After a mysterious disappearance that set off a wild war of words (and fists) and splashed her family’s business all over the media, Katherine Jackson broke her silence on Wednesday night in an attempt to set the record straight.
“I am here today to let everybody know that I am fine and I am here with my children, and my children would never do a thing to me like that, holding me against my will,” she told ABC News in a statement that denied rumors she’d been kidnapped or held against her will by a group of her children. Surrounded by children Janet, Jermaine and Rebbie, as well as Rebbie’s daughter, Stacy, Katherine spoke to ABC, but would not allow the network to ask her any questions. “It’s very stupid for people to think that. But anyway, I am devastated that while I’ve been away, that my children, my grandchildren, have been taken away from me, and I’m coming home to see about that, also.”
On Wednesday, a judge temporarily stripped the Jackson family matriarch of her guardianship duties for late King of Pop Michael’s three children, Prince, Paris and Prince Michael II (“Blanket”) handing responsibility over to their cousin, TJ Jackson. In appointing TJ, 34, son of Tito Jackson, as the new guardian for the children, the judge the judge may have further stirred the pot in what appears to be a tug-of-war between Michael’s adult siblings over the late pop icon’s estate. During an emergency guardianship hearing, the judge said he was not suspending Katherine for any wrongdoing, but said that she was being blocked from carrying out her guardianship by unnamed third parties, which TMZ speculated were siblings Randy, Janet, Jermaine and Rebbie.
Katherine said she had spoken to TJ (as well as Prince and Paris) and that she had left him in charge of the children when she left town more than a week ago to get some rest at a ranch in Tucson, Arizona. “I never leave home without leaving instructions of who to stay there with them,” she said, noting that during her leave taking “someone” had fired the cook, the nanny and the housekeepers at the family’s Encino, California, estate without her knowledge.
“I told him it wasn’t necessary for him to go down and sign for guardianship,” she said of TJ. “I don’t know who instructed him to do that … but he wanted me to come home before that happened, but the ruling in court today was about the guardianship and I think it was based on a bunch of lies, but I have a good idea who’s doing that and who’s behind that.”
Katherine, 82, did not specify who she thought was behind the decision to temporarily rescind her guardianship, but she thanked her children for realizing that she needed a “short vacation.” She also explained that the reason she didn’t call for more than a week was that, “I just gave up my phone and I didn’t want to have any phone calls while I was here.” She also noted that her assistant had been in touch with TJ and that she “put everything in order” before she left Los Angeles on July 15.
“Because there’s a lot of lies that have been put out there and I am going home to straighten them out and this kind of stuff doesn’t make sense,” she concluded. “So I want to say goodbye and I am on my way home.”
One of Katherine’s lawyers, Perry Sanders, said in court that he vigorously opposed a permanent move to strip Katherine of her guardianship and that when she returns to Los Angeles he will file a motion to reinstate her as guardian. The judge also ordered that the children not be removed from California without a court order and that backup guardian Diana Ross and Debbie Rowe, biological mother of the two oldest children, also be informed of the order to keep the kids in the state.
The temporary guardianship will be reviewed at a hearing scheduled for next month, where it’s possible that Wednesday’s action could be reversed.
While Michael’s will gave Katherine custody of his children and a 20 percent stake in his massive estate, her husband, Joe Jackson, and the eight surviving Jackson siblings were completely cut out. Some of the siblings have reportedly been exploring a move to have the will invalidated by arguing that Michael was in New York on the day that the document was notarized in Los Angeles.
In a video that surfaced earlier this week, Janet Jackson is seen trying to take a cell phone away from Paris, 14, and berating her niece for using her phone to tweet about family business. That video leaked after Janet, Jermaine and Randy Jackson reportedly attempted to persuade Paris and Prince, 15, to leave Katherine’s home on Monday. Both resisted and a short time later, sheriff’s deputies arrived to break up a scuffle between Randy, Jermaine Jackson and TJ.
MTV News reported that police were called to the scene but did not make any arrests.