Janet Jackson isn’t done speaking her truth, with the singing legend addressing long-standing rumours of having a secret baby with her first husband James DeBarge during a marriage that only lasted a year.
Jackson addressed the rumours in second part of the two-part Lifetime and A&E documentary, ‘Janet’, where she refuted claims that this secret baby was raised by her sister, Rebbie, or brother Jackie.
“Back in the day they were saying that I had a child and I kept it secret,” Jackson says, as reported by People. “I could never keep a child away from James. How could I keep a child from their father? I could never do that, that’s not right.”
In the documentary, the ‘Rhythm Nation’ singer also rattled off other rumours she has heard of herself over her lifetime, including that her niece Brandy was her secret daughter that Jackie raised. Another story claimed her brother Randy’s daughter Stevanna was this abandoned child.
The singer claimed the rumours had stemmed from the time she was shooting for the show ‘Fame’, when she was on contraceptive pills that resulted in weight gain.
“A lot of the kids thought I was pregnant, ‘cause I had gained weight, and I had started taking birth control pills,” she said. “And back then, you could pick up weight taking them, and that’s what happened to me. So that rumour started going around.”
DeBarge and Janet were wed in 1984, when the singer was just 18 years old. However, according to Janet, the marriage fell apart on account his frequent drug use.
“When we got married and came back to the hotel he said, ‘OK, I’ll be right back,’” she spoke of their wedding night. “And I’m sitting in the hotel room in Grand Rapids, Michigan by myself, just 18, and for three hours, he never came back. I don’t know, maybe it’s this person in me that wants to help people subconsciously. When it comes to relationships, somehow I’m attracted to people that use drugs.”
Jackson said she spent many a night searching the streets for DeBarge, and would try and flush his pills down the toilet. Their year-long union was eventually annulled.
The five-time Grammy winner eventually moved on from DeBarge and even welcomed a child in 2017, her son Eissa who is now five.
‘Janet’, a two-night documentary event, premieres January 28 in the US. No UAE date has been announced as yet.
The documentary also gives fans insight into the singer’s meteoric rise in the world of music, only to find her career stalling following a Super Bowl scandal in 2004 involving Justin Timberlake. In the trailer, the singer is also seen addressing the sexual assault allegations that marred the musical legacy of her late brother, Michael Jackson.
Janet, who has guarded her private life over the years, is asked in the trailer why she chose to speak out now, with the 55-year-old replying: “It’s just something that needs to be done.”
The documentary, which also sees the singer serve as an executive producer, features interviews by several of Janet’s celebrity friends, including Samuel L Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Mariah Carey, Tyler Perry, Paula Abdul, Missy Elliott, Regina King and Janelle Monáe.