Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while her brothers and father lived an extravagant life in Los Angeles. She later moved in with them while her brothers were making a name for themselves, and signed a deal with Motown. Janet was in the shadow but later also made a name for herself.
As she was touring, and making appearances with her brothers, and the rest of the family, she co-starred with the rest of them in “The Jacksons”. In 1977, she got the part of Penny Gordon on “Good Times”. That showed her acting abilities early on. She also made a few memorable appearances on the hit TV show “Diff’rent Strokes” as Charlene Dupree. Soon afterwards came her role on “Fame”.
She married boyfriend James Debarge, but they divorced just months later. She signed with A&M Records, and recorded her first solo album titled “Janet Jackson”. The album did poorly on the music charts. Two years later she recorded “Dream Street” which turned out to be another disaster. A year later she signed on Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to record a third album, this time called “Control”. It was a hit, selling 5 million copies in the U.S. alone, spawning six hits, and the #1 “When I Think of You”. Afterwards, she fired her father, her manager to truly gain control.
Janet was determined to make this happen again. She then recorded “Rhythm Nation 1814”. This time it sold 9 million copies in the U.S. – a bigger hit than “Control”! She happened to fall in love with a dancer named René Elizondo, Jr. from one of her sister’s, LaToya Jackson’s music video and later secretly married him in March of 1991. That same year she got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Janet went to work on her fifth album simply called “Janet.”. It was her biggest hit to date selling over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone and includes her biggest hit single to date, “That’s The Way Love Goes”. Two years later she released a Greatest Hits album “Design of a Decade” which included two new hits “Runaway”, and “Twenty-Foreplay”. Her seventh album “The Velvet Rope” clarified her pop culture status.
In the midst of the release of The Velvet Rope, she divorced Rene Elizendo, which is when it emerged they had been secretly married for eight years. Janet recorded her eighth album “All For You”. Another hit. She was honored by MTV as an MTV Icon. In 2004, Janet went to work on her next album “Damita Jo” – it was another hit.
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