While Katherine was looking after Prince Michael Jnr, 12, Paris, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II in Los Angeles, Debbie had apparently signed away her parental rights in return for a house and a multi-million dollar lump sum. Jackson family lawyer Brian Oxman said Katherine would probably care for them long-term. "She loves them dearly," British tabloid the Sun quoted him as saying.
However, Debbie-who is the mother of Prince Jnr and Paris-had told a friend that she wanted full custody of the youngsters, just two days before Jacko''s death. The friend revealed: "Debbie threw a fit, saying she was sick of the way Michael was bringing the children up. She said she was going to go for full custody of them. She said she was quite prepared to go all the way and fight him in court for it."
In fact, the kids' nanny Grace Rwaramba could also end up caring for them. Sources close to the Jackson family said Katherine will "fight tooth and nail" to stop Debbie getting the youngsters. Debbie's friend said: "She understands there will be a vicious legal battle and she knows Michael's mother will not readily hand the kids over to her. But she is their natural mother and will do whatever it takes to get them back."
Last December, Debbie, 50, went to lawyers after Jacko's biographer claimed that the star was suffering from a chronic lung condition and had just months to live. She asked for more access to her children, saying: "I''m their mother and they need me."
And now that the ''Thriller'' hit-maker is dead, the friend said that Debbie wants her kids back for good. The pal added: "At Christmas she just wanted to re-establish contact with them. But now she wants full custody. Michael's mother is almost 80, Debbie doesn't want them to lose their father and then their grandmother."
Prince Michael Jnr and Paris were born during Debbie's three-year marriage to Jacko in the 1990s. Prince Michael II - nicknamed "Blanket" - was born later to a surrogate mother.