After telling the judge in a Los Angeles Superior Court that she had no idea people thought she was missing or that her grandchildren were attempting to reach her, Katherine Jackson won back custody of three of her grandchildren Thursday. She’ll share custody temporarily with a grandson, TJ Jackson, until another hearing is held this month. It is expected that the judge will grant joint custody to both.
In the second week of public turmoil involving the Jackson family, the estate of Michael Jackson, and the custody of his children, friends and insiders say tensions are slowly beginning to simmer down as at least one Jackson family member, Jermaine, has asked for family unity. A family spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment.
Others inside the family’s inner circle say the siblings, particularly Janet, Jermaine, and Randy, are mortified by the way they’ve all been portrayed in the media and continue to be upset over how the news coverage has affected their weary mother.
That weariness was apparent in the declaration submitted to the court Thursday in which Katherine Jackson explained that she was taken to a luxury resort in Arizona with no working phone in her room, a television with sound but no picture, and had her iPad taken away from her. She wrote “At the time, I expected the people I was with to be honest with me,’’ she wrote without naming who those people were. She had denied being kidnapped by her children.
She was reportedly staying with her older daughter, Rebbie Jackson, and her family in New Mexico during her nine days away from California. Pictures were released to the media during her absence showing her playing the card game Uno with her daughter and grandkids. Court documents also revealed that Mrs. Jackson repeatedly asked for her television to be fixed while at the resort; once it was repaired, only then did she say she realized she’d been reported missing.
Katherine Jackson had her guardianship removed by the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate during her absence from his three children.
The matriarch was gone from the family’s home for nearly a week with no word and no contact with the three minor children of her late son Michael Jackson; she had full custody of the children, according to news reports and family members. The icon’s only daughter, Paris, began tweeting non-stop about her grandmother’s absence, which brought another round of national and international attention to the case.
Katherine Jackson said she’d planned for months to attend a concert in New Mexico given by four of her sons. But reports say prior to her leaving for the trip, a doctor was brought in to see her by Randy and Jermaine Jackson and it was decided she needed rest and removal from all stress.
“It started with a few of the kids wanting to give their mother a break from all the pressure she’s under,’’ says one family member. “They thought she was being pulled in too many directions and felt the people in control had too much control. But they didn’t think it through and it became one big mess.’’
A mess indeed, as the Los Angeles sheriff’s department began to investigate the whereabouts of Mrs. Jackson at around the same time as a letter surfaced signed by five of the Jackson siblings challenging Michael’s will, which provided only for his mother, his children, and charities. The letter also asked for the removal of the two executors of the estate due to alleged improper handling. Spokespeople for the estate have denied any wrongdoing.
In the weeks since Katherine Jackson’s disappearance and reappearance, her sons Tito and Jermaine decided they will not challenge Michael’s will further. In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, Jermaine Jackson said he was withdrawing his name from an accusatory letter sent by some family members and appealed for unity for the entire Jackson family.
“It is time for us all to draw a line in the sand and move towards peace, cooperation and healing. I truly hope we can find it our hearts to do so.’’ Jermaine Jackson wrote.
But some wonder if peace will ever be possible for one of the most famous families in Hollywood.
“This is a family that’s had years of hurt, bickering, and drama,’’ says a family friend. “But this event really caused a divide that no one is sure can be closed. Their mother was hurt and betrayed and that may never be forgotten or forgiven.’’