On July 20, the world is expected to learn if Debbie Rowe will make a play for custody of the children she had with Michael Jackson. Some clues as to what she may do lie in the divorce papers that Access Hollywood has obtained, which shed light on the extravagance of Michael and what Debbie really wanted years ago.
“I would never do this for money,” Debbie previously told KNBC in October 1999. “I did this because I love him. That’s the only reason I did this.”
Access Hollywood has uncovered Michael and Debbie’s divorce settlement filed on October 13, 1999. Debbie received a settlement of $8.5 million, an SUV and a Beverly Hills home. She got an additional $2 million for entering into a confidentiality agreement.
The divorce agreement also revealed that Michael owned four properties including Neverland, a fleet of 75 vehicles including nine golf carts, two jet skis and five Rolls Royces, as well as 21 different bank accounts.
Michael was awarded physical custody of their two children and in “Michael Jackson: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See” in 2003, a documentary which was released in the wake of the Martin Bashir special, it was clear both Debbie and Michael wanted it that way.
“My kids don’t call me mom because I don’t want them to,” Debbie Rowe said. “They’re Michael’s children.”
Michael also spoke out on the issue.
“She can’t handle it,” Michael said in the footage.
“She can’t handle her own children?” Martin asked.
“I can’t really…” Michael began, “I don’t want to make anyone upset.”
According to the settlement, Debbie was at first awarded visitation once every 45 days. The visitation had to be between the hours of 10 AM to 7 PM and supervised by a nanny. However, if Michael was “incapacitated” for longer than three weeks, Debbie was allowed to take charge of the children. She has yet to decide if she wants custody now that he has died.
In a new interview on “Good Morning America,” Joe Jackson was asked who he thought should raise the children now.
“Their grandmother Katherine and I,” he said. “There’s no one else to do what we can do for them. Keep em’ all together and make them happy.”
Michael’s will only listed Katherine as guardian of his three children — Prince Michael, 12; Paris, 11; and Prince Michael II, 7.
According to child custody expert Neal Hersh, if Joe and Katherine are living together, that may hurt Katherine’s bid for custody.
“If Katherine and Joe were living together and Michael complained that he had a difficult childhood with his father, then having the children live with that very individual would be sort of having history repeat itself,” Neal told Access. “That would be something that a court might look at.”
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