Is Debbie Rowe looking to pocket one last lump sum from ex-husband Michael Jackson? So claims the New York Post, which says she's looking to receive an estimated $4 million from Michael's mother, Katherine, in order to avoid a custody battle over Prince, 12, and Paris, 11, the two children she gave birth to while married to the late King of Pop.
"It's one final payday," a "disgusted" Jackson family friend harrumphs to the Post. "They felt it was like a ransom-type thing. [Rowe] jumped back into the picture because she wanted money."
Not so, insists Rowe's attorney, who is demanding an "immediate retraction" from the Post over the story, which he calls "reprehensible" and filled with "blatant falsehoods."
"Ms. Rowe has not accepted -- and will not accept -- any additional financial consideration beyond the spousal support she and Michael Jackson personally agreed to several years ago," her lawyer, Eric George, declares in a letter sent to the tab (via TMZ.com), which also states that Rowe "has not and will not give up her parental rights."
Debbie was well-compensated for her labor pains after she and Jackson divorced in 1999, reportedly receiving about $5 million in cash, a Beverly Hills mansion, and another $900,000 annually for several years, seemingly in exchange for relinquishing her claim on the kids, whose paternity has yet to be fully established.
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Meanwhile, on the heels of a report from the London Sunday Mirror that Rowe has been trying to hammer out an agreement with Katherine that would ensure Paris and Prince are kept far from the unseemly clutches of Michael's father, Joe, RadarOnline.com reports she's adamant about the issue.
"Debbie is absolutely steadfast that Joe Jackson not be involved whatsoever in the children's lives," says a source. "Michael regaled Debbie with what a horrible father Joe was, and Debbie doesn't want the children exposed to that. Debbie is navigating a minefield right now of emotions, but she will make sure that Joe Jackson isn't involved in their daily lives."
There have been rumblings that Grandpa Joe is considering sending the previously rarely seen Prince and Paris out on the road next year with 7-year-old brother Blanket (born via unknown surrogate) as The Jackson 3, an ambition he hinted at last week during a sit-down with ABC News.
"I keep watching Paris," he creepily said. "She ... wants to do something." And Blanket, he added, "can really dance."
But the Post's source insists it won't happen: "That's something the family would absolutely not tolerate."
Still, Joe's recent comments about how he and Katherine, from whom he has reportedly lived apart for several years, should be the ones to raise the kids because "there's no one else to do what we can do for them," supposedly didn't sit well with Rowe.
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"She became so upset that she was reduced to tears," the spy tells Radar.
A hearing is currently scheduled for July 20 in Los Angeles Superior Court to determine temporary guardianship of the tykes.