Lawyer says Debbie Rowe is undecided about seeking custody of Jackson children
An attorney for Debbie Rowe, the mother of Michael Jackson’s two elder children, said today that she has not made a final decision to seek custody, despite telling a television reporter that was her intention.
Eric George, Rowe’s lawyer, did not dispute that Rowe told an NBC-TV Channel 4 reporter by telephone that she wanted custody of Prince Michael Jr., 12, and Paris Michael Katherine, 11, the children she bore when married to Jackson.
The youngest, Prince Michael II, 7, was borne by an unidentified surrogate mother. During the interview, Rowe said she would take a DNA test to prove she is her children's biological mother.
“I want my children,” Rowe said.
But her lawyer said it would be a “distortion of the truth” to interpret Rowe’s comments to the television reporter as her final decision in the custody case.
“I am representing to you unequivocally that Debbie has not reached a final decision” on custody, George said.
He described the custody proceedings as “the most private and the most sensitive of matters as they impact the lives and fates of young children.”
As the biological parent, Rowe, 50, would be in line to obtain the children unless a judge determined that would not be in their best interest. Rowe appears to have had little contact with the children over the years, though she does have visitation rights.
Katherine Jackson, the pop icon’s mother, has temporary custody of the children. Jackson said in a 2002 will that if his mother could not care for his children, guardianship should go to soul singer Diana Ross, 65, a close friend who was a strong artistic influence.
A custody hearing scheduled for Monday has been postponed until July 13 at the request of attorneys for Katherine Jackson and Rowe.
—Maura Dolan in San Francisco