July 1, 2009— -- This week -- with a judge's ruling and a pledge from patriarch Joe Jackson -- Michael Jackson's three children have been enveloped by a large, extended, albeit wacky, clan.
"We're going to take care of them, give them the education they're supposed to have. We can do that," Joe Jackson pledged Monday in Encino, Calif., with Rev. Al Sharpton at his side.
The children, accustomed to a sheltered, but global lifestyle, are moving from one weird world to another -- where the bizarre is normal in the Royal Family of Pop.
According to Diane Dimond, the TV journalist who broke the Jackson child molestation story, the Jackson dynasty "put forward this ideal that the family is very close, but they're not."
"It's a historically dysfunctional family," she told ABCNews.com. "That family has been long replete with infighting."
Grandma Katherine, 79, has been granted temporary custody. And Grandpa Joe, 80, accused by his own children of administering brutal beatings, will be the new father by proxy, at least for the time being.
Prince Michael I, Paris Michael Katherine and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II, welcome to your new family:
You'll live among a family of nine aunts and uncles, as well as 20 cousins. Oh, and that includes Auntie Joh'Vonnie Jackson, your grandfather's daughter -- now a flight attendant -- from one of his affairs, according to a Fox News report in 2004. [Legal documents show Grandma nearly divorced Grampa Joe twice because of that and other infidelities.]
You can wish your grandparents "Happy Anniversary!" They just celebrated 60 years, but they don't live together. Katharine Jackson's primary residence is the Hayvenhurst Home in Encino, Calif.; Joe Jackson lives in Las Vegas, according to ABC sources close to the family.
Before marriage, Grandma went by the name "Kattie B. Screws," but her father later changed the family name to "Scruse," according to news reports in Alabama, where the family has its roots. But don't pay any attention to that: In 1985, Essence magazine named Grandma Jackson "Mother of the Year."
The son of Uncle Jermaine, 9-year-old "Jermajesty," was bestowed the name after his brother trumped him by naming his oldest son, Prince Michael, according to ABC sources.
Uncle Jermaine sired eight children with four women. One is Aunt Hazel, the daughter of famous Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. Your cousin Dawn has much in common with Blanket: Neither knows who their biological mother is. All that, from his official biography on IMDb.com.
Uncle Jermaine also slept with Uncle Randy's wife, Alejandra Oaziaza, and had two kids with her, according to family biographers. So that makes Randy Jackson's first three children sisters and brothers -- or maybe cousins. Go figure. And while on the CMT reality show, "Gone Country," he confessed to seeing people "from the 1800s" when the lights are off.
Don't get any ideas about getting a cat. Aunt LeToya demonstrated her feline phobia in 2007, when she appeared on the reality show "Armed and Famous" by hysterically screaming and locking herself in a squad car. In 1980, she posed nude for Playboy with a snake.
Uncle Tito Jackson's ex-wife Delores "DeeDee" Martes was murdered by another husband, Los Angeles businessman Donald Bohana, in 1994. According to news reports at the time, she drowned in the pool, but a jury believed otherwise.
Aunt Janet's 9-year secret marriage to Rene Elizondo was revealed in on the day he went to court to file for divorce, according to news reports in 2000.
Jackson's Eccentric Tastes
Uncle Marlon announced this year he had an idea to build a slavery museum in Nigeria that would include a theme park with a slave ship replica, along with casinos, shops, a golf course and condominiums. The BBC said world reaction to the idea was cool.
As Grampa Joe alluded at that press conference, Michael Jackson's children have not led a normal life. But they'll have a lot to tell their classmates when they finally stop jetting from Bahrain to Ireland to London and go to school:
Dad Michael once dated Brooke Shields. His best friend was Elizabeth Taylor, who got $600,000 in jewelry to do a rebuttal video after then now-famous 2003 Martin Bashir interview that cast Jackson in a negative light, says a former producer.
When daughter Paris was born, Michael announced, "I snatched her and just went home with all the placenta and everything all over her. I'm not kidding. Got her in a towel and ran. They said it was fine. ... And I got her home and washed it all off." That according to a British TV documentary for which Jackson gave full access.
At Neverland, there's a creepy picture in the bedroom of the Last Supper: Michael Jackson as Jesus, and Abraham Lincoln and Einstein as his disciples. He had personal magicians and friends that bent spoons.
Dad told Martin Bashir that sharing a bed with a young boy is "a beautiful thing." That goes for animals, too. "Bubbles the chimp" slept in a crib in his bedroom, too, and could even do the moonwalk. But Bubbles, now 26, got too aggressive and now lives in a Florida monkey compound.
Baby "Blanket" was dangled over the balcony of a Berlin hotel to show him to screaming fans below. You guys know about the towel wrapped around his head and the many bags and scarves you have worn over the years.
It appears only Grace Rwaramba, who worked for the star for 17 years and raised the children, provided some normalcy. She allowed the children to throw off the masks.
In the week since the death of Michael Jackson, critics say "follow the money" to see who will lay permanent claim to the children and the first custody hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.
In the last year, sibling Janet Jackson, 41, had been the only one with earning power, according to Stacy Brown, who co-wrote "Man in the Mirror" with the late star's publicist Bob Jones.
The rest of the siblings have just been "scraping by" -- mostly by the pop star's design. They said the star hated his family -- with the exception of Katherine and Janet -- and wanted them broke.
Tito Jackson, 55, formed a blues band several years ago and plays at small venues for $500 to $1,500 a gig. Randy Jackson, 46, works as an auto mechanic. Marlon Jackson, 51, stocks groceries at a supermarket and was forced to leave his foreclosed home.
Jackie Jackson, 56, and son started a struggling Internet clothing business. Jermaine Jackson, 54, splits time between his mother's and girlfriend's homes with more than $5 million in liens against him from a 1995 bankruptcy filing.
But, Brian Oxman, a Jackson family attorney, told ABCNews.com of the question of custody, "All of this furor is a tempest in a teapot."
"They are one of the nicest families I know," he said. "I have done family law for 30 years. In terms of families who have troubles and problems, they have less than others."
But Brown said Joe Jackson's warm pledge to provide his son's children with a stable home while announcing his new record company, was "the lowest I'd ever seen him or anyone connected and certainly related to Michael ever sink."
"His son isn't in the ground and he's promoting himself," he said. "Katherine Jackson deserves a purple heart for putting up with Joe."
In the years that Brown spent at Hayvenhurst when the grandchildren were having fun, Joe Jackson would call and asked to be picked up.
"The kids would scatter like bugs when the lights came on," said Brown. "They did not want any part of being in their grandfather's presence. Michael's children will be traumatized all the more if they have to spend any length of time around Joseph Jackson."
Journalist Dimond worries about the elder parents taking custody.
"Bless Katharine Jackson, but she's 79 years old and separated from a man accused by all of his children as being a brutal dictator," she said.
"I don't think these children are doomed," said Dimond. "But I do think their lives forever changed the day their Dad died."
Celebrity psychologist Judy Kuriansky agrees the three children have a struggle ahead.
"In my view, they will need psychological help," she told ABCNews.com. "The grandparents also need guidance and counseling, to be prepared to be the children's custodians, especially Joe."