TJ Jackson Given Temporary Guardianship Over Michael Jackson's Children

TJ Jackson given temporary guardianship over Michael Jackson's children.

ByABC News
July 25, 2012, 2:17 PM

July 25, 2012 — -- TJ Jackson, the 34-year-old son of Michael Jackson's older brother Tito, has been named the temporary guardian of the pop icon's three children. A California judge today also ordered the children not to leave the state.

The judge suspended Katherine Jackson as guardian of Paris Michael, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II at an emergency hearing, saying she is being prevented from acting as a guardian by acts of a third party.

"There are only three words I want to say: Always kids first," TJ Jackson said outside the court.

When asked whether he wanted Katherine Jackson home, he said, "That, too."

He was watching the children -- his cousins -- in Katherine Jackson's absence.

TJ, named Tito after his father, is close to the kids and is married with children of his own. Now in a band with his two brothers, TJ was once Kim Kardashian's high school sweetheart.

The judge ordered that singer Diana Ross, whom Michael Jackson named as a backup guardian in his will, receive notice of the decision within 48 hours. Debbie Rowe, the mother of Paris Michael and Prince Michael, must receive notice as well. Rowe is not named in Michael Jackson's will.

The judge ordered another hearing to take place in 30 days.

Katherine Jackson called her grandchildren late Tuesday night, ending a days-long silence that culminated in the appointment of a temporary guardian for her three grandchildren.

In court, TJ Jackson said his grandmother sounded "strange" during the call. "The way it sounded, I never heard her talk like that."

He added that "some words sounded slurred" and said "I never heard her use some phrases."

Questions About Katherine Jackson's Arizona Stay

As of Wednesday morning, Katherine Jackson, 82, was in Tucson, Ariz., where she has been staying with relatives. Her children Janet and Jermaine Jackson were also in Tucson. She is expected to return to Los Angeles today.

If Katherine Jackson returns to California and re-establishes regular communications with the children, she will resume guardianship over them. Outside court, Perry Sanders, Katherine Jackson's estate attorney, described the situation as a "giant misunderstanding."

But Sanders' view conflicts with that of Sandra Ribera, Katherine Jackson's family attorney, who said in court that she has "reason to believe Ms. Jackson is being held against her will."

TJ Jackson's attorney Charles Schultz described Katherine Jackson's stay in Arizona as "similar to when a parent goes on vacation and leaves the children with a babysitter."

Sanders traveled to Tucson Tuesday night to meet with Janet and Jermaine Jackson and check on Katherine Jackson's condition. He was assured by people staying with her that she was OK, but did not see her.

"I think you have a bunch of people who have a lot of different ideas about what should happen with their mother in this situation," Sanders said. "It's a complex family dynamic."

Sanders described the place where Katherine Jackson stayed in Arizona as "a top-notch facility that one would go to to decompress and drop your blood pressure."

"It's a real, high-end, spa resort," he added, noting, "They won't allow anybody to use phones in certain parts of that facility."

Joe Jackson, Katherine Jackson's estranged husband and the Jackson family matriarch, returned to Los Angeles today. He had been conspicuously absent since Katherine Jackson was reported missing last weekend, but a source confirmed to ABC News that he's now "getting more involved in this mess."