Learn about the men who have been married to Janet Jackson as a new documentary about her life takes center stage.
Janet Jackson, 55, opens out in her new Lifetime and A&E documentary-like she’s never done before.
Janet, which premieres this Friday (Jan. 28), shows the legendary singer, actress, and dancer opening up about her career and personal life. Janet addresses her marriages as one of the subjects she explores. She’s been married three times, and none of her marriages have lasted long.
Here’s everything you need to know about the three men who have named the multi-talented celebrity their wife as the world learns more about her.
Janet’s first husband, James DeBarge, was 58 years her senior. James, an R&B/soul singer who was a member of the DeBarge singing family, married Janet in 1984 when he was 21 years old and she was just 18 years old. Before married, the pair dated for two years.
Janet had just released her second solo album, Dream Street, the year before, following her self-titled debut from 1982. Janet’s marriage was seen as a form of defiance against her dominating father, Joe Jackson when she was a teenager. Due to his alleged drug addiction, the relationship was ended in 1985.
Over the years, rumors have persisted that the couple had a hidden kid together, which James addressed in 2016 on the series Growing Up Hip-Hop. In a scene from the show, he tells his daughter, «I’m tired of the secrecy.» «I’m wary of people avoiding the truth and being cowards when it comes to it. And I felt it was important for me to speak up today because it is something that needs to be addressed.»
Janet addressed the rumors in the Janet documentary as well. «They used to say I had a child, and I kept it a secret back then.» According to People, she stated, «I could never keep a child away from James.» «How could I keep a child away from their father?» says the mother. That’s not something I could ever do.»
Janet’s second marriage was to René Elizondo, a 59-year-old Mexican dancer and songwriter. René, who is also a music video director, met them while working on a film. Six years after her divorce from James, Janet and René were engaged on a beach and married on March 31, 1991.
According to People, she claimed in the doc, «I just needed to be free of being with someone who did drugs and all of that.» «I was in desperate need of assistance. René was a riot to be around, and they always had a good time. He was quite endearing.»
The world was kept in the dark about Janet and René’s marriage until the couple tragically divorced in 2000. After the divorce, René allegedly sued Janet for between $10 and $25 million, but the two eventually struck an agreement. In the documentary, she also discussed her second failed marriage.
«We were out on the beach, it was pouring buckets, and that’s when he proposed to me,» she said of René’s proposal. «James never asked me to marry him.» It was strange since he never gave me a ring or anything like that. It had to be it for me. But I had the same thought every time.»
Wissam Al Mana
Janet’s third husband, Wissam Al Mana, is 47 years old. Before marrying in 2012, the Qatari billionaire CEO dated the «Rhythm Nation» vocalist for several years. Janet kept this romance a secret for a long time, not even announcing her marriage until 2013.
«The speculations of a grandiose wedding are just not true,» she remarked in an interview. We married last year in a simple, intimate, and lovely ceremony.» Fans were stunned to learn that Janet and Wissam had born their son Eissa together in January 2017. Three months later, the pair called it quits, and Janet made the announcement herself in a rare Instagram video.
Janet added in the video, «I just want to keep it real for you guys for a second — yes, I separated from my husband.» «The rest is in God’s hands,» she continued, referring to how they’re working out the terms of their divorce in court.
Janet and Wissam’s divorce has yet to be formalized. The former couple is still co-parenting their 5-year-old son. «You’re growing up way too quickly.» In a birthday tribute to Eissa, Janet posted on Instagram, «Such an intelligent lovely boy.» «Wishing you a life filled with fantastic experiences.» Mama adores you.»