In the wake of Michael Jackson's passing, there is talk about Debbie Rowe possibly seeking custody of Prince and Paris Jackson. But damaging words out of her own mouth may put a wrench in her plans.
No matter what she says now, Rowe has already repeatedly gone on record talking about what a wonderful father Michael Jackson was and how she didn't want to be a mother.
On Oct 17 2001, Rowe and her lawyer Iris Finsilver appeared at a hearing to officially terminate her parental rights. This following is taken from a motion initiated by Rowe through her attorney. Because of a procedural problem -- a technicality, really -- the termination of her parental rights was overturned.
Under questioning by Finsilver, Rowe had some very interesting things to say. For the record, Rowe was under oath during her testimony to the judge at that 2001 hearing.
She revealed that the last time she had seen Michael Jackson's children was in "August or October of last year" in 2000. Before she terminated her visitation rights in 2000, she would see Jackson's children every 45 days.
She also said that she didn't want to communicate with his children. From the transcript:
When asked why she wanted her rights terminated, she began by saying that Jackson "is a wonderful man and brilliant father." Then she said the best interest of the children is to be with Jackson and not her because she didn't want to be part of their lives. From the transcript:Q. When is the last time you saw the children?
A. I think it was either August or October of last year when I gave up my visitation rights.
Q. Have you communicated with either of the children --
Q. -- over the past year?
A. Not at all.
Q. Do you wish to communicate with the children?
Q. Do you ever have the desire to call the children over the telephone?
Q. Do you have a desire to send any cards or letters to the children?
Q. Do you want the court to terminate your parental right?
(see CJ website | here || pg 6-7, lines 20-13)
Rowe took it further by stating that they are Jackson's children and that they wouldn't exist had it not been for Jackson because she apparently never wanted to be a mother. More from Rowe's own mouth:Q. That was my next question. Why?
A. Because Michael is a wonderful man, first of all, a brilliant father. And it's the best -- as their mother, it is the best interest for the children.
I don't know if Judge Lachs understands this. But when I was seeing them every 45 days, it felt like an intrusion on their life and they're going to have enough intrusions as it is. I don't want to be part of it.
I'm absolutely around if ever Michael needs me, if the children need me for a liver, kidney, a hello, whatever, I will always be around for him.
(pg 7-8, 16-3)
Not exactly a wishy-washy answer, is it?A. These are his children. I had the children for him. They wouldn't be on this planet if it wasn't for my love of him. I did it for him to become a father. Not for me to become a mother. You earn the title parent. I have done absolutely nothing to earn that title.
(pg 8, 4-9)
She terminated her parental rights after thinking about it for a year prior, she told the judge.
Iris Finsilver asked Rowe if she understood that once she terminated her parental rights, she couldn't, in the future, go back and ask that they be reinstated. Further from the transcript:
Rowe actually seemed quite eager to terminate her parental rights completely and she wanted it done on that day if possible. From the transcript:Q. Talking about "understand," do you understand that in the future you will not be able to go back into court to reinstate your parental right?
A. I understand that.
Q. Have you ever considered the possibility if Michael should die, what would happen to the children?
A. I'm sure he's -- he has a wonderful person in mind to take care of them.
Q. You understand that you will not have the right to take care of the children? A. No. And I don't want to. And -- not that I don't love them. I do. I think they're adorable. They're his kids. They're his kids. They're not my kids. They're his kids.
(pg 8-9, 22-10)
The attorney representing Jackson, Mr. Spiegel, also wanted it on the record that Rowe was acting of her own free will and voluntarily giving up her parental rights to Jackson's children. Spiegel asked Rowe if she was induced by Jackson in any way into terminating her rights.Q. You completely understand that when the order terminating parental rights is entered --
A. Today. Right?
Q. Well, it's up to the judge.
Q. -- that it will cut off unequivocally --
A. Absolutely. Done. Complete. I don't have any rights.
Q. -- all rights and responsibilities regarding the children?
A. Yes. I don't mean to interrupt you.
(pg 9, 11-22)
He asked her if she'd been threatened by anyone and later even asks her specifically about what could happen in the future. Spiegel is questioning her now:
This is important to note because of whatever she's now trying to do by attempting to reinsert herself into their lives. Now these previous under oath statements will most definitely come back to bite her.Q. Debbie, it's important that we know that what you're asking the court to do is something that is being done freely and voluntarily?
A. Yes. I asked Iris to do this.
Q. All right. Have any promises been made to you directly from Michael or indirectly from Michael to induce you to make this request of the court?
A. No, I haven't even seen or spoken to Michael for quite a while.
Q. Do you feel that you've been threatened in any manner so as to cause you to feel you have no choice but to make this decision?
A. No, not at all. This is for the best interest of the kids. If you insist on calling me the mother, as their mother this is the best interest for them.
(pg 10, 9-24)
As a matter of fact, Spiegel even asked Rowe if she realized that no matter what nonsense she hears from the media or any other entity about Jackson's parenting skills, she has absolutely no right to do anything about it. Spiegel asks:
Q. Have you given any thought to somewhere down the road in the future the possibility that you may come across an article or read something about Michael that may cause you to believe that he is not a good parent as you presently feel he is -- and let me finish my question.
Q. If that were to happen, do you understand that regardless of the truth of that article or the concern that you may have at that point in time, there would be nothing that you would have the right to do because if the court terminates your parental right, you can't come back and say, "now I want to be a parent." Do you understand that?
A. I understand that. But --
Q. Have you thought about that?
A. I've seen articles and no -- I've known him for 20 years.
A. He's not first of all, I don't think he's capable of being a bad father. He loves his children too much. So, no, there's if something came up where he couldn't be a father, I know that he could find someone who would help him to do what he couldn't do if he were to fall ill. I know he would find a good care taker to help him with the children.
Q. So you've thought about that possibility?
(pg 11-12, 13-25 | 1-15)
And remember this is Rowe in 2001 saying these things under oath. So she clearly knew what she wanted to do and she was told in 2001 that if she changed her mind, there's really nothing she could do about it.
It remains to be seen what she wants to do, but to go from "These are his children" to her now trying to do whatever she's trying to do, is ridiculous. As of this posting, it was unclear if she has even made up her mind about asking for custody yet. She had long since gave up her custodial rights.
The court of course granted Rowe's petition to terminate her parental rights and both sides agreed that the termination agreement should he "held subject to the same condition and the same agreement" between the two as they had before the official termination petition.
Michael Jackson left a will which made his wished crystal clear: he apparently did not want Rowe to have custody of his children. He wished for his mother, Katherine Jackson to raise them. He also explicitly left Rowe out of his will.
(Includes "Previous Statements from Rowe Could Undermine Pros. Plans - MB#260" APRIL 25 2005)