A US judge has reinstated Michael Jackson’s mother as the permanent guardian of the late pop star’s three children, pending a decision on whether to name his nephew TJ as co-guardian.
Last week, TJ Jackson — son of Michael’s brother Tito — was granted temporary guardianship of 15-year-old Prince Michael, 14-year-old Paris and 10-year-old Blanket due to the prolonged absence of Katherine Jackson.
The 82-year-old family matriarch was found to be resting at a spa in Arizona, though her whereabouts had been called into question by other members of the Jackson clan.
On August 2, lawyers for Katherine and TJ Jackson presented a joint request to the Los Angeles Superior Court to serve as co-guardians of the three children.
A hearing has been set for August 22, at which a ruling is to be delivered. Until then, TJ Jackson, 34, will maintain his status as temporary co-guardian.
“I am, and have been, very close with my grandson TJ and have relied on him to help me raise Prince, Paris and Blanket since the death of their father,” Katherine Jackson said in a sworn statement handed to Judge Mitchell Beckloff.
“While I was away, I assumed that (the children) would be secure and safe in the hands of the person who had essentially been acting as an informal co-guardian on many matters with me since my appointment as guardian.”
TJ Jackson’s attorney, Charles Shultz, said: “They respect each other. My client in no way was trying to displace his grandmother.”
Margaret Lodise, an attorney appointed by the court to represent the children’s interests since Jackson’s death in 2009, said disco icon Diana Ross had agreed to eventually serve as co-guardian, as stipulated in Jackson’s will.
The decision puts an end to the latest Jackson family drama.
The fractious clan has been embroiled in legal and financial disputes since the pop star’s sudden death in June 2009 from an overdose of propofol, a powerful anaesthetic.
Entertainment media portrayed Katherine Jackson’s absence as an abduction by Michael’s siblings, who are allegedly furious they did not inherit any of the singer’s assets, which were left to his mother and children.
Jackson’s ex-doctor, Conrad Murray, was jailed for four years in November after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter over the singer’s death.