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Janet Jackson’s Secret Baby Is Just A Rumor

By Oreoritse Tariemi
31 January 2022   |   12:40 pm
Janet Jackson opened up for the first time about her rumoured secret daughter with ex-husband James Barge. Janet Jackson set the internet ablaze over the weekend, making some deep revelations in the first two parts of her four-part lifetime docuseries Janet. The singer had reportedly spent the last five years filming the documentary on intimate and…

Janet Jackson. Photo: NOLA

Janet Jackson opened up for the first time about her rumoured secret daughter with ex-husband James Barge.

Janet Jackson set the internet ablaze over the weekend, making some deep revelations in the first two parts of her four-part lifetime docuseries Janet.

The singer had reportedly spent the last five years filming the documentary on intimate and widely reported moments in her life.

Five years with cameras watching her every move, it’s only expected that she clears the air and gives us all the need-to-know gist.

In the first part of the docuseries, which on Lifetime and A&E which aired on Friday and continued on Saturday, the singer told it all to the cameras that followed her around, speaking in everything from her childhood to long-held rumours of her secret child and her relationship with her brother, the late Michela Jackson. 

Oh! and there’s no secret child anywhere, which is a huge letdown after years of assuming the singer had a baby she didn’t want the world to know about.

At some point, we all heard the gist about Janet having a secret baby with her first husband, James DeBarge, in the 1980s, and that said baby was being raised by her sister. 

We were surprised to hear that this gist was a mere rumour, and there was no such child anyway.

The news of Janet’s supposed secret child hit the media in 2012 in a letter written by James DeBarge to Micheal Jackson’s death doctor Conrad Murray and published by radar. 

DeBarge claimed that he and Janet had given up the child for adoption just before their 1985 split. 

While filming the television series  Fame, Janet gained some weight during the show, which many news outlets reported to be an effect of her pregnancy. News outlets also reported that Janet Jackson and her first husband, James DeBarge, had a daughter who was being raised by her elder sister Rebbie Jackson. 

Adding more fuel to the theoretical fire, James DeBarge’s mother Etterlene back in 2017 confirmed that Janet was pregnant at the time of her divorce from DeBarge. 

Also, in 2017, a woman Tiffany Whyte claimed to be the daughter of DeBarge and Jackson in an interview with Radar Online. 

She said, “My name is Tiffany Whyte, and I’m the daughter of Janet Jackson and James DeBarge,”

“She has been denying me for many years. I’ve waited 31 years. I’ve been kept a secret for a very long time, and I want people to know the truth that I’m not a liar.”

In the interview, Whyte claimed that she and Etterlene had gotten a DNA test that proved they were related. 

“So, now it’s time for me to tell my truth,” she said. “Now that I got the DNA from my grandmother, that it is a possibility… No, it is for sure that they are my parents, she’s my grandmother, those [sic] are my family and it’s time for me to tell the truth.”

At the same time, she claimed that she wasn’t doing this for clout “I don’t want to get famous off of this,” she said. “Trust me. I don’t. I don’t. I just want my mother. I want my father. I want the woman who I could never get a chance to be held by as a child, to sing to me, to tell me that she loves me. I want to know the truth.”


Janet, in her docuseries, addressed the news of a secret child, noting that it was a rumour.

 Janet explained that it all started when she gained weight while filming the television series Fame. All of this weight, she said, was due to the birth control she was taking at the time, causing her to add the extra pounds.

“I could never keep a child away from James,” Janet said. “How could I keep a child from their father? I could never do that; that’s not right.”

That’s not all; her sister Rebbie Jackson also addressed claims that she raised Janet’s child. 

In the documentary, she said, “They were saying that I was raising her daughter.”

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Here are some other exciting takeaways we got from the documentary:

  • Janet, Herself Didn’t Like Her First Few Albums

Speaking on her career, Janet dropped a few bombshells that had us quaking in our shoes. 

While we might keep her first albums on repeat, Janet didn’t exactly like those albums. 

She revealed that she didn’t like how the albums turned out because she had no creative control her sound. This was because her father was in charge and called the shot. 

“My father was in charge of my life, my career, and he was my manager,” she said.

