Janet Jackson’s relationship with her famous brother sounds… complicated.
In the previously released trailer for the new Janet Jackson docuseries on Lifetime, the youngest Jackson shared that Michael Jackson was one of the siblings she was “closest” to but also admitted that the allegations against him affected her career (“Guilty by association — guess that’s what they call it, right?”).
Ahead of the docuseries premiere, The Sun reports that the pop icon delves even further into her bond with her controversial older brother, and it’s not all sibling sweetness. Janet carries her own hurtful memories of the singer, remembering:
“There were times when Mike used to tease me and call me names. … ’Pig, horse, slaughter hog, cow.’ He would laugh about it and I’d laugh too, but then there was somewhere down inside that it would hurt. When you have somebody say you’re too heavy, it affects you.”
Sadly, the young actress’ body image issues were worsened by her budding Hollywood career (she observed in the doc that she “probably would have wound up not having a problem” if she hadn’t been in the public eye). She explained:
“I’m an emotional eater. So when I get stressed or something is really bothering me, it comforts me. I did Good Times and that’s the beginning of having weight issues and the way I looked at myself. I was developing at a very young age and I started getting a chest and they would bind it so I would look more flat-chested.”
Teasing from her sibling wasn’t the only issue the performer faced in her childhood home, however. The documentary also touched on her memories of her infamously volatile father (and manager), Joe Jackson. She shared:
“Growing up, I didn’t experience my father the way I wanted to. You never knew what mood he was in — whether he was in a playful mood. But the way he played wasn’t even funny. My father used to wake us up sometimes by putting matches between our toes and lighting them. He could be very mean at times.”
But as she grew up and built her own super successful career as an individual, she still struggled in MJ’s shadow — and as he rocketed to fame, their relationship fractured. She reminisced:
“It was Thriller, that’s when it all started to change. I remember really loving the Thriller album but for the first time in my life I felt it was different between us, a shift was happening. That’s the time Mike and I started going our separate ways. He just wasn’t as fun as he used to be.”
The documentary also addressed the sexual abuse allegations against the Billie Jean artist, with his sister noting that Michael settled a case with Jordan Chandler’s family out of court because he “just wanted it to go away.” In her opinion, the move just made him look guilty, and his crisis cost her a lucrative deal with Coca-Cola. She remarked:
“It was frustrating for me. We have our own separate lives and even though he’s my brother, that has nothing to do with me. But I wanted to be there for him, to support him as much as I possibly could.”
But when Janet joined him on his 1995 single Scream, she felt that she was being kept away from Michael, even after having his back. She said:
“It was his song and I was there to support him. Michael shot nights, I shot days. His record company would block off his set so I couldn’t see what was going on. They didn’t want me on set. I felt like they were trying to make it very competitive between the two of us. That really hurt me because I felt I was there fighting the fight with him, not to battle him. I wanted it to feel like old times between he and I, and it didn’t. Old times had long passed.”
She revealed that the Jacksons tried to stage an “intervention” at his Las Vegas home, per The Sun. They apparently proposed a Jackson 5 reunion, she dished:
“I said, ‘We wanted to talk about you guys going on tour again and if you guys would do that as brothers. I would be honored to open for you.’ He didn’t have much to say, he was standoffish. I was really upset. My family chartered a private jet and they came for an intervention. It was a way of us getting close again and he wasn’t having it.”
Wow. Family tensions are always difficult to navigate, but we can’t imagine what it was like within a turbulent, prominent family like the Jacksons. It’s fascinating to hear these stories straight from Janet herself. We’ll definitely be tuning in to the doc for more!
[Image via Lifetime/Michael Jackson/YouTube]