Jacko in Custody Fight
Fri, 17 Feb 2006 15:32:41
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Michael Jackson just can’t stay out of court. An appeals court this week refused to give Jacko sole custody of the two children -- Michael Jr. and Paris -- he fathered with ex-wife Debbie Rowe. Although Rowe washed her hands of the family in 2001, following the couple’s 1999 divorce, the California 2nd District Court of Appeals has found that the judge mishandled the ruling. Jackson may appeal the finding, but in the meantime, Rowe has had her parental rights restored.
That sets the stage -- much to the delight of the tabloids -- for a custody battle. Rowe challenged her former hubby’s custody rights back in 2004, as Jackson faced criminal child molestation charges and briefly sought the protection of the Nation of Islam. Rowe was called as a witness at that trial, and gave testimony that was mostly flattering to Jackson -- while acknowledging that their marriage was hardly traditional (the couple never lived together). Outside of the courtroom, though, it appeared that Rowe was reconsidering Jackson’s influence on their children, citing the unhealthy media blitz surrounding the trial and claiming that her ex was abusing prescription drugs.
A custody battle could be seriously complicated by the fact that since his acquittal, Jackson relocated with his children to Bahrain, making a joint custody settlement look just a tad impractical. In his new Middle Eastern home, Jackson has raised still more eyebrows by covering and disguising himself in traditional women’s clothing when going out in public. The endlessly curious entertainer did not issue an immediate response to the court’s decision against him.
Also this week, the website TMZ.com obtained and released court documents detailing an apparent settlement between Rowe and Jackson, in which Jackson agreed to pay a substantial annual sum in exchange for Rowe’s confidentiality.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff