Janet Jackson Shuts Down Rumors of a Secret Baby with Ex James DeBarge: 'That's Not Right'

Janet, the two-night documentary event on the singer's life, will premiere Friday on Lifetime and A&E

Janet Jackson is shutting down long-standing rumors that she and first husband James DeBarge welcomed a secret child during their year-long marriage.

Jackson, 55, addressed the rumors in part two of the upcoming Lifetime and A&E documentary Janet, dispelling various claims that alleged the "secret baby" was raised by her sister, Rebbie, or brother Jackie.

"Back in the day they were saying that I had a child and I kept it secret," Jackson said. "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."

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The "Rhythm Nation" singer rattled off a laundry list of things she'd heard about herself over the years, including that her niece Brandy was actually her daughter, that she gave her "child" to brother Jackie to raise, and that brother Randy's daughter Stevanna was actually her daughter because they looked so much alike.

Jackson also hinted at where the rumors may have began, and said that while she was filming the show Fame, she started taking birth control pills, which caused her to gain weight.

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson and James DeBarge. Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

"A lot of the kids thought I was pregnant, 'cause I had gained weight, and I had started taking birth control pills," she said. "And back then, you could pick up weight taking them, and that's what happened to me. So that rumor started going around."

The five-time Grammy winner — who eventually welcomed son Eissa in 2017 — married DeBarge, now 58, in 1984, when she was just 18.

Though she described him as "a sweet guy," Jackson revealed that it was his frequent drug use that caused their marriage to crumble after just one year.

"When we got married and came back to the hotel he said, 'OK, I'll be right back,'" she recalled of their wedding night. "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."

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson in Janet. A&E

Jackson said she spent many a night searching the streets for DeBarge, and would try and flush his pills down the toilet.

"We would be rolling on the floor fighting for them. And that's not a life for anyone," she said. "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."

Their year-long union was eventually annulled.

"I was just incredibly innocent," Jackson said in the documentary of their time together. "That's the thing, is the innocence. And it's just hurtful for someone to see that and just try to take advantage of it… It's still painful."

Janet, a two-night documentary event, will premiere Friday at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime and A&E.

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