Britain's News of the World has obtained new photos of Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe cuddling with their two children, Prince and Paris.
The pictures – taken in a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills about two weeks after Paris' April 1998 birth – show Jackson hugging Prince as Rowe holds Paris for the first time.
"At one point she was gently rocking Paris in her arms and humming a lullaby to her. It was a very special mother-and-baby moment," the photographer told the paper. "Paris was asleep in her mother's arms and looked very contented."
Added the photographer, "It was obvious that Debbie loved her children and there was a strong connection between them. It looked like she was treasuring every second, laughing, kissing and playing with them for about two hours.
"Michael didn't spend much time talking to Debbie during the meeting - but he was happy to watch her with the children," the shutterbug said. "It was his idea to do the photos. He was already thinking ahead. He wanted the pictures so he could show the children when they were older, so they'd know who their mother is." Despite reports that Rowe plans to fight for custody of Prince, 12, and Paris, 11, she "has not reached a final decision concerning the custody proceedings," her attorney Eric George told Usmagazine.com last week.
Rowe – who was spotted over the weekend at her Palmdale, Calif., horse farm – has not spoken publicly about the custody proceedings, but told NBCLA's Chuck Henry in a phone conversation (that was not broadcast) last week that she wants the kids. "I have no reason to doubt that what was reported from that conversation was accurately and ethically reported, but that said, it would be a distortion of the truth to allow that single snapshot of a single conversation, to stand as the truth on Debbie's position on this sensitive matter," her attorney told Us.
A guardianship hearing scheduled for Monday has been postponed until July 13 at the request of attorneys for Rowe and Katherine Jackson. Rowe wed Jackson in 1996 (he was a patient in the dermatologist's office, where she worked as a nurse). The children were born through artificial insemination. (The new issue of Us Weekly exclusively reports that children's father is Arnold Klein, Jackson's L.A.-based dermatologist and Rowe's former boss.) After Jackson and Rowe divorced in 1999, she agreed to give up her parental rights, insisting Jackson was a good father. On Monday, it was reported that Rowe will attend Jackson's memorial Tuesday in L.A.