Both Star and OK! Magazine have cover stories dealing with Michael Jackson’s children this week. Shock of all shocks, it looks like Star’s cover story is a bit more respectful, with the headline, “Michael’s Kids: Inside Their Shattered World”. Star has a source who claims (I believe, correctly) that the kids are simply devastated. Michael was their whole world, “father, mother, playmate. Now that he’s gone, everything is different for them.” They cite little Paris’s heart-wrenching tribute to her father yesterday, and they make it seem like the kids are incredibly confused and emotional right now:
Hearts broke around the world when Michael Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter, Paris, delivered a teary tribute to her late father during his memorial, saying simply: “Daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine, and I just want to say, I love you so much,” before breaking down.
As Star reports in our July 20 issue, the King of Pop’s three children are struggling with their devastating loss — and wonder who will raise them now that their doting dad is gone.
Prince, Paris and Blanket “are scared and confused,” says a family insider. “Michael was everything to them — father, mother, playmate. Now that he’s gone, everything is different for them.”
While Prince, 12, has tried to put on a brave face for his younger siblings, he often breaks down and sobs uncontrollably. It’s the same with Paris, who constantly bursts into tears and runs out of the room — her brief but heartfelt tribute to her father at the Staples Center on Tuesday was typical of her behavior. As for little Blanket, 7, he asks, “Who will be my Mommy?” according to the family insider.
“It has hit the kids hard — really hard,” adds the insider. “They were in a state of shock at first… But then it began to sink in, and it’s just heartbreaking to watch.”
[From Star Magazine]
Meanwhile, over at OK!, the cover story is “Debbie Rowe vs. The Jacksons: $100 Million Or The Kids”. OK! claims that Debbie Rowe is fully prepared to go to war for her children, but that the Jackson family might try to pay her off with a lump sum to relinquish her parental rights. A source close to Debbie claims that she’s very wary of the kind of environment the Jackson family might provide for the kids, but a source close to the Jackson family claims they really are looking out for the kids. CB wants me to mention that OK! has gone steadily downhill with its content and reporting, so this is most likely all total bullsh-t:
Behind the black wrought iron gates of the Jackson family mansion in Encino, Calif., Michael Jackson’s three children spend their days playing with their cousins and their pets and watching movies — but no news reports — as they adjust to life without their famous father.
Their grandmother Katherine Jackson tends to their needs and offers a calming presence. “His kids are strong,” says Michael’s brother Jermaine Jackson. “They have a lot of love and care.”
That serene life may soon disappear. The children — 12-year-old Michael Joseph Jr., aka “Prince”; Paris-Michael Katherine, 11; and 7-year-old Prince Michael Jackson II (also called “Blanket”) — are pawns in what could shape up to be an intense custody battle between Katherine and Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of the two oldest children.
“Debbie believes Katherine has a good heart, but the life they would live with the Jacksons is unthinkable,” an insider tells OK!. “They belong away from the media circus. Kids need fresh air and freedom. They can’t get that at the mansion in Encino.”
But Debbie may soon have to decide between her kids or cash. “She’s likely to walk away with a lump sum of money if she agrees not to seek custody,” a friend of Debbie tells OK!. “She will probably end up with $100 million. It would be worth paying out, from the Jackson family’s point of view, to prevent a tug-of-war for the children.”
However others point at the discrepancies regarding how much MJ’s estate is worth, anywhere between $200 million and $500 million, including Attorney Larry Heller, a tax, probate and estate expert, who says that while “Debbie Rowe has some leverage as to the amount” she could receive in a settlement, “I wouldn’t be comfortable saying she could get quite that much. She could get several million dollars.”
On July 2, Debbie came out swinging in her battle for custody, telling KNBC Los Angeles reporter Chuck Henry, “I want my children,” and offering to submit to DNA tests to prove she was their mother. But her attorney, Eric George, later said she hadn’t reached a final decision on what to do in court.
Meanwhile, a court granted temporary custody to Katherine, 79. In Michael’s will, he asked that she be named the guardian — and if she was not able, singer Diana Ross, 65, should gain custody; he left no provision for Debbie to care for the children. “The fact that he left her out says loud and clear that he wanted her to get nothing,” says L.A. attorney Michael G. Dave, who specializes in family law.
A custody hearing is set for July 13, and the potential battle is already turning nasty. Michael’s sister Janet Jackson believes it’s “disgusting to use the kids for money,” a family insider tells OK!.
Janet, 43, has reassured Michael’s children that they won’t be lost in the commotion that has surrounded the family since her brother died. “She told them if they need her for any reason, even just to talk or if they want pizza, to call her immediately.”
This isn’t the first time custody of the kids has come up: In their 1999 divorce agreement, Debbie signed away her parental rights in exchange for an $8.5 million settlement. But when a teenage boy accused Michael of sexual abuse in 2003, she applied for custody again, even though she admitted she had not seen the children in years. In 2006, Debbie allegedly made another deal with Michael to relinquish rights to the children in exchange for cash.
While custody questions continue, the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the welfare of the Jackson kids, prompted by reports of Michael’s drug use. It will also assess conditions at Katherine’s home. The report is expected to take a month to complete, but Jermaine says it’s obvious the children belong with Katherine: “The will is what it is,” he says. “This is what Michael wanted.”
[From OK! Magazine]
That’s interesting that Janet is getting more involved. Many of us (myself included) would like to see Janet either take custody, or be a big part of raising the kids. I’m not quite sure what to think of Debbie Rowe – she seems to have the whiff of “grifter”, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she probably does care about the well-being of the children as much as she cares about the money.
Thanks to CoverAwards for these cover photos