June 02, 1998 12:00 AM

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, 59, delivered a bombshell on Thursday, when he revealed in a statement released by his publicist that he had an extramarital affair that resulted in the birth of a daughter, now 20 months old. “I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions,” said Rev. Jackson, who added that he has provided “emotional and financial support” to the child since her birth. “As her mother does, I love this child very much.” He declined to identify the mother, and said that he intended to spend some private time with his family before he returns to his ministry (at some unspecified future time, his publicist, John Scanlon, told the As sociated Press). Jackson has been married for 38 years. “My wife, Jackie, and my children have been made aware of the child, and it has been an extremely painful, trying and difficult time for them,” Jackson said.

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