Absent Diana Ross stuns Jackson family
Diana Ross' decision not to attend her friend Michael Jackson's memorial service yesterday (07.07.09) stunned those close to the late 'Thriller' star who had no idea she had declined her invitation
Michael Jackson's family were stunned that Diana Ross didn't attend his memorial service.
The 'Baby Love' singer - who was appointed guardian of the late star's three children in the event of his mother Katherine's death - decided not to attend yesterday's (07.07.09) tribute at Los Angeles' Staples Center, instead sending a letter which was read out by Smokey Robinson, much to the surprise of Michael's family.
A source said: "When Smokey read out Diana's letter, there were a lot of people's heads turning and shrugging in those front rows."
In her statement, Diana insisted it just felt "right" to not attend.
She said: "I am trying to find closure, I want you to know that even though I am not there at the Staples Center, I am there in my heart. I have decided to pause and be silent. This feels right for me. Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my world, part of the fabric of my life in a way that I can't seem to find words to express.
"Michael wanted me to be there for his children, and I will be there if ever they need me. I hope today brings closure for all those who loved him.
"Thank you Katherine and Joe for sharing your son with the world and with me, I send my love and condolences to the Jackson family."
Following Smokey's opening address at the ceremony, an emotional Mariah Carey gave the first performance with a rendition of Jackson 5 hit 'I'll Be There' with Trey Lorenz and despite a rapturous reception, was unhappy with her efforts.
She was reportedly overheard saying: "I could have done a bit better. But that's not what this all about. It's about paying tribute to Michael Jackson. Period."
Mariah, Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah felt added pressure before they went on stage because they were convinced they could feel the singer's presence in the huge auditorium.
As the others nodded in agreement, Queen Latifah apparently said: ''I just know he's here. I can sense him."
Corey Feldman - a former friend of Michael's - caused a stir when he arrived at the service dressed as the pop icon in a military-style jacket, black fedora and sunglasses with strands of hair dangling in front of his face.
Speaking afterwards, he said: "I've been crying a lot and I'm just drained. Michael changed the world and I think we should remember him for that."
The former child star befriended the singer in the 1980s but they eventually drifted apart and hadn't spoken for several years prior to Michael's death of a suspected cardiac arrest on June 25.