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janet jackson debarge

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Janet Jackson is speaking out on a lot of things she’s never shed light on before.

For decades, many fans wondered about the details of Jackson’s first marriage — a very short-lived one — to fellow singer James Debarge. Jackson wed “The Rhythm of the Night” singer when she was just 18 years old back in 1984. Even though the union was annulled in 1985, people have speculated that the two had a secret child that Jackson kept hidden for decades. Some even speculated that one of the other Jacksons, possibly the Control singer’s sister Rebbie or brother Jackie raised her alleged child.

Addressing the long-standing rumor in part two of her soon-to-air documentary, Jackson dispelled the claim that she and DeBarge had a child in the 80s, let alone that she would have hidden that from him.

“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,” said Jackson, who’s now the mother of a five-year-old son

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

The Rhythm Nation singer described DeBarge as “a sweet guy,” but someone who suffered from drug addiction — which led to their marriage’s annulment. While the two were in love, Jackson said she also saw getting married as the only way she could get her “own life” at that time.

In addition to sharing that DeBarge left her “sitting in [a] hotel room in Grand Rapids, Michigan” alone on their wedding night, Jackson added: “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.”

The legendary performer shared that she spent many nights and early mornings searching for DeBarge on streets.

“I remember times when I would find the pills and I would take them and try to flush them down the toilet. And we would be rolling on the floor fighting for them. And that’s not a life for anyone,” Jackson 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.”

“I was just incredibly innocent,” Jackson said of her marriage with DeBarge overall. “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, the two-part, four-hour-long documentary airs on Jan. 28 and 29 on Lifetime and A&E at 8 p.m. EST.

RELATED CONTENT: “Janet Jackson Reveals Michael Jackson Bullied And Body-Shamed Her As A Child”

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