Janet Jackson says her career was hurt by Michael Jackson molestation accusations: 'Guilty by association'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Janet Jackson is setting the record straight about her life and career in her upcoming Lifetime and A&E doc.

The new extended trailer for Janet sees the singing superstar, 55, discuss the molestation charges against her late brother Michael Jackson. Her infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction is also a topic — with Justin Timberlake reference — as is the long-running but denied rumor that she and first husband James DeBarge had a baby that she secretly gave up for adoption in the 1980s.

Janet is asked if the allegations against Michael hurt her career, she replied, "Yeah. Guilty by association — 'cause that's what they call it, right?"

Singer Michael Jackson (L) and sister Janet Jackson walk back to courthouse after greeting fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria, California August 16, 2004. Santa Barbara county district attorney Thomas Sneddon has been subpoenaed by Jackson's lawyers to testify during the pretrial hearing on the probe of Bradley Miller, a private investigator with ties to Jackson, whose office was searched by law enforcement officers in November 2003.  (Photo by Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Janet Jackson accompanying Michael Jackson to a 2004 pre-trial hearing in his child molestation case. (Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"Mike," as Janet calls him in the film, was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland Ranch in 2003. He was put on trial in 2005 — Janet supporting him by attending proceedings — and was acquitted of all charges. The King of Pop had previously been accused of sexual abuse in 1993, which he denied. He maintained his innocence until his 2009 death, after which two men who previously testified in his defense accused him of childhood sexual abuse, as detailed in the Leaving Neverland doc; their civil lawsuits were dismissed.

Jackson matriarch, Katherine, is also interviewed for the two-part Janet doc. She is asked how she feels about talking about Mike on camera and replies, while fighting back tears, "I can't."  

Another bit shows Janet being told that Timberlake and his team were trying to get in touch with her to join him for his 2018 Super Bowl half-time show. It didn't include her verbal reply, but the look she gave when the topic came up spoke volumes.

(Janet/Lifetime)
The doc includes video of Janet being told that Justin Timberlake wanted her to perfom with him at the 2018 Super Bowl half-time show. In 2004, she invited him as her guest when she was the halftime talent and they had an infamous wardrobe malfunction. (Photos: Janet/Lifetime)

Of course, Timberlake was Janet's guest when she headlined the show in 2004 — and he pulled off part of her costume exposing her nipple live on CBS. It had career ramifications for her, not so much for him, and Timberlake issued an apology to Jackson over it last year. 

Also sure to be a buzzy part of Janet is her addressing other personal matters — as she is notoriously private. One bit includes her speaking about the rumored "secret baby" it was claimed she had with James Debarge in the 1980s and supposedly gave up for adoption. 

Through the years, Debarge, his brother and mother fueled that rumor that Janet, on the heels of the Diff'rent Strokes era, had Debarge's child and gave it up. Janet had briefly been secretly married to Debarge at age 18 but the union was annulled months later. Janet has always maintained that there was no secret baby

(Janet/Lifetime)
The rumor that won't die — that Jackson had a "secret baby in the '80s" and gave it up for adoption— is addressed in the doc. (Photo: Janet/Lifetime)

Of course, she did become a mom for real in 2017 at age 50. Eissa, whom she shares with ex Wissam Al Mana, turned 5 this week.

The film, which was filmed over three years and uses never-before-seen archival video of the star, airs over two nights on Lifetime and A&E starting Friday, Jan. 28. It's timed to the 40th anniversary of Janet's first album, Janet Jackson, which was released in 1982.

It features interviews with some of Janet's exes, including Jermaine Dupri and Q-Tip. There is a lot of star power in general with famous friends Missy Elliott, Whoopi Goldberg, Mariah Carey, Ciara, Regina King, Janelle Monáe, Paula Abdul, Tyler Perry, Samuel L. Jackson and others all hyping the music icon in the trailer.

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