Michael Jackson: his children do not know their mother
The children of Michael Jackson do not know their mother and want to stay with the pop icon’s relatives, family friend Jesse Jackson said on Saturday after reports of a looming custody battle.
Jackson told MSNBC he doubted whether a possible claim for custody by Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of the pop star’s eldest son and daughter, would be in the best interests of the children.
“At this point Mrs Rowe has not been in their lives. They do not know her, she does not know them,” said veteran activist Jackson, who is not related to the musical clan but is a close adviser.
“I’m convinced the family feels that the children will be more secure with their grandparents and with their cousins in this relationship,” he added, describing the Jacksons as “the only family they’ve ever known”.
Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1996 to 1999, told local television on Thursday she planned to fight for custody of her two children with the pop star although her lawyer later claimed no decision on a lawsuit had been taken.
A custody hearing scheduled for July 6 has now been reset for July 13.
On June 29 a Los Angeles court named the star’s 79-year-old mother Katherine Jackson as the temporary guardian of Prince Michael, Paris and younger brother Prince Michael II, who was born to a secret surrogate.
A 2002 will filed in Los Angeles Superior Court revealed that Jackson wanted his mother to gain custody of his children in the event of his death, with soul legend Diana Ross named as a back-up guardian.
Rowe signed away her parental rights to her two children in 2001, describing Jackson as a “wonderful man… a brilliant father”.
However a Los Angeles judge reversed the order in 2004 after Rowe cited concerns over publicity related to Jackson’s prosecution for child molestation.
Rowe later settled the case with Jackson, reportedly securing visitation rights.