Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s mother, has broken her silence after “deserting” her grandchildren for ten days – to claim she “wasn’t kidnapped” and “just needed a rest”.
Following days of escalating tensions amongst her feuding family Katherine Jackson, 82, was filmed by ABC News claiming: “There are rumors going around about me that I have been kidnapped… I am here today to let everybody to know that I am good and fine.
“My children would never do anything to me like that. It’s stupid.”
In a bizarre show of unity her children Jermaine, Janet and Rebbie stood close around an anxious Katherine Jackson as she read out a prepared statement at the luxury resort where she has been staying.
Katherine Jackson seemed confused at times, calling grandson Prince “my nephew”.
Earlier Katherine Jackson had lost custody of her late son Michael’s three children after a judge awarded temporary guardianship of the trio to their cousin Tito Jackson Jr., also known as TJ.
Michael Jackson’s children, Prince, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket, 10, will be cared for by their 34-year-old cousin who had been staying with them in their grandmother’s absence.
Katherine Jackson said: “I am devastated that while I’ve been away, my grandchildren have been taken away from me and I’m coming home.”
And she claimed the move was “based on a bunch of lies”.
But Katherine Jackson failed to explain why she hadn’t notified her three wards of her intention to take a “short vacation and rest”.
“One reason I didn’t call is I just gave up my phone and I didn’t want to have any phone calls while I was here,” Katherine Jackson said.
She also confirmed that she had left her grandson TJ in charge.
The film crew was told they were not to ask Katherine Jackson any questions as she read the statement.
At one stage Janet and Jermaine Jackson exchanged glances and whispered.
Katherine Jackson also explained that her assistant had been in contact with her grandson Prince.
“He said everything was going fine back home,” she said.
“Still I think about the children… worry about them but they’re fine.”
Katherine Jackson then confirmed reports that she had spoken to her grandchildren after ten days without contact.
“I told them I would come home today and they’re waiting for me to come,” she said.
Bizarrely Katherine Jackson also repeatedly thanked the resort where she had been staying, adding: “I had a very good time here – and if anyone wants to rest I think they should come here.”
The latest feud between the Jacksons is said to have been stemmed from a dispute over Michael Jackson’s $500 million will.
Michael Jackson died in June 2009 at age 50 and left his estate to care for his mother and three children. He left nothing to his father or siblings, who have repeatedly tried to intervene in the estate.
Several have expressed doubts about the validity of his will, although the courts have rejected this.
Following yesterday’s ruling TJ, the son of Michael’s brother Tito, will now get access to funds from the estate in order to care for the children, who are said to be in favor of him being their temporary guardian.
Katherine Jackson’s statement to ABC News
On the “kidnapping”:
“There are rumors going around about me that I have been kidnapped and held against my will.
“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.
“It’s very stupid for people to think that.”
On the loss of custody of her grandchildren:
“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.”
Who was looking after her grandchildren?
“Before I left I put everything in order with the appropriate people to take care of my children for me and it’s really bad to hear that what’s going on at home, and the children have been taken away – but I know that… I’ll get there in time to get them back.
“And after I finish this, I will be on my way home.”
Where did she go?
“I am grateful for my children that they saw that I needed rest and they wanted to take me away for a while, just a short vacation and rest up.
“They have taken good care of me and have made sure that I got the rest that I needed.”
Why didn’t she call?
“One reason I haven’t called is I just gave up my phone and I didn’t want to have any phone calls while I was here.”
The $500 million fight for Michael Jackson’s fortune:
What’s at stake:
A recent financial summary showed that Michael Jackson’s estate has earned almost $500 million in gross profits since his death, and many of his major debts have either been resolved or are no longer delinquent.
• Beneficiary of Michael’s Jackson’s estate and legal guardian of his three children. She was reported missing over the weekend but later found to be with her daughter Rebbie and other relatives in Arizona.
• Her lawyer claims a plan has been in place for the last three years to remove Katherine Jackson from her home and her beloved grandchildren. Last reported whereabouts – an Arizona spa.
Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket
• Michael Jackson’s three children are set to inherit his $500 million estate when Katherine Jackson dies. None of Michael Jackson’s eight siblings were named in will. Michael Jackson’s kids are seeking contact with their grandmother Katherine, who they have not spoken to in nine days.
• Targeted in an “ambush” by uncles and aunt (Janet, Jermaine and Randy) last night.
Janet, Randy, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson
• Claim that the King of Pop’s will was a fake and that the executors of his lucrative estate should step down.
• Pressuring Katherine Jackson to seek permission from a judge to investigate the will’s validity.
• Letter penned by siblings on July 17 claims Katherine Jackson was being manipulated by the executors, John Branca and John McClain, her health had been affected, and she suffered a mini-stroke.
• Randy and Jermaine had both previously asked their brother Michael Jackson’s estate to pay their child support, hinting at financial motives behind plot. The request was denied.
• He also signed the July 17 letter but has today backed out of plot and says he’s renounced any intention to challenge validity of his brother’s will.
• Not part of plot to challenge brother’s will. Claims he has been cut off from contacting Katherine Jackson and in an interview with The Insider today he declared: “I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”
On the fence
• Michael Jackson’s father Joe Jackson and remaining siblings La Toya and Jackie Jackson have not made their allegiances clear. Although sources say Jackie is “furious” at his squabbling siblings
Tito Junior, son of Michael Jackson’s brother Tito
• Tito Jr., also known as TJ, has been awarded temporary custody of Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket while Katherine Jackson is away. The 34-year-old is married and used to date Kim Kardashian.
Trent Jackson, Joe Jackson’s nephew
• He has sided with his young cousins Paris, Blanket and Prince Michael. Involved in alleged physical altercation with Jermaine and Randy at Calabasas compound last night.