In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, what now for his three children? Prince Michael and Paris Michael, aged 11 and 10 respectively, were both borne by the star’s second wife Debbie Rowe. Most observers say she has a strong legal argument for custody, despite rarely having seen them.
Harvey Levin, founder of the celebrity website TMZ and a man in the know when it comes to the lives of the rich and famous, believes she has a good case. He said: “What is going to happen to the children? Debbie Rowe, even though everyone thinks she gave up her custody rights, she didn’t. She did not give up her parental rights. That was withdrawn and legally she has the right to the children.” The matter may be complicated by the youngest child, Prince Michael II, commonly known as Blanket, borne by an unknown surrogate mother. One expert in family law said the Jacksons might want to keep all the children together: “I suspect that the Jackson family is not going to go away too easily on this and that they’re going to use their financial wherewithall to make sure, or at least attempt to make sure, that these two children and also the third child, Blanket, stay together as one solid family,” said family attorney Scott M. Banks. A court could deny Rowe custody of Prince and Paris Michael if she is found to be an unfit mother or if separating them from their younger sibling would be detrimental to them. Their custody, and their inheritance, could become another drawn-out and expensive Jackson legal battle.