Oh! If you liked the cover for her Dream Street album, that was all Joe Jackson. 

It was really about their albums. The kind of music that they wanted me to make. I didn’t write any of the material,” she said. “It was just a matter of going to the studio, doing what they wanted you to do, and then you leave.”

“I didn’t want my last name to be on the album,” Janet continued. I just wanted to go by my first name. I wanted them to accept me for me, to be interested in this for me, not because I was the brother, sister of — but that’s everything that this industry takes advantage of. And they wanted to play on that. And I didn’t want that.”

However, she made sure to clear the air on her relationship with her dad.

“It was because of my father I’ve had the career that I’ve had. It was tough at times. There was nothing easy about it, period. But when you see where we came from and where we are now, we owe so much to my father,” she said.

“Discipline without love is tyranny — and tyrants, they were not,” she said of her parents,

“They just loved us and wanted us to be the best we could be. Obviously, it worked.”

  •  James DeBarge Alleged Drug Use

Janet got married as a way to regain her freedom. She and DeBarge met when she was 16, and they eloped at 18 to be married by DeBarge’s uncle at a secret ceremony in a small church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

However, their relationship was short-lived. 

“I wanted to be able to stand on my own feet,” she said. “And at that time, I felt that there was no other way I would be able to kind of get my own life.”

“I remember going to Michigan, to Grand Rapids and his uncle, he was a pastor, and he married us,” Janet recalled. “I even remember putting a ring on my finger and putting it on the wrong finger.”

However, their marital bliss was short-lived. The Nasty singer in her documentary said she began to suspect that something was wrong when DeBarge left her in the hotel room alone for hours. 

“When we got married and came back to the hotel, he said, ‘OK, I’ll be right back,'” she continued. “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.”

It didn’t take long for Janet to realise the bitter truth. “I eventually learned that he was into drugs,” she said.

“I remember times when I would find the pills, and I would take them and try to flush them down the toilet, and we would be rolling around the floor fighting for them. That’s not a life for anyone. I sit, and I say, ‘Were you stupid? Were you dumb?’ But it wasn’t that. I cared so much for him.” 

As she recalled finding DeBarge in the early hours of the morning and even wrestled with him over pills when she tried flushing them down the toilet, Janet became emotional. She also claimed that DeBrge took advantage of her naivete and love. 

In 1985, one year after, she annulled the union.

  • Sexual Allegations Against Micheal Jackson Affected Her

Janet revealed that molestation allegations made against Micheal Jackon didn’t just affect his career but also her career. After the news broke, the singer said that she had lost her partnership with Coca-Cola. 

She also noted that she was “guilty by association” for being Michael’s sister. “That’s the way the world is.” 

However, when asked if she thought Micheal was guilty, she replied. “Never. I know my brother,” she replied. “He didn’t have that in him.”

Janet further said that the family stayed with Michael at his Neverland Ranch in California to show their support. 

Commenting on his decision to settle the case, she said, “He just wanted it to.”

Back in 1994, Micheal Jackson settled the child sexual abuse lawsuit with 13-year-old Jordan Chandler’s family, paying $25 million in the deal.

  • ‘Nipplegate Was An Accident

Remember the Super Bowl halftime’ nip slip,’ it was just a wardrobe malfunction. 

While performing with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl halftime in 2004, one of Janet’s breasts was exposed after Timberlake ripped off a piece fo her costume.

This controversy which has its own Wikipedia page was named “Nipplegate.”

However, Timberlake’s refusal to speak on the incident wasn’t on purpose, as Janet had asked him to keep quiet.

“We talked once, and he said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement,” Jackson recalled. 

“I don’t want any drama for you,” she remembered telling Timberlake. “They’re aiming all of this at me.” 

“Nipplegate” led to a crackdown and widespread debate on perceived indecency in broadcasting.

Following this incident, Janet was shunned from the music industry and was dis-invited to the Grammys.

In the 2022 filed video, Jackson said the Super Bowl debacle was “blown way out of proportion”, and she maintained that wardrobe malfunction was an “accident.”

“Justin and I are very good friends, and we will always be very good friends,” Jackson said. “We spoke just a few days ago, and he and I have moved on, and it’s time for everyone else to do the same.”