Janet Jackson addresses decades-long rumour she secretly gave birth in the 80s
"How could I keep a child from their father?"
Janet Jackson has addressed a long-standing rumour that she secretly had a baby in the 1980s.
In a documentary for New Lifetime, the 55-year-old singer denied the "crazy" conspiracy, insisting she "could never" have kept such a huge secret from her then-husband James DeBarge – who has previously stated he believes the claims to be true.
In the TV special, Janet revealed the theory initially came to her attention in 1984 while she was starring on NBC