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Publicist Says Michael Jackson Has Purchased France Estate

April 26, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It’s not exactly Sleeping Beauty’s castle, but Michael Jackson’s dreams have come true now that he’s bought a 15th century French chateau, his Hollywood publicist said Thursday.

After looking for a country estate resembling the one depicted in the fairy tale, the singer settled on Chateau de Chabennet, complete with 82 rooms, seven towers and a moat.

``Call him Leroi,″ said a statement faxed by publicist Lee Solters, fracturing his French as he announced that the property ``comes with all the facilities and amenities befitting the `King of Pop.′ ″

The mirrors on the wall may or may not tell the pop star if he’s the fairest of them all _ but they’ll still need to be cleaned and maintained along with everything else.

Solters’ statement didn’t say what Jackson paid for the huge estate about 120 miles south of Paris, which had a market price of $5 million. Cher was reportedly interested in the property at one time, then dropped out of the bidding.

The previous owner, Philippe Marec, had invested heavily in renovations after buying it in 1988, hoping to transform it into a luxury training center for professionals.

Jackson may have been seduced by the castle’s location _ just 18 miles from the airport in nearby Chateauroux and a quick flight away from Disneyland Paris.

Mick Jagger also owns a chateau not far away in Posse-sur-Cisse, where locals sometime spot him riding in an all-terrain vehicle to the village bakery for fresh bread.

The original Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is generally recognized as the Chateau d’Usse near Tours, about 60 miles northwest of the Chateau de Chabennet.

French writer Charles Perrault is said to have been inspired by the Chateau d’Usse when he wrote a book of fairy tales in 1697 that included the story of Sleeping Beauty. In the tale, a beautiful princess is placed under a spell by a wicked witch, and only the kiss of a handsome prince can wake her.

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