Debbie Rowe will likely fight for custody of Prince Michael I, 12, and Paris Katherine, 11 -- her two children with Michael Jackson -- when a hearing takes place July 13. (Katherine Jackson remains the children's temporary guardian until then.)
But in 2003, Rowe -- whose babies were born through artificial insemination (dad is Arnold Klein, Jackson's L.A.-based dermatologist) -- sat down with Us' Ian Drew and confessed she "never" wanted to be a mother.
"Parenting is an art; you earn the title," Rowe, now 50, said during the interview, which is featured in the new issue of Us Weekly (on newsstands now). "Because you give birth and impregnate someone does not automatically give you the title of mother or father you earn the title.
"My kids don't call me mom because I don't want them to," she went on. "They are Michael's children. It's not that they're not my children, but I had them because I wanted him to be a father."
After Rowe and Jackson divorced in 1999 after three years of marriage, she agreed to give up her parental rights, insisting Jackson was a good father.
During her 2003 interview with Drew, Rowe addressed critics who claimed she abandoned her kids.
"They say, 'I can't believe she left her children.' Left them? I did not leave my children," Rowe told Drew. "My children are with their father where they are supposed to be."
Asked why the children are not with her, she said, "I didn't do it to be a mother. Like I said, you earn the title. I didn't change diapers. I didn't get up in the middle of the night -- even when I was there. Michael did it all. I am telling you that he is the most brilliant father. Almost before the baby needed something, he knew what it was. And that's not for me."
She added that she never wanted children before she wed Jackson.
"If it hadn't been for how much I love him and because of our relationship, I would never have had children," she told Drew. "And how spoiled am I? I get to go through the whole experience with a loving, caring person, and I can still have the opportunity to have the life I never thought I would have back again. I am still waiting for that and working on it. I'm the one who feels selfish about having the kids."