Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, actress and dancer. A prominent figure in popular culture, she is known for sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, and elaborate stage shows. Take a look below for 40 more fascinating and interesting facts about Janet Jackson.
1. Jackson was born on May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of ten children, to Katherine Esther and Joseph Walter Jackson.
2. The Jacksons were lower-middle class and devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, although Jackson would later refrain from organized religion.
3. At a young age, her brothers began performing as the Jackson 5 in the Chicago-Gary area.
4. In March 1969, the group signed a record deal with Motown, and soon had their first number-one hit.
5. The family then moved to the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles.
6. Jackson had initially desired to become a horse racing jockey or entertainment lawyer, with plans to support herself through acting. Despite this, she was anticipated to pursue a career in entertainment, and considered the idea after recording herself in the studio.
7. At age seven, Jackson performed at the MGM Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
8. A biography revealed her father, Joseph Jackson, was emotionally withdrawn, and told her to address him solely by his first name as a child.
9. She began acting in the variety show The Jacksons in 1976.
10. In 1977, she was selected to have a starring role as Penny Gordon Woods in the sitcom Good Times.
11. She later starred in A New Kind of Family and later got a recurring role on Diff’rent Strokes, portraying Charlene Duprey from seasons three to six.
12. Jackson also played the role of Cleo Hewitt during the fourth season of Fame, but expressed indifference towards the series, largely due to the emotional stress of her secret marriage to R&B singer, James DeBarge.
13. Jackson later elaborated on her time on the show in an interview with Anderson Cooper, revealing that the cast would occasionally play pranks on her, but she spoke fondly of them.
14. When Jackson was sixteen, her father and manager Joseph Jackson, arranged a contract for her with A&M Records.
15. Her debut album, Janet Jackson, was released in 1982. It was produced by Angela Winbush, René Moore, Bobby Watson of Rufus and Leon Sylvers III, and overseen by her father Joseph.
16. It peaked at No. 63 on the Billboard 200, and No. 6 on the publication’s R&B albums chart, receiving little promotion.
17. The album appeared on the Billboard Top Black Albums of 1983, while Jackson herself was the highest-ranking female vocalist on the Billboard Year-End Black Album Artists.
18. Jackson’s second album, Dream Street, was released two years later.
19. Dream Street reached No. 147 on the Billboard 200, and No. 19 on the R&B albums chart.
20. The lead single “Don’t Stand Another Chance” peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. Both albums consisted primarily of bubblegum pop music.
21. At age 18, Janet Jackson eloped with singer James DeBarge in September 1984.
22. The marriage was annulled in November 1985.
23. On March 31, 1991, Jackson married dancer/songwriter/director Rene Elizondo Jr. The marriage was kept a secret until the split was announced.
24. In January 1999, the couple separated and were divorced in 2000.
25. Elizondo filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against her, estimated to have been between $10–25 million, which did not reach a settlement for three years.
26. From 2002 to 2009, Jackson dated music producer, rapper, songwriter Jermaine Dupri.
27. In 2010, Jackson met Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana and began dating him shortly after that.
28. The couple became engaged and married privately in 2012.
29. In 2016, Jackson announced that they were expecting their first child together.
30. On January 3, 2017, Jackson gave birth to a son, Eissa Al Mana. In April 2017, it was announced that the couple had separated and were pursuing a divorce.
31. In March 2008, Business Wire reported “Janet Jackson is one of the top ten selling artists in the history of contemporary music; ranked by Billboard magazine as the ninth most successful act in rock and roll history, and the second most successful female artist in pop music history.”
32. She is the only female artist in the history of the Hot 100 to have 18 consecutive top ten hit singles, from “Miss You Much” (1989) to “I Get Lonely” (1998).
33. In November 2010, Billboard released its “Top 50 R&B / Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years” list and ranked her at number five.
34. She ranks as the top artist on the chart with 15 number ones in the past twenty-five years, garnering 27 top ten hits between 1985 and 2001, and 33 consecutive top 40 hits from 1985 through 2004.
35. Recipient of eleven Billboard Music Awards, she is one an elite group of musical acts, such as Madonna, Aerosmith, Garth Brooks and Eric Clapton, whom Billboard credits for “redefining the landscape of popular music.”
36. In November 2014, Jackson was voted ‘Queen of Pop’ by a poll conducted online by VH1.com.
37. In October 2015, she received her first nomination for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and four years later was inducted to the Hall.
38. In her early career, Jackson credited her brothers Michael and Jermaine Jackson as musical influences.
39. Jackson describes Lena Horne as a profound inspiration, for entertainers of several generations as well as herself. Upon Horne’s death, she stated “[Horne] brought much joy into everyone’s lives—even the younger generations, younger than myself. She was such a great talent. She opened up such doors for artists like myself.”
40. Jackson has declared herself “a very big Joni Mitchell fan”, explaining: “As a kid I was drawn to Joni Mitchell records […] Joni’s songs spoke to me in an intimate, personal way.”