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Jackson’s ex Rowe says, ‘I want my children’

Debbie Rowe wants custody of the two children she had with Michael Jackson and said she was willing to submit to any testing, including DNA, to prove that she is the children's true biological mother.
/ Source: NBCLosAngeles.com

Debbie Rowe wants custody of the two children she had with Michael Jackson.

“I want my children,” Rowe said during a 90-minute phone conversation Thursday morning with Chuck Henry of KNBC in Los Angeles.

Rowe said she was willing to submit to any testing, including DNA, to prove that she is the children's true biological mother. Rowe also said she would submit to psychological testing.

She also said she would seek a restraining order to keep Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, away from the children.

During a press conference on Thursday, Rowe's lawyer, Eric George, said his client “has not reached a final decision pending final custody.” He added, “It would be distortion to allow that snapshot to stand as truth of Debbie's position on these matters.”

The current custody agreement does allow for visitation, but Rowe said it's a very difficult process.

"I am stepping up," Rowe said. "I have to."

Rowe said she was still grieving. She said she decided she had to seek custody after Jackson's death.

Jackson, who died at age 50, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7. Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children.

The youngest was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified.

Rowe said she was concerned about splitting up the children. She said she did not expect the court to grant custody of the third child, but added that she would be willing to accept custody.

Rowe, who was married to Jackson in 1996 and filed for divorce three years later, surrendered her parental rights. An appeals court later found that was done in error, and Rowe and Jackson entered an out-of-court settlement in 2006.

Earlier this week, Jackson's mother was appointed temporary guardian of the children, pending a hearing on Monday. A will signed by Jackson in 2002 and filed with the court Wednesday requests that Katherine Jackson be named guardian of the children, but in the event of her death, he asked that singer Diana Ross be appointed.

The will also specifically leaves Rowe out of any inheritance.

"I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Jean Rowe Jackson," the will states.

Rowe's attorney, Eric George, told the Los Angeles Times he will be at the custody hearing Monday to represent her, however, George requested a delay in the hearing on Thursday and a Los Angeles County judge has granted the request.

The hearing had been scheduled for Monday. Records show attorneys for both sides asked for the hearing to be delayed until July 13.

Another hearing scheduled for Monday on who will take temporary control of Jackson’s estate will proceed.