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Agreement Reached on Custody of Jackson's Kids

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MSNBC: Michael Jackson's mother will get custody of his three children, and the biological mother of the two oldest children will get visitation rights but no additional money, NBC News learned Thursday.

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As reported by NBC News' Jeff Rossen, the children -- Prince Michael, Paris, and Prince Michael II, nicknamed Blanket -- will live with Jackson's 79-year-old mother, Katherine. Debbie Rowe will have visitation rights as the biological mother of the two oldest children. The identity of Blanket's surrogate mother has never been revealed.

"Sources say, it was Debbie Rowe who decided the kids are better off staying with Katherine and the Jackson family," Rossen reported. "Both sides will submit this deal to a judge on Monday morning for approval."

Rossen also reported that Prince and Paris have been told that Rowe is their biological mother. Her initial visits with them will be attended by a child psychologist, Rossen reported.

Under the agreement, according to sources, Rowe will not get any additional money beyond what she got in her initial agreement with Michael Jackson when she agreed to give up parental rights. Rowe does get to keep her parental rights under the new agreement, Rossen reported.

'Thoughtful and prudent'

The agreement had been predicted by Katherine Jackson's attorney during a TODAY appearance on Monday.

"Whatever the agreement will be [it] will not be based on money," attorney L. Londell McMillan had told TODAY's Matt Lauer Monday. Asked if an agreement can be reached before a scheduled Monday, Aug. 3 court hearing, Katherine Jackson's legal representative replied with one word: "Absolutely."

Rossen reported that the agreement is expected to be approved at Monday's court date.

McMillan had praised all parties involved in the custody discussions, refuting media speculation that there was a tumultuous battle going on behind the scenes.

"We've kind of gotten together, and we've been thoughtful and prudent and we're working on an agreement that's going to be not just what's best for Debbie Rowe or Mrs. Jackson, but what's best for the two children that Debbie Rowe had."

Chef speaks out

Kai Chase, who was the personal chef for Jackson and his three children at the time of his death on June 25, applauded the reported agreement.

"I think it's a great decision," she told TODAY's Meredith Vieira Thursday in a separate interview in New York.

Chase, 37, was hired to cook for the King of Pop and his children in March, when he was beginning rehearsals for his London concert series. She left for three weeks in May, then returned at the beginning of June.

Chase said she was struck by a change in Jackson's appearance when she returned to work in June. "When I was in the home in April, Mr. Jackson would come downstairs routinely looking wonderful -- sharp with his black jeans on, blazer, aviator glasses, going to the studio, upbeat, chipper.

"When I came back in June, I noticed he was a little thinner. I wondered: Had he been eating?"

She said Jackson told her in June that he needed her to take care of him: "I need you to feed me healthy like you have been." She said he talked about a grueling schedule of two-a-day rehearsals.

" 'They're killing me,' " Chase said he told her. " 'They're killing me.' "

Warm relationship

Chase quickly developed a warm relationship with Prince, Paris and Blanket. Within the past several weeks, she has been able to visit the children, who have been living with their grandmother since their father's death.

"It was a beautiful experience. They had a chance to play with their cousins and they had a great time. They're wonderful. They're happy," Chase told Vieira.

The chef, who was hired to cook healthy meals for the children and for Jackson, said that she never heard Rowe's name mentioned during the time she spent in Jackson's household. "We never discussed anyone else but what was going on in the home -- food, playtime, games," she said.

But, she added, having a mother figure in their lives can only benefit the children.

"I think it will be great for them," Chase said. "They should know their biological mother. It will be great for Paris growing up as a young girl. It will be great for the boys, having a mother figure around."

NBC News also obtained new video of Paris' fourth birthday party in 2002 at Jackson's Neverland ranch.

With a white bow in her light brown hair, Paris says, "I love my Daddy so much. You're the best daddy in the whole world."

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
ninja August 4, 2009, 4:39 PM

finally the case is over


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