Michael's Kids: Who Gets Custody?

michael jackson kids
Family, Heartbreak

Prince, Paris and Michael Joseph Jackson II might be the most resilient kids we know.  Imagine life with a super-eccentric dad who happens to be the most famous person in the world, and imagine incredibly limited interaction with Mom, who's at least almost normal.

Imagine Dad's an entertainer, a pop superstar who flies you and your brothers to Europe and the Middle East, who shuts down museums so you can tour them all to yourself, and who was once criticized for dangling you over hundreds of fans' heads from a third-floor balcony. And imagine that no matter how crazy the rest of the world may think he is, this dad loves you and relates to you (what other father would love Mickey Mouse more than his kids do?) and—how awesome is this—doesn't make you go to school. Imagine Dad is your best friend and constant companion.

Then imagine Dad's gone. Lisa Marie Presley said yesterday that Michael Jackson's children were "everything to him" and that she was "heartbroken" for their loss.  The rest of the world is speculating alongside Lisa Marie over what will become of these three most intriguing of Hollywood offspring; these products of artificial conception and intensely unconventional socialization. Debbie Rowe, the mother of Prince Michael (12 years old) and Paris Michael Katherine (11), gave Michael full custody of the children immediately after their births in 1997 and 1998, and then a few years later demanded partial (but still very limited) caretaking. Even with their perpetually-covered heads and sometimes matching outfits, Michael is the only parent these children have ever known, according to an MSBNC.com report this morning. Michael Jackson: The First Man I Ever Loved

That includes seven-year-old Michael Joseph Jackson II—better known as "Blanket"—whose surrogate mother's identity has never been revealed, although in December 2008 an Englishman (named Billie Jean, go fig) filed a one billion-dollar civil suit against Michael for custody of Blanket (it doesn't appear that the case ever went to court). While recent speculation suggests that Debbie Rowe could conceivably get custody of Prince and Paris (along with a major settlement from Michael's estate), it's still completely unclear what could become of little Blanket.

(Seriously, that name.)

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For now, Michael's mother Katherine Jackson is sharing caretaking responsibility with the children's nannies; and the Jackson family's lawyer said this morning that the kids are doing "fine" so far. Legal experts say that a custody battle could heat up between Debbie Rowe and the Jacksons, and it will be up the courts to decide whose childrearing will most benefit the children.