Michael Jackson's Mother Gets Custody Of Children A Los Angeles judge appointed 79-year-old Katherine Jackson as the permanent guardian of the singer's three children. Jackson named his mother as his first choice to raise his children in a 2002 will filed with the court.
NPR logo Michael Jackson's Mother Gets Custody Of Children

Michael Jackson's Mother Gets Custody Of Children

Katherine Jackson, center, with Paris (left) and Prince Michael Jackson II at the July 7 memorial service for entertainer Michael Jackson. Kevin Mazur/via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Kevin Mazur/via Getty Images

Katherine Jackson, center, with Paris (left) and Prince Michael Jackson II at the July 7 memorial service for entertainer Michael Jackson.

Kevin Mazur/via Getty Images

While questions about the cause of Michael Jackson's death remain, any lingering confusion about the custody of the pop star's three children was resolved Monday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff appointed the late singer's 79-year-old mother, Katherine as permanent guardian of the Jackson children.

So 12-year-old Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. — more commonly known as Prince Michael Jackson — his sister Paris, 11, and their 6-year-old brother Prince Michael Jackson II (whose family nickname is Blanket) will remain at their grandmother's Encino estate.

Speculation that Debbie Rowe — mother of the two eldest children — might challenge Katherine Jackson for custody ended when the two women reached an agreement last week that allows Rowe visitation rights. Rowe has also agreed to work with (and pay half the cost of) a child psychologist who will advise her and Katherine Jackson on how to structure visits for the children. Rowe was not paid any money in the settlement.

But complicating things at the Monday morning hearing was the appearance of a lawyer for Dr. Arnold Klein, a controversial celebrity dermatologist who counted Jackson among his star-studded patient roster. Klein's lawyer was asking that Klein have some input as to the raising and education of Jackson's two oldest children.

Why? Reporters for some celebrity magazines and tabloids — and more than a few celebrity blogs — claim that Klein was the actual sperm donor for Jackson's children. One example is a June 30 post from UsWeekly.com, promoting a special Jackson commemorative issue labeled "His Final Days."

Though Michael Jackson was wed to Prince and Paris' mother, Debbie Rowe, their biological father is Arnold Klein, Jackson's L.A.-based dermatologist and Rowe's former boss, multiple sources confirm to the new issue of Us Weekly.

Klein has issued several versions of an answer to the inquiries into his parenthood of Prince Michael and Paris ranging from the oddly phrased "as far as I know, I'm not their father" to "it doesn't matter, Michael is their real father." He did admit, during an interview with CNN's Larry King, that he once made a donation to a sperm bank.

As of last week, Klein took the more prudent tact of issuing this statement to Entertainment Tonight through his lawyer, Richard Charnley:

"Dr. Klein is aware of media reports connecting him to Michael Jackson. Because of patient confidentiality Dr. Klein will make no statement on any reports or allegations. Out of respect for his patients and adherence to federal HIPAA regulations, Dr. Klein asks that the media not contact his patients nor interfere with their medical treatments. Like millions of Michael's fans around the world, Dr. Klein is saddened by Michael's death and extends his condolences to Michael's family."

None of that mattered to Judge Beckloff: Klein is not listed as a parent or a relative, so he has no legal standing to make such a request.

Next up in the saga: the continuing wrangle over Jackson's estate. Despite his request that attorneys John Branca and John McClain oversee it, Katherine Jackson has filed papers asking that the two be deposed — and also hand over scores of documents pertaining to the estate's administration.

The co-executors, she claims, have placed "cumbersome and unreasonable restrictions" that make obtaining the documents for discovery purposes extremely difficult.

McClain and Branca's response: "The special administrators have and will continue to provide timely information to Mrs. Jackson's counsel regarding potential business opportunities for the estate ... Any inference that we have not been forthcoming in providing information to Katherine Jackson's attorneys is not accurate."