Over the years, the press focused most of its attention on the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and essentially ignored the rest of the Jackson family. This was a huge mistake because the other Jacksons’ lives were full of drama and controversy, ripe for the picking. Here’s just a sampling of the issues that went down with one of the most dysfunctional families to ever coexist in the music business.
Tito may have an illegitimate daughter
Ever heard of Tanay Jackson? Well, she’s doing her best to make sure you have by claiming she’s the daughter of Michael’s older brother, Tito Jackson. Tanay, who bills herself as a singer, songwriter, model and fashion designer, claims to be Tito’s illegitimate daughter and Michael’s niece. Meanwhile, the Jackson family says she’s just trying to use its name to make herself famous.
According to Radar Online, Tanay insists she has documentation to prove her lineage—a birth certificate with Tito’s name on it—but she refuses to show it, feeling she shouldn’t have to “justify her DNA.” She has, however, provided photos of the two together, which Radar Online released. Is there a family resemblance? You be the judge.
Jermaine was obsessed with Michael
It’s probably not too surprising to learn that Jermaine Jackson was jealous of his infinitely more famous and younger brother, Michael (and honestly, who wouldn’t be?). But Jermaine’s jealousy probably goes beyond normal. Family friend Stacy Brown, who also happens to write for the New York Post, said Jermaine ranted about Michael on an almost daily basis, feeling he should have been the one to become rich and famous. He was quoted saying, “That should have been me” many, many times.
Despite the supposed sour grapes, Jermaine defended Michael in public and on talk shows. “All the while was the subtext—it should have been me,” Brown wrote.
Jermaine allegedly had an affair with Whitney Houston
Following Michael’s death in 2009, Jermaine received a lot of comfort from pop star Whitney Houston. This wasn’t a big surprise to most—it was well-known the two had a long friendship and working relationship, and they obviously shared a love for Michael. Jermaine even mentioned their friendship in his 2011 book, You are Not Alone: Michael Through a Brother’s Eyes, according to the Daily Mail. However, following Houston’s death in 2012, the story started to change.
A source told London’s The Sun that Jermaine left details out of his book to make it look like the two were just friends. However, the insider claimed Jermaine and Houston actually had a year-long affair which began in 1984 and ended only after Jermaine refused to leave his then-wife, Hazel Gordy. The source even alleged Houston’s 1985 song, “Saving All My Love for You” was based on the affair. Since the story broke after her passing, Houston never had a chance to refute the rumors, and Jermaine has been tight-lipped about the topic. His sister, La Toya Jackson, on the other hand, confirmed the affair on The Talk, according to E! Online.
Janet may have a secret love child
Not even Janet Jackson, the most squeaky clean of the Jacksons, is without scandal, and we’re not talking about the 2004 wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl. It seems Janet may have mothered a child with her first husband, James DeBarge, of the sibling music group DeBarge. Rumor has it they sent the little girl, Renee, to live with Janet’s sister, Rebbie, according to an interview James’ younger brother, Young DeBarge, had with Hot 97 (via CBS News). Janet and Rebbie’s marriage happened when she was just 18 and lasted less than three months.
According to People, Renee is not Janet’s child. The magazine said the child was born in 1986 or 1987, long after her marriage with Rebbie was annulled. Janet has reportedly not commented on the child’s parentage.
The family nanny says she pumped Michael’s stomach
In the wake of Michael’s death, his children’s nanny lifted the lid on his supposed drug abuse in the months leading up to his demise. Grace Rwaramba told reporters in the UK that she “had to pump his stomach many times. He always mixed so much of it. There was one period that it was so bad that I didn’t let the children see him…He always ate too little and mixed too much.” Rwaramba claims she informed both Michael’s mother and his sister Janet about the troubling behavior, but Michael then accused her of betraying him and fired her.