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Taking Names: Judge makes guardianship of Jackson children official
A judge appointed Michael Jackson's nephew on Wednesday to share guardianship responsibilities for the singer's three children, but not without a last-minute effort by some relatives to delay the decision.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff named TJ Jackson as the children's co-guardian. He will share responsibility for raising the siblings, who range in age from 10 to 15.
The judge made the ruling after considering a letter submitted by singer Diana Ross, who was named in Michael Jackson's will as a potential guardian, and a letter presented by cousins of the singer who sought a delay in the appointment.
Debra Jackson and her son Anthony urged Judge Beckloff to delay his ruling, saying they were concerned that family matriarch Katherine Jackson was being coerced. The pair said they had been ostracized from the family and that the children may not be as excited about TJ Jackson's appointment as has been presented to the judge.
But Judge Beckloff noted that all three children have said they consent to the co-guardianship, and that an independent investigation he ordered showed they "have a very strong, loving relationship with TJ Jackson."
He urged TJ Jackson to consider allowing the cousins to visit the family, but said there was no reason to delay. The appointment means that Katherine Jackson, 82, and TJ Jackson, 34, will share responsibility for raising the children. If one of them is no longer able to serve, the other would become the children's sole guardian.
TJ Jackson was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was incommunicado during a stay at an Arizona spa with relatives.
Judge Beckloff has said Katherine Jackson is doing a great job raising Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson, but noted that having a co-guardian will allow for continuity in their lives if she is no longer able to serve.
TJ Jackson was a relative unknown to the public before the recent rift in the family. He performs in a band called 3T along with his brothers and was close to his uncle, Michael, before the pop star died in June 2009 at age 50.
Wednesday's hearing had been expected to be a legal formality and although Judge Beckloff made time to hear the cousins' grievances, the judge didn't waver in his view that the co-guardianship arrangement was appropriate. He noted that it is frequently employed in other cases.
Divorce becomes final for Tareq, Michaele Salahi
A Virginia judge has signed off on the divorce of celebrity White House gate crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi.
Mr. Salahi had filed for divorce in Warren County in September, claiming his wife was having an affair with Neal Schon, the lead guitarist for the rock band Journey.
The Warren County Circuit Court clerk's office says a judge signed the divorce decree on Monday. The news was first reported by TMZ.com.
In a news release last week, lawyers for Mr. Salahi announced the confidential divorce settlement in which he wished his wife the best. The release also said Mr. Salahi settled a $50 million lawsuit against Mr. Schon, his band and an affiliated entertainment company.
The Salahis gained notoriety in 2009 when they crashed a White House state dinner.
Diller's last recording released on YouTube
Music collective Pink Martini has released the last song Phyllis Diller recorded, Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," as a tribute to her memory.
The voice of the late comedian is immediately recognizable on the recording, perhaps a little more wizened, but still strong and full of emotion.
Diller died Monday in Los Angeles at age 95. The song was recorded in February by Pink Martini bandleader Thomas Lauderdale for the Portland, Ore., collective's next album.
It's available for listening on YouTube (http://youtu.be/TFdhIcldb0w) and Soundcloud (http://bit.ly/SeKexd).
Mr. Lauderdale said he may add strings and a clarinet to the simple piano-and-voice recording before the album, "Get Happy," comes out next spring.
"But as it now stands I love it," Mr. Lauderdale said. "I think it has a lot of heart. I think it represents her in a beautiful and comforting and lovely way, and respectful. And I guess I just feel entirely lucky and honored to have these brief moments with her. Everybody seems to have a Phyllis Diller, and I feel just lucky to have had a small moment with her."
Mr. Lauderdale met Diller through a mutual friend while in Los Angeles for New Year's Eve concerts. He asked Diller, who had formal music training in her youth, if she would be interested in recording a song. To his surprise she said yes and he returned a month later with recording engineer Dave Friedlander. They set up a studio in her living room and two hours later had the song.
"She had a great time," Mr. Lauderdale said. "She was a perfectionist. Every time she didn't get a phrase just as she wanted it, she went right back to redo it. So it required no coaching at all from me. She did it all on her own."
Lavigne, Nickelback singer engaged
Avril Lavigne and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger aren't just making music together. They're getting hitched.
A spokeswoman for Miss Lavigne confirmed a Tuesday report from People magazine that the 27-year-old pop singer and 37-year-old rocker became engaged earlier this month after dating for six months.
The magazine said Miss Lavigne was introduced to Mr. Kroeger in February when they met to co-write a song for Miss Lavigne's upcoming album.
It will be the first marriage for Mr. Kroeger and the second for Miss Lavigne. She filed for divorce in 2009 from Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley after three years of marriage.
Miss Lavigne surged to fame with her 2002 album "Let's Go." Mr. Kroeger has served as lead vocalist and guitarist for Nickelback since the band formed in 1995.
• Compiled from wire reports.
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