In April 2017, when Janet Jackson announced her sudden split from her billionaire husband, Wissam Al Mana, it sent shock waves through millions of her fans. After two failed attempts at nuptial bliss, fans and followers were cocksure this would be the singer’s final ‘bus stop.’ Hopes about Janet Jackson’s long-held desire to start a family were further raised after the birth of her first and perhaps, only son Eissa Al Mana. But the promising union ran aground over a plethora of issues that remain a center of debate to this day. But before this, two other marriages did not work out for the singer.
How It All Started with James DeBarge
It was in 1984 that Janet Damita Jo Jackson started gaining ground in the American music space. Thanks to her supportive family of musical legends, the Indiana-born singer had landed a record deal with A&M records. She released her eponymous debut album that year, and two years later, she released a follow-up album Dream Street. To chart her course, Janet Jackson embarked on a solo career. She then released her third studio album Control in 1986. Control took control of the charts, peaking atop the Billboard 200. It also sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and was certified platinum five times by the RIAA.
Her subsequent albums made Control’s success look like a child’s play. Her songs set award-winning records and produced multiple chart-topping singles. While the world sang her praises, the teenage Janet Jackson was undergoing a silent, romantic revolution in her personal life. She had been shot in the heart by the proverbial cupid, and the ensuing decisions would prove just how love-struck she’d been.
By September of that year, 1984, eighteen-year-old Janet Jackson eloped and married her lover, fellow singer James DeBarge. Debarge was a member of the eponymous family singing group. This move would prove fatal for the two lovers as Jackson’s family disapproved of their union. The result would be Janet Jackson pushing for an annulment of the marriage by November of the following year, 1985. But there was more to come.
Her Second Marital Stint with Rene Elizondo
Now single again, Janet Jackson poured her soul into her music career once more. This time, it led to the release of her fourth album, Rhythm Nation 1814, in September of 1989. The album would make Jackson a voice portraying the dismal realities of her day, from natural disasters to soaring crime rates. Rhythm Nation 1814 became an overnight sensation. It peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard 200, sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, and was certified sixfold platinum by the RIAA.
Amid her successes, another love tango brewed. This time, with no other than her director, Rene Elizondo Jr. However, for reasons best known to the couple, the union remained a metal-lidded secret for close to a decade; only coming into the limelight when it hit the rocks in May 2000. Elizondo allegedly filed a lawsuit against Jackson. The suit would see him walk away with money between $10 and $25 million in a settlement.
However, as of 2003, there was no settlement yet. By the time they separated in 1999, they had been together for about ten years. Though the reason for their split remains buried in stories from infidelity to the much-quoted “irreconcilable differences,” the true motivations are yet to be revealed.
How She Fared With Jermaine Dupri for Eight Years
Two years after her split from Elizondo, Jackson found love once more. This time, in the American Rapper and songwriter, Jermaine Dupri. Although they never got married, their relationship lasted for eight straight years. Eventually, ending in 2009.
During their time together, the two attended several events arm in arm, shared passionate romance on stage and in public, and also collaborated on various musical projects. Dupri helped produce many of Jackson’s music videos at the time. On her part, Janet Jackson minced no words gushing about her deep love for Dupri. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said Dupri made her feel comfortable at a time when she doubted her body image.
Long after their much disappointing split, Dupri finally opened up about the reason they went their separate ways. In his words, the distance was the problem. Although they shared a passionate relationship for eight years, they never lived with each other.
For some reason, neither of both parties was willing to move to the other’s home city. At the time, Dupri lived in his hometown, Atlanta, while Jackson flourished in Malibu, California. Though they often visited each other, when marriage talk came up, neither was willing to shift base. Hence, the split.
Janet Jackson’s Love-Ride to Qatar
In 2012, two years after meeting Qatari business magnate, Wissam Al Mana, at a hotel opening ceremony in Dubai, Janet Jackson got married to him. Theirs was a pretty high-profile relationship that suddenly popped Al Mana into the showbiz world and Jackson into the Arab world. However, after five years together, Jackson and Al Mana went their separate ways in April 2017. But before that, their marriage had produced Jackson’s first son, Eissa Al Mana.
In May 2016, news broke that Janet Jackson was pregnant with their first child. On January 3, 2017, at nearly fifty, the R&B queen became a mother of one. Three months later, Janet Jackson split from her husband, Wissam Al Mana.
The reason for their split has ranged from everything but infidelity. In early 2020, legal proceedings revealed so many details ranging from accusations of over-controlling behavior to verbal abuse. According to the prenups, Jackson is now entitled to $200 million upon divorce. $100 million stands, if they have been married for at least five years, and another $100 million stands under the condition of them having a child together.
Although the whole divorce saga seems to be a money drag, it is far from it. According to Janet Jackson’s brother, Randy Jackson, the split has strong links to Al Mana’s controlling and abusive behavior. There are also talks about Al Mana preventing Jackson’s parents from seeing Eissa, her acclaimed only child. On Eissa Al Mana being her only child, there have been controversial developments that bring that claim into question.
Is Eissa Al Mana Her Only Child?
While the public only knows Eissa Al Mana, news sprang from unexpected quarters in 2017 about a secret child Janet Jackson had with James DeBarge. The alleged daughter, a woman from Philadelphia called Tiffany Whyte, sought to break the silence on her hidden identity. DeBarge had at some point in 2016 revealed that he and Janet are Tiffany’s parents. Though their marriage only lasted a year, it was long enough to give them a child. A child which, as it turns out, Janet Jackson’s family had kept from the public eye all these years.
The much-heated controversy reached the tail end in March 2017 when paternity results revealed that James DeBarge could not have been Tiffany’s father. The report read that there were zero chances that Tiffany had been born by Janet Jackson. While the DNA results should’ve drawn the curtain on this issue, it further raised suspicions about a cover-up. In a 2012 prison letter, DeBarge had reportedly told the late Michael Jackson’s death doctor, Conrad Murray, that the love child he had with Janet Jackson is still out there and alive.