Janet Jackson turns 56
At the 2022 Billboard Awards
Janet Jackson's documentary
The shadow of Michael
Jackson continues to be very private
Janet Jackson's family
First shows at age 7
The Jacksons' father
Not allowed to play like other kids
Never asked to be in showbiz, just 'put into' it
Janet actually wanted to be a lawyer
Solo career
Her marriage with James DeBarge
Queen of the MTV generation
Best debut tour in history
Among the highest-paid artists
Acting with Eddie Murphy and Tupac
That's the Way Love Goes
Her second marriage to René Elizondo
Shadows in Janet Jackson's life
Always behind her brother Michael
They made 'Scream' in response to the accusations
Scandal at the Super Bowl
A complete disaster on live tv
Disinvited to the Grammys
Jackson told Justin Timberlake to keep quiet
Invited to return to the Super Bowl in 2018
Recovery from the scandal
Her successes remembered
Hall of Fame
Third marriage: Wissam Al Mana
Janet Jackson seems at ease
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Janet Jackson turns 56

It seems ages ago that Janet Jackson rose to the top of the charts with songs like 'What Have You Done for Me Lately' and 'Miss You Much.' The singer has turned 56 this year.

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At the 2022 Billboard Awards

On May 15, she appeared at the Billboard Awards to
honor her colleague Mary J. Blige.

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Janet Jackson's documentary

In January 2022, Jackson had released a documentary about her life. The program, 'JANET JACKSON' on Lifetime and A&E, describes Janet Jackson's early life in the successful but troubled Jackson family.

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The shadow of Michael

It also details her relationship with older brother Michael Jackson, whom she still defends against molestation charges; and the wardrobe incident at the 2004 Super
Bowl halftime show that made a dent in her career.

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Jackson continues to be very private

Overall, however, the documentary shows Janet Jackson as a very private person. While she promised to tell 'her
story' in the program, she reveals very little about her life that other media had not already uncovered.

Let’s go over the singer’s tumultuous biography.

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Janet Jackson's family

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana as the youngest of ten children. Her mother, Katherine, was a Jehova's Witness who raised her children according to her religion. Her father, Joe, trained his sons and daughters from a young age to become famous pop singers and entertainers.

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First shows at age 7

As her brothers became pop stars with the Jackson 5, Janet Jackson performed for the first time when she was 7 years old. According to the Washington Post, she did two shows a night in Las Vegas at that age. Later, in 1976, Janet appeared in the television show 'The Jacksons'. She was just 10 years old.

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The Jacksons' father

Joe (Joseph) Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson 5, has been said to be very controlling and even abusive of his children. The Guardian even reports in his obituary that Jackson would physically harm his children if they let him down.

 

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Not allowed to play like other kids

In the documentary, Janet Jackson recalls "stories about my mother allowing my brothers and sisters to play outside, and then they'd see my father's car coming down the street and run into the house and pick up their instruments and start playing like they were rehearsing all along." She added that the kids would yell: "Joseph's coming, Joseph's coming!"

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Never asked to be in showbiz, just 'put into' it

When the Jackson 5 became famous, the family moved from Indiana to Los Angeles and worked on their music constantly. "I don’t ever remember being asked" to become a performer, Janet Jackson says in the documentary. She was simply "put into" show business.

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"They just wanted the best for us"

However, Janet Jackson denies in the documentary that her father was a "tyrant." She defends her parents by saying: "They just wanted us to be the best that we could possibly be."

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Janet actually wanted to be a lawyer

Although she had a good singing voice and was part of a famous entertainers' family, Janet Jackson reveals in the documentary that she had actually had other plans: "I wanted to go to college and study business law," she recalls. "And [my father] said, 'That's not gonna happen'... What parent doesn't want you to go to college? But he said, 'No, you're gonna sing.'"

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Solo career

In 1982, at age 16, Janet Jackson signed her first contract as a solo singer. It would pave the way for her to become a pop icon of the 1980s. Her dad was involved in her music for a few years, but she fired him in 1986 and became truly independent.

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Her marriage with James DeBarge

Janet Jackson married for the first time with musician James DeBarge. They started dating when she was 16 and were briefly married from 1984 to 1985. According to her documentary, DeBarge struggled with substance abuse and that’s why they broke it off again.

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Queen of the MTV generation

In the 1980s, Janet Jackson became one of the faces of MTV. She was known for her R&B, funk and dance music, which she performed with an impressive choreography. Her many hits of the 80s included the songs ‘Nasty’ and ‘Rhythm Nation.’

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Best debut tour in history

Jackson's Rhythm Nation World Tour in 1990, her first, became the most successful debut tour in history. She had been inspired by Michael Jackson's Bad tour in 1988, US Weekly reports.

