Janet Jackson had three failed marriages but is grateful to have a son to keep her strong and happy. Here's a glimpse of her love stories and giving birth at 50.
Although known as Michael Jackson's younger sister, Janet Jackson is a star in her own right, having sold six million copies of her "Control" album in 1986. She also made over five million sales when her hit "Rhythm Nation 1814" was released.
Janet's career started at the tender age of seven alongside her family, but unlike her brothers, the artist was not groomed for success in the same way.
(L) Janet Jackson during a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon." (R) Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson during the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2013/14 on February 25, 2013 in Milan, Italy. | Source: Getty Images, Instagram.com/janetjackson & Youtube.com/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Because of her father's constant push, she released an album at 16, when she was not all that into the music scene. Two years later, she released her second album, "Dream Street" Although music eventually became her passion, there was something Janet wanted more – love. She said:
“I always wanted to find love.”
Finally, it happened when she met James DeBarge in the '80s. Their similar music background helped the pair connect, especially since DeBarge was making a name for himself with hits such as "Rhythm of the Night."
Janet Jackson in a black and white portrait, circa 1972. | Source: Getty Images
The couple tied the knot in secret in 1984 but only lasted a year. According to Janet, her first husband's drug use made him absent in her life. She said, as reported by Insider:
“There are a lot of nights that I would go searching the streets looking for him – eight o'clock in the morning, four o'clock in the morning.”
In fact, DeBarge left his bride alone in the hotel room for three hours after their wedding. "He said, "okay, I'll be right back," the pop icon recalled. "And I'm sitting in a hotel room in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by myself, just 18. And for three hours, he never came back."
Janet Jackson and James Debarge at the 12th Annual American Music Awards. | Source: Getty Images
JANET'S SECOND MARRIAGE TO RENE ELIZONDO
Janet's second serious relationship came when her longtime friend, Rene Elizondo, developed feelings for the singer. In a previous interview, as told by Index Articles, Janet recalled:
“When I first met him, I was going through so much, and I would call him, and I would cry on the phone. [...] We were best friends. Then, when I was 20, it was the strangest thing when we started being attracted to each other.”
The couple tied the knot in 1991, after Elizondo's proposal at the beach. At that time, Janet thought that he was the one she would spend the rest of her life with.
Janet Jackson and Rene Elizondo during the album release party for "The Velvet Rope" at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Unfortunately, their marriage lasted no longer than a decade after keeping their union a secret. Following their divorce, Elizondo's lawyer, Manley Fried, challenged the validity and provisions of their prenuptial agreement. He said:
“We don't have a set figure we're seeking. We don't have a full financial picture yet, but Rene is not looking to nickel and dime Janet to get what he's entitled under the law.”
Janet also released a statement regarding their separation but initially denied that they were married under the law.
JANET'S RELATIONSHIP WITH JERMAINE DUPRI
Janet later fell in love with Jermaine Dupri, whom she met at a show. As Dupri recalled, Janet's bodyguard stopped him from entering as part of the entourage, and the pop star had to vouch for him. It was during that time that their first conversations began.
Their relationship progressed when Dupri showed Janet a life outside of what she was used to, beyond "the bubble of the Jacksons." He said, "I exposed her to a lot of life that I didn't know I could expose a person to."
Janet openly credited Dupri for showing her new things and thanked God that their paths crossed in this lifetime. Similarly, Dupri opened up about what he loved about Janet, such as her humor and personality.
Unfortunately, like Janet's other relationships, theirs ended in separation. Dupri realized that marriage was not going to work for him, given the many things he still wanted to pursue in his life.
In fact, Janet called the police to check on her son, then one, while with his father.
Throughout their eight or nine-year relationship, the couple never lived together. According to Dupri, Janet was unwilling to live in Atlanta, while he was not ready to move to Malibu. Their reluctance to live under the same roof played a big part in their separation.
Jermaine Dupri and Janet Jackson for Antonio "L.A." Reid's 50th Birthday Party - Inside at Nobu - 57th Street in New York, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images
JANET'S THIRD MARRIAGE TO WISSAM AL MANA
In 2010, Janet met her third husband, Qatari billionaire businessman Wissam Al Mana, during Dubai's Armani Hotel opening ceremony. Al Mana was born in the Middle East but moved to London when he was two.
At that time, Al Mana called the singer his "dream woman," whom he was fortunate to have. In 2012, the couple quietly tied the knot in an intimate wedding ceremony.
Although low-key, their wedding reportedly cost $20 million after flying 500 guests to Doha, Qatar, for $3 million. It was also reported that guests would be given Rolex watches to thank them for their attendance.
Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson during the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2013/14 on February 25, 2013 in Milan, Italy. | Source: Getty Images
“Last year, we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony. Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favorite children's charities."
Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson during the Roberto Cavalli fashion show as part of Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2013/14 on February 23, 2013 in Milan, Italy. | Source: Getty Images
THEIR SMALL WEDDING CEREMONY
Many were shocked by the billionaire's wedding ceremony, having thought it would have been lavish. According to a source, the reason was that they already wanted a child. The insider said:
“He really wanted a baby, and Janet was ready. She realized she found the right guy.”
However, conceiving at 46 was a challenge in itself. "At least twice, she thought she was pregnant, and each time, she realized that she wasn't," a family source revealed. "I'm not sure who was more disappointed."
Three years later, Janet found herself pregnant with her first child, but her relationship had already been heavily damaged. She was verbally abused by her husband and felt like a prisoner in her own home.
When she turned 50, Janet gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Eissa Al Mana, but she separated from her husband a few months later. "She wanted the locks changed a few weeks ago and no keys for him," an insider said at that time.
In 2014, Janet listed their luxurious condo unit for $35,000. She and Al Mana rarely stayed in the house since tying the knot.
Following their split, the couple filed for divorce. According to their prenup, Jackson could walk away with $100 million and double it if they had a child. "It looks like a money grab, but it's not about money," Janet's relative said.
A custody battle also came into fruition between the pair. Initially, Janet wanted to co-parent their son but realized she wanted full custody of the child. She also requested that a caregiver be present when Al Mana is with Eissa.
In fact, Janet called the police to check on her son, then one, while with his father. According to a source, she "feels completely out of control during Wissam's visitations with their baby and worries nonstop."
Wissam Al Mana and Janet Jackson during the John Galliano Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2011 show during Paris Fashion Week at Opera Comique on October 3, 2010 in Paris, France. | Source: Getty Images
LIFE AS A MOM
Since giving birth, Eissa has been the apple of Janet's eye and a source of happiness. She has been a hands-on mother and does so single-handedly. She also doesn't have help from nannies when raising her son. The singer said:
"My mother did it. Her mother did it. Why can't I? I'm sure I will need someone in the future, some help here and there, but I don't have anyone, and I love it."
Admittedly, raising her child alone gets tiring, but Janet loves being a mother more than anything else at the end of the day.