Janet is the youngest of the nine Jackson children. She was only three years old when her brothers became pop superstars as The Jackson 5, topping the charts with their first record "I Want You Back
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She is the only artist with three studio albums - Control (1986), Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), and janet. (1993) - with at least five Top 10 US singles each. Rhythm Nation 1814 landed a remarkable seven singles in the Top 5 - a feat even her brother never matched.
John Singleton's Poetic Justice is often touted as Janet's acting debut, but she was an old pro on small screen sitcoms long before that 1993 drama. Throughout the late '70s and early '80s, she played Penny Gordon on Good Times, JoJo Ashton on A New Kind of Family and Charlene Duprey, Willis' girlfriend, on Diff'rent Strokes.
In 1985, she reluctantly joined the cast of Fame as Cleo Hewitt. She told The Observer she only agreed to appear on the musical soap opera because her parents wanted her to, but she shared a different story with the Melody Maker in 1987: "I really enjoyed working in Fame. That was when I broke out. I really enjoyed being with the kids, they were a crazy bunch. That was the most interesting, but also the most difficult times of my life. I really got to see things, I was forced to see life in a very real way."
At halftime of the 2004 Super Bowl, Janet caused a stir at the end of the show when Justin Timberlake ripped off part of her costume, revealing her right breast on live TV. Jackson and Timberlake claimed it was a "Wardrobe Malfunction," but this explanation didn't go over well with the NFL, CBS, or the Federal Communications Commission. While Timberlake got off easy with a public apology, Jackson carried the brunt of the scandal: Her songs were banned from several radio stations and she was blacklisted on MTV (the network co-sponsored the halftime program and was hit with a fine after the nip slip).
"There were two of us there, but only one of us got the finger pointed," Janet told Grazia magazine in 2006. "Everything happens for a reason. I thought I was really strong to begin with, but it made me even stronger."
The key worn on Janet Jackson's ear on the cover of the Rhythm Nation 1814 album was a key to animal cages on the Jackson family's estate. Despite growing up in a house full of siblings, when Janet needed a shoulder to cry on, she visited her animals in the back yard. She told Melody Maker: "When I was younger, and I was depressed or wanted to cry, I used to go talk to the animals. They're good listeners, and I always felt they understood. And sometimes I still do that. I talk to my dog."
In 2008, she left Island Def Jam after just 14 months when the label failed to promote her Discipline
album beyond its lead single, "Feedback
." Her management released a statement saying she will "have autonomy over her career, without the restrictions of a label system.
Always known to break new ground and set trends, Janet's departure from Island made her one of the first superstar artists to have the individual freedom to promote their work through a variety of avenues such as iTunes, mobile carriers and other diverse and innovative channels."
In 1981, Michael Jackson refused to give direct interviews and insisted journalists ask their questions through 15-year-old Janet, who was still inexorably linked to her famous family.
Janet scarfed down Haagen-Dazs and pizza to pack on 60 pounds to play a waitress in the 2008 indie film Tennessee. Unfortunately, her recording schedule clashed with the filming schedule and she had to give the role up to Mariah Carey. It took four months of diet and exercise for the singer to lose the excess weight.
Janet still struggled to make her own choices while recording the Control album, even regarding something as trivial as bubblegum. She loved to chew it until one of the vice presidents of A&M records told her to stop "because it exercises your jaw muscles and makes them bigger and swell out."
Janet was never allowed to call her father, Joe Jackson, "Dad." She told Meredith Vieira what happened whenever she tried: "He said, 'I'm Joseph to you. You do not call me dad.'"
Tupac Shakur, and other actors from the movie Poetic Justice, claimed Janet made the rapper take an HIV test before she would kiss him. Director John Singleton said the story was a publicity stunt.
Janet's first kiss was with Ralph Carter, one of her Good Times co-stars. "I was 12 years old," she told Australia's TV Hits magazine, "and it was our last episode of Good Times. He wanted to say goodbye. So he called me in the room, and he gave me a kiss on the lips."
Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation tour featured a panther that roamed the stage during one of her many costume changes. However, the big cat's charms began to wane on the star after she returned to the stage one night and skipped over in a puddle of wee it had left behind. The panther was shown the door before the second half of the tour began.
Janet Jackson's nickname "Dunk" was coined by her brother Michael because of her chunky build as a child. He used to tease her and say that she "looked like a donkey."
She has an undying love for animals, especially horses. Jackson told Ebony that she learned how to ride horses at the age 5. As a child, her career ambition was to become a horse racing jockey.
Following her marriage to Qatar-born business magnate Wissam Al Mana in 2012, Janet Jackson adopted her other half's Muslim faith as her own. As a consequence, she cut out the raunchy dance moves and the songs containing sexual lyrics from her concerts.
Her albums The Velvet Rope and All For You were banned by the government of Singapore for sexual content and homosexual references.
Janet Jackson gave birth to her first child at the age of 50. The singer and her husband, Wissam Al Mana, welcomed their baby boy Eissa Al Mana on January 3, 2017.
As a teenager, Janet wanted to go to college and study business law. However, Joe Jackson told his daughter she was going to join the family business after finding a recording of her singing she'd done for fun in the Jackson home studio. "What parent doesn't want you to go to college?" she said on the documentary Janet. "But he said, 'No, you're gonna sing.' I would've liked to [have] experienced staying at a dorm, being around other kids. But I was very, very naive, very, very shy. Not worldly at all."
Janet and Justin were accused of planning the stunt. What most people don't realize is that stage outfits are not like regular clothing, they are meant to be easy to get out of while changing between songs.