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Among the highest-paid artists

By the 1990s, Janet Jackson had it all. She signed an record-breaking contract with Virgin, making millions and becoming one of the highest-paid artists in the music industry.

(Image: Janet and Whitney Houston at an Oscars' afterparty in 1999)

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Acting with Eddie Murphy and Tupac

Janet Jackson also played in movies. She starred alongside Tupac Shakur in 'Poetic Justice' in 1993, and next to Eddie Murphy in 'The Nutty Professor' in 2000 (photo).

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That's the Way Love Goes

In those years, Janet Jackson released some of her most popular albums: 'Janet' in 1993, 'The Velvet Rope' in 1997, and 'All for You' in 2001. Releasing hits like 'That’s the Way Love Goes' and 'Together Again,' she consolidated her reputation as a sensual performer and a talented dancer.

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Her second marriage to René Elizondo

Jackson's love life was a bit bumpy. The superstar married the Mexican choreographer René Elizondo Jr. (photo) in 1991, but they divorced in 2000. Then, she started a relationship with Jermain Dupri in 2002, which ended in 2009.

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Shadows in Janet Jackson's life

More generally, Janet Jackson had a number of very difficult episodes in her life. It started with family issues - especially the negative publicity around her brother Michael - and continued with a fateful concert at the 2004 Super Bowl. And then, Michael Jackson suddenly died.

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Always behind her brother Michael

Michael Jackson was accused of inappropriate behavior with children on his Neverland ranch in 1993, and then again in 2003. According to the documentary 'JANET JACKSON,' it hurt Janet's chances of sponsor contracts (like Coca-Cola in the 1990s), but she never lost faith in her brother's innocence.

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They made 'Scream' in response to the accusations

Janet openly supported her brother by making the song 'Scream' with him. The video, from 1995, shows how angry the two stars were about the negative publicity and the harassment they experienced by the media.

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"My brother didn't have that in him"

Michael Jackson suddenly passed away in 2009, after having gone through a number of court cases involving his alleged abuses. His sister Janet has continued to support him, though, to this very day. "I know my brother," she said in the 2022 documentary. "He didn't have that in him."

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Scandal at the Super Bowl

Another major setback for Janet Jackson was the 'wardrobe malfunction' that caused her breast to be exposed on live television during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Jackson was performing together with Justin Timberlake. During one of their dance moves as a duo, a part of her costume came off.

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A complete disaster on live tv

The Super Bowl is one of the most viewed tv programs of the year, and the accidental showing of skin was a complete disaster. In the documentary, Janet's sister describes the incident as "horrible." She says her two children saw Janet crying as she was leaving the stage.

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Disinvited to the Grammys

Janet Jackson faced a storm of criticism in the aftermath of the Super Bowl. She was "disinvited to the Grammys," she recalls in the documentary, and a music and media boycott caused her to get less airplay on the radio and lower album sales in the years that followed the scandal.

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Jackson told Justin Timberlake to keep quiet

As the Hollywood Reporter claims, music fans and critics have argued that Justin Timberlake should have stood up for Janet Jackson. But as the documentary reveals in 2022, Jackson explicitly told Timberlake to keep quiet. "I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me... If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything," she told Timberlake at the time.

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Invited to return to the Super Bowl in 2018

She adds that she is not angry at him for the incident at all. But when he invited her to perform at the 2018 Super Bowl with him a second time, she said no. It would have been "stretching out the past, reliving something that happened over 10 years ago," she said in the documentary.

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Recovery from the scandal

Over time, Janet Jackson recovered from the scandal. She started her own record label and produced her music independently. In addition, people recognized that she had been treated unfairly after the incident at the Super Bowl. CNN reports, for example, that some see the yearly sports event as 'Janet Jackson Appreciation Day' now.

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Her successes remembered

Janet Jackson's successes became the topic of conversation again, and not her infamous 'wardrobe malfunction'. The singer holds several world records, including the highest number (18) consecutive top-ten entries in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The magazine also declared her to be the seventh All-Time Top Artist in 2008.

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Hall of Fame

Janet Jackson also has numerous awards, including 5 Grammys, and in 2019 she was honored with a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Third marriage: Wissam Al Mana

Meanwhile, Janet Jackson married for the third time. In 2010, the Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana put a ring on her finger. And this time, she also had a baby boy in the marriage. Eissa Al Mana, her first child, was born in early 2017.

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Janet Jackson seems at ease

Although the marriage with Al Mana didn't last, and Janet Jackson's documentary continues to be secretive about this last episode in the singer's private life, it seems like she is in a good place. Let's hope that, in her mid-50s, Janet Jackson has reached a more peaceful chapter of her life.

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