Michael Jackson's wife sues over custody reports

LOS ANGELES Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:01pm EDT

Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and mother of two of his children, passes through a magnetometer at the Santa Barbara county courthouse April 28, 2005, in Santa Maria, California. REUTERS/Aaron Lambert/POOL

Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and mother of two of his children, passes through a magnetometer at the Santa Barbara county courthouse April 28, 2005, in Santa Maria, California.

Credit: Reuters/Aaron Lambert/POOL

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe on Thursday sued a woman for defamation on Thursday after news reports that claimed Rowe was willing to accept millions of dollars in exchange for giving up her custody rights to her two children with the dead pop star.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Rowe contends that Rebecca White committed defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

White, who could not immediately be reached for comment, claimed to be a "close friend" of Rowe, the lawsuit said. The women did know each other.

The suit claimed White fabricated e-mails and other communications she said were sent to her by Rowe. In one case, White told an unspecified media outlet that Rowe had sent her an e-mail in which Rowe said she did not want the children but that it would look bad if she did not fight for their custody.

In reality, according to the lawsuit, Rowe and White never exchanged e-mails concerning Jackson, his family or their children. Additionally, Rowe has not e-mailed White since Jackson died last month, it added.

Rowe's attorney was not available for comment. It was not clear how much the lawsuit sought in damages.

Rowe was expected to attend a custody hearing concerning Jackson's three children on Monday. She is the mother of Prince Michael, 12, and daughter Paris, 11. Seven-year-old Prince Michael II, better known as "Blanket," was born to an unknown surrogate. Rowe was not mentioned in Jackson's will, which named his mother, Katherine Jackson, as their guardian.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Doina Chiacu)

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