Katherine Jackson: I'm 'devastated' my grandchildren have been taken away
Katherine Jackson said she is "devastated" that her grandchildren have been taken away from her, calling Wednesday's court hearing a "bunch of lies."
"I am devastated that while I've been away, that my children - my grandchildren have been taken away from me," Jackson told ABC News in a statement. "The ruling in court today was about the guardianship and I think was based on a bunch of lies but I have a good idea who's doing that."
It was ruled on July 25 that TJ Jackson, Michael Jackson's nephew, son of Tito and former member of pop trio 3T, was appointed the temporary guardian of the late King of Pop's three children after Katherine reportedly left them and didn't inform them of her whereabouts.
The 82-year-old Jackson family matriarch addressed reports that the children were left with nothing to eat while she was at the Miraval Spa in Arizona, claiming that someone fired the cook, nanny and housekeepers while she was away.
Katherine said that she gave up her phone before going to Arizona but her assistant had been checking on her grandchildren. She also addressed rumors that she had been kidnapped and manipulated by her own family, as some media outlets have claimed.
"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'm here with my children and my children would never do a thing like that, hold me against my will. It's very stupid for people to think that," Jackson said. "I'm 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 to rest up."
Katherine reportedly traveled to Arizona to visit family members amid what appears to be a growing family feud with the executors of Jackson's some $1 billion estate. The singer left his entire fortune to Katherine and his sons Prince and Blanket and daughter Paris. A judge suspended her as the children's guardian on Wednesday, July 25, saying she is unable to perform her duties.
TJ said he spoke with Katherine on Tuesday. He said she sounded strange, and that she used words he had never heard her use and that her voice sounded slurred at times, according to the Associated Press.
It was also decided during the court hearing that Jackson's children cannot leave California without a court order. Diana Ross, who Jackson had named as his kids' backup guardian, and Debbie Rowe, Prince and Paris' birth mother, will receive 48 hours notice of the guardianship change.
TJ, the 34-year-old son of Jackson's brother Tito, had helped look after the children in Katherine's absence. His attorney said that he is not trying to replace the matriarch permanently.
ABC News reported that Katherine called her grandchildren late on Tuesday after not speaking with them for days and added that Jackson's sister Janet and brother Jermaine have flown to Arizona to meet with her.
The news comes days after a scuffle among family members at Katherine's Los Angeles-area home, where the children live. Police were called to investigate a report about a physical disturbance between two people. No arrests were made. ABC News said siblings Randy, Jermaine and Janet Jackson showed up and apparently tried to take away the kids. Paris recently denied a report that said Janet slapped her.
It is unclear when precisely Katherine flew to Arizona, but over the weekend, her absence spurred her nephew, Trent Jackson, to report her missing to Los Angeles authorities. She was later found to be in Arizona with other relatives and authorities closed the case.
Her estate attorney told ABC News that he traveled to Tucson on Tuesday night to meet with Janet and Jermaine and check on Katherine's condition. He said he did not see her in person but that people staying with the matriarch assured him she was OK.
TJ's attorney told reporters that TJ's "desire is to have his grandma reunited with the children, to resume acting as guardian. But we heard that before ... she was due back here [last] Sunday."
He also said all three children are very much on board with TJ's appointment and that Prince, 15, and Paris signed a consent form. He added that Blanket, 10, is too young to do so but also agreed to the guardianship change.
Randy Jackson told "Good Morning America" on Wednesday morning that Katherine was "on her way back to Los Angeles," adding: "It was under doctor's orders that she go [away from L.A.]. Her health was really bad, and he wanted her to go somewhere where she couldn't be on the phone, and be cut off from the outside world for a few days."