Janet Jackson is addressing a rumor regarding her first marriage in 1984 to James DeBarge in her upcoming Lifetime documentary which will air on Jan. 28 and 29. According to a clip, the "Rhythm Nation" singer tells her fans she never secretly had a child with her first husband.
"I could never keep a child away from James. How could I keep a child from their father? I could never do that. That's not right," Jackson said, per Page Six. "A lot of the kids thought I was pregnant 'cause I had gained weight and I had started taking birth control pills."
She continued, "and back then, you could pick up weight taking them, and that's what happened to me, so that rumor started going around."
Debbie Allen, who starred alongside Jackson on NBC's "Fame" during the height of the rumors, corroborated the story. "These were rumors that were just flying around, honey, like hash in a diner," Allen says in the clip. "Where was the baby? Nobody saw a baby. I mean, she was there with us all day, every day. Where was the baby?"
The gossip became so pervasive, she says people began to gossip that one of her nieces was actually her hidden child. "First they were saying my niece Brandi was my daughter and that I gave her to [my brother] Jackie to raise," she remembered. "And then because [my brother] Randy's daughter looks so much like me, they started saying it was Stevanna."
Jackson eventually welcomed a child in January of 2017, son Eissa, whom she shares with her estranged husband billionaire Wissam Al Mana. The parents decided to separate three months later.
Jackson married DeBarge when she was just 18 years old, a move she chalks up to her being young and "incredibly innocent." Their union wasn't long due to various issues including DeBarge's drug addiction. Their marriage was annulled after only a year. "When we got married and came back to the hotel he said, 'OK, I'll be right back,'" she shared in the documentary of their wedding night, according to PEOPLE. "And I'm sitting in the hotel room in Grand Rapids, Michigan by myself, just 18, and for three hours, he never came back. I don't know, maybe it's this person in me that wants to help people subconsciously. When it comes to relationships, somehow I'm attracted to people that use drugs."
"We would be rolling on the floor fighting for them. And that's not a life for anyone," she continued. "I sit and I say, 'Were you stupid, were you dumb?' But it wasn't that. I cared so much for him, and I saw the good in him as well and I just wanted that to take precedence as opposed to this ugliness. 'Cause I knew that he needed help. But I wasn't the help that he needed."