The two-part documentary “JANET,” which aired Friday and Saturday, revealed new details about Janet Jackson’s career in the music industry, including the infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime “Nipplegate” scandal.
Jackson recalled growing up and her childhood as The Jackson 5 grew in popularity. She claimed her father Joe Jackson was strict with the kids regarding rehearsing. Jackson also opened up about performing in Las Vegas as a child. She noted how the atmosphere wasn’t very “family-oriented.”
“We’d watch the women in huge feathers and all the rhinestones, glittery outfits and they were completely topless,” Jackson recalled during the A&E Lifetime documentary. “But that was my life.”
The documentary focused heavily on Jackson’s acting career. Jackson appeared on “Good Times” and the TV version of “Fame.”
Here are five things Jackson claimed in “JANET”:
1. No secret baby with James DeBarge
Jackson addressed the rumors that she had a secret baby with her first husband James DeBarge in the 1980s. At the time, the singer dealt with rumors that she had a baby that was being raised by her sister.
“They were saying that I was raising her daughter,” Rebbie Jackson said in the documentary. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Jackson explained that people believed she was pregnant while filming “Fame” because she gained weight. She claimed she had started taking birth control at the time and that was what caused the extra pounds.
“I could never keep a child away from James,” Jackson said. “How could I keep a child from their father? I could never do that, that’s not right.”
2. Topless Rolling Stone cover was ‘bold’
While in a relationship with René Elizondo Jr., Jackson posed topless for Rolling Stone. The infamous photo featured Elizondo’s hands covering her breasts.
“I did not like it,” Rebbie said during the documentary. “My mom really didn’t like it.”
However, Jackson felt she was being “bold” by posing for the cover.
“I thought that was very bold of me, to be quite honest, to unleash that within my family. To everybody else, it was probably no big issue, but I’m talking about my family. Because that’s not how we were brought up. I do what I do because it’s something that I feel at that moment. I mean, I was happy.”
3. Allegations against Michael Jackson affected her career
When Michael Jackson was hit with molestation allegations, Jackson’s own career was affected. The “Rhythm Nation” singer lost her brand partnership with Coca-Cola after the news broke.
“That’s the way the world is,” Jackson said about losing the partnership.
Jackson said she was “guilty by association” just for being Michael’s sister.
Jackson still defended Michael in the documentary. She was asked if she ever thought Michael did what he was accused of.
“Never. I know my brother,” she replied. “He didn’t have that in him.”
At the time of the allegations, the family stayed with Michael at his Neverland Ranch in California to show their support, according to Jackson. Michael settled a lawsuit with 13-year-old Jordan Chandler’s family in 1994. He paid $25 million in the deal.
Jackson commented on her brother’s decision to settle the case.
“He just wanted it to go away,” Jackson said.
4. René Elizondo Jr. sought money during their divorce
Despite having a prenuptial agreement, René Elizondo Jr. sued Jackson after filing for divorce. The two were secretly married for nine years. Elizondo used the Rolling Stone cover to argue he had substantially contributed to Jackson’s career.
“I started thinking, ‘Were you with me for the fame? Were you with me for the money? Were you with me for my family’s name?’ I mean, those things go through your head,” Jackson said during the documentary.
5. Told Justin Timberlake to keep quiet about ‘Nipplegate’
In 2004, Jackson performed alongside Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl halftime. The singer suffered a very visible wardrobe malfunction during the performance. One of Jackson’s breasts was exposed after Timberlake ripped off a piece fo her costume.
The moment was deemed “too crude” for family television and the ensuing controversy was deemed “Nipplegate.”
“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.”
Jackson revealed she told him not to say anything at the time.
Jackson was shunned from the music industry and was dis-invited to the Grammys shortly after the Super Bowl debacle.
In a filmed video from 2022, Jackson said the “whole thing was blown way out of proportion” and maintained the 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.”