When news broke this past weekend about Janet Jackson and husband Wissam Al Mana calling it quits, everyone was pretty shocked. The two had just welcomed their first child together, Eissa, a boy born in January. (They reportedly split right after Eissa was born.) Not only that, but they genuinely looked happy together, with Jackson telling Harper’s Bazaar Arabia that the couple have “a deep bond, a deep connection.” But in retrospect, we never really knew that much about the man. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Jackson’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Wissam Al Mana.
He Was Born in Qatar, Raised in London
The 42-year-old was born Wissam Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana in Doha, Qatar. However, he spent a large chunk of his life, his “developmental years,” in London. It was in the U.K. where his love of fashion came to be.
He’s the Executive Director of the Al Mana Group
Al Mana is the executive director of the Al Mana Group, which is a Qatari conglomerate that works with 55 companies in eight different countries. It does automotive distribution, food and beverage, real estate, media and entertainment, and retail that includes luxury goods, jewelry, beauty and home interiors. The Al Mana Group is the brainchild of the businessman’s late father. Al Mana talked to Entrepreneur about how important it was to him to continue his father’s legacy.
“My father passed away when I was quite young, and I felt that it was my duty to kind of pick up the flag and to continue the business, and try to continue the legacy and the family name,” he said. “It’s in our blood, we’re merchants. When I was a child, I looked at my father’s passport and his occupation said ‘Merchant.’ I asked my mom, and she explained that we are merchants. We take pride in that, it’s our heritage.”
He’s Reportedly Worth a Billion
A million is amazing, but a billion? Now that’s spectacular. According to The Richest, Al Mana is worth $1 billion thanks to the success of his family’s company, which operates in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia to Ireland and the U.K.
Al Mana Met Jackson at a Hotel
In case you were wondering how Jackson and Al Mana met, according to Us Weekly, it was at a hotel opening in Dubai in 2010. From there, the two started traveling together, including a snazzy getaway to Sardinia, and they eventually fell in love.
He Called Jackson His “Dream Woman”
In the same interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia where Jackson confirmed the “deep connection” the pair have, Al Mana also gushed over Jackson. In the magazine he said, “I’m fortunate enough to be dating my dream woman.”
He’s Very Private
Despite dating one of the most famous women from one of the most famous families, Al Mana said he likes to keep his private life on the low.
“I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have Twitter,” he told Entrepreneur. “I don’t have anything, because believe it or not I’m a very, very private person! I don’t even have WhatsApp! I don’t like to pry into people’s business.”
He’s a Fan of Traveling
“I spend time with my wife. It’s a luxury,” Al Mana told Entrepreneur about their relationship. “We love travelling… we love going to nice, exotic places far away from the world and from prying eyes.” The pair could often be seen jet setting from their stomping grounds in London to Milan, Paris, Dubai and more.
“No Sleeep” Was Dedicated to Him
When Jackson debuted her song “No Sleeep,” which went on to be a hit, on Twitter, she said the song was for Al Mana: “I dedicate this to My Love.”
He Does a Lot of Philanthropic Work
Al Mana has given time and resources to charities like UNICEF, SOS Children’s Village, Women’s Voices, the Hoping Foundation and Reach Out to Asia. On his website, he says about giving, “The journey to help those less fortunate than I am and to give in order to better the life of another are acts of humanity, compassion and generosity. The act of giving time, resources and a warm smile changes lives and I hope you can do the same.”
He Made a Public Declaration of Love to Jackson
During happier times, Al Mana put a very sweet message for Jackson on his website, thanking her for her “divine love.”
“To the most beautiful person in the world, thank you for your divine love, your eternal support and for being my best friend,” he wrote. “I love you so much, inshallah we will be together in the Great Forever x”
Images via Splash and WENN