The Major Request Michael Jackson Made For Diana Ross In His Will

The following article includes mention of attempted suicide.

Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were famously very close, so it makes sense that when it came to the "Thriller" singer's will, he left a very special request for her. In fact, one might say he entrusted his most prized possessions with her: His kids. 

Perhaps surprisingly, given their 14-year age gap, Ross and Michael's friendship spanned decades, beginning when the latter was just 10 years old. Ross was associated with The Jackson 5's success right from the start. After all, their debut album, released in 1969, was titled "Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5." The family even went on to live with the singer in a bid to give Michael, in particular, a more secure home life. It's not all surprising, then, that in a 1970 interview with "The Merv Griffin Show," Ross jokingly insinuated that Michael was her son. It's clear that Michael felt the same. In his 1988 autobiography, "Moonwalk," Michael referred to her as "my mother, sister and lover all combined in one amazing person." 

Just over two decades later, the world learned just how serious Michael was about that title. In the wake of his death, it was revealed that his first choice as guardian for his three children, 12-year-old Prince Jackson, 11-year-old Paris Jackson, and 7-year-old Blanket Jackson, was his mother, Katherine Jackson. And the second choice? That would be an honor reserved for the other maternal figure in his life, Ms. Ross. 

Diana never took on the guardianship role

Just seven years after drawing up his will, Michael Jackson passed away, leaving behind his three minor children. From the start, Prince, Paris, and Blanket Jackson were placed under the guardianship of their grandmother, meaning Diana Ross' possible guardianship wasn't a concern. However, in 2012, a major feud broke out within the Jackson family, bringing the kids' custody into question — and Ross was forced to make a statement. 

After intense back-and-forth in the media, a two-week disappearance from Katherine, and even claims from some family members that Michael's will had been forged, a new custody arrangement was drawn up. That saw Katherine become a co-guardian alongside her grandson, TJ Jackson. As one of the potential guardians named in the will, Ross had to give permission for that to happen, which she did. However, it's safe to say she wasn't happy with things having played out so publicly. In a comment made at the time, she quipped, "All interests are best served if it remains private."

As for why The Supremes singer agreed to sign off on the new guardianship arrangement rather than take the kids on herself, an insider told Radar that she had made the decision with the kids in mind. More specifically, she was aware that they wanted to live with Katherine and TJ. As such, she opted to honor their requests rather than add to an already tense situation. 

However, she's kept in touch with the kids

Diana Ross didn't become a guardian to Michael Jackson's kids, but that's not to say she hasn't been there for them when they needed her. Speaking to Inside Edition, family friend Stacy Brown revealed that Ross had issued a warning to everyone when they met to discuss the situation. "When she left that meeting, she let it be known that if something goes wrong, if this thing blows up publicly again, 'I'll be back,'" Brown recounted. Brown also revealed that Ross had given specific instructions to Paris Jackson to call her if she ever needed her — particularly if family tensions arose. 

The following year, Paris attempted suicide. Speaking to Radar about the situation, a source shared that Ross had been in communication with the family and was committed to doing whatever she could to help. However, in sticking with her previous stance on protecting the privacy of Michael's kids, she only planned on seeing Paris once she was home to avoid any further media attention. That was certainly beneficial for Paris, who has since told Willow Smith on an episode of "Red Table Talks" that she has PTSD as a result of hearing paparazzi camera clicks throughout her life. 

Even with her concerns, Ross never took custody of Michael's children. And, as of 2020, all of them are legally adults. As for their present relationship with Ross, we have no doubts that she'll be keeping that private. 

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