out there, it's news. The problem is the people who arrange the press conference in the first place and the reporters in the clip with their notepads and microphones.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | August 11, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Liz, good explanation on your thinking. I'd still vote to look the other way on this one, but I know that's hard. And yep, you have a job to do.

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Liz, your explanation is acceptable, but now I have to ask you- What do you have against baseball?

Posted by: justmike | August 11, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Man, it must be tough living your lives to such high moral standards. You sit here all day, every day posting insulting jokes about celebrities that you have never met but this is over the line? The beginning of the post is saying, hey look at the crazy crap that is getting out there now because of his death! and proceeds to mention the ridiculous claims this woman is making. I don't know what her deal is or if she is mentally ill or not, but it's funny. FUNNY. But I guess people who have a running joke about a baby that was kidnapped and murdered would not be as easily amused by offensive materal as I would.

Posted by: spret07 | August 11, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Wet noodles for all of us.

Posted by: hodie | August 11, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

(peeking out of his foxhole)

Is it safe to snark, can I come out now? Oh look there's the Lindbergh baby....

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 11, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

spret07 |... Obviously there are two schools of thought running here. So what you are saying is that if people post insulting remarks about Paris Hilton or make comments about LiLo's hair loss in a snarky way, those people should have no right to question the appropriateness of anyone giving ink to some schizo claiming to have married Tom Cruise when she was nine?

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Britney Spears and Michael Jackson clearly have clinical mental illnesses yet they are regular topics of snarky discussion on this blog. The fact that a throng of journalists showed up at his woman's press conference makes this different than some homeless person talking to invisible people on a street corner.

Posted by: buffysummers | August 11, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

If we're going to nitpick this to death, I would add that a teenage vampire-slayer might not be totally qualified to determine who is clinically insane...
Kidding, just kidding.

Posted by: justmike | August 11, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Britney Spears and Michael Jackson clearly have clinical mental illnesses yet they are regular topics of snarky discussion on this blog.

One major difference between the celebs you mention and this hapless woman is that the celebs have "people" who are SUPPOSED to look out for their best interests and protect them from themselves if need be. Sadly, some of these "people" fail, at times spectacularly, motivated by their own faults (such as a selection from among the 7 deadly sins, for starters).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Britney Spears and Michael Jackson clearly have clinical mental illnesses --buffysummers ... yes, but they ARE/(were)celebrities. This woman is not. My whole point is that a throng of journalists should not have shown up, or at least should have agreed not to do anything on it. So why don't reporters just go out and interview the homeless talking to invisible people on the corner. Why not ask them if they are Paris Jackson's father? Put it on TMZ? Throw it back to the Lizzards on this island.... By the way, I killed Paul McCartney in 1968 and I'm having a press conference at 10a tomorrow to come clean.

Posted by: rashibama | August 11, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Rashibama, when are you going to put Paul's shoes up for auction on eBay?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | August 11, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I think this woman's story is as credible as anything the birthers or the "death panel" protestors are claiming. Since the cable news shows are allowing them to spread their tall tails unchallenged, it's hard to say this woman is too crazy to be t.v. worthy.

Posted by: buffysummers | August 11, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Who's taking bets as to when Claire Cruise shows up on Larry King?

Posted by: zn123 | August 11, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Who's taking bets as to when Claire Cruise shows up on Larry King?

Posted by: zn123


Here's hoping Kathy Griffin interviews her.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | August 11, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

You're right, no one should write about this lady. In fact, no one should write about anyone with a mental illness. To avoid potential insult, let's just pretend mental illness doesn't exist and not acknowledge it at all. Sorry, but is putting an item about this woman on Celebritology somehow inhibiting her from seeking treatment that she may or may not require? Are any of you privy to her medical records to be able to discern her as actually mentally ill as opposed to just utterly weird?

Most of you people seriously have zero sense of humor. This comment section generally reads like the trash bin in Jay Leno's writer's room. Out of touch and lame. Vast, vast overuse of the word "snark" for that matter.

Posted by: spret07 | August 11, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Also can we stop using the phrase "real father" when referring to the Jackson children's biological parentage? Whatever else he was, Michael was the only parent these kids have ever known.

Plus, every adopted kid I've ever known flinches when they are asked about their "real" parents. I hope that the rumors are true and Katherine is closely monitoring the children's TV and internet usage.

Posted by: TigerLily81 | August 11, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Liz, sorry to psot so late, the paying job got in the way of the real one (celebritologist). Thank you so much for posting your reasoning on why you went with this story. That also helps us to understand celebritlogy a little more.

Posted by: epjd | August 11, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Spret07, holding a press conference for this woman confirms her own delusions. That does her harm. If/when she gets treatment and confronts her delusions, there will always be a bit of doubt in her mind "But there was a press conference and everything!"

Posted by: DCCubefarm | August 13, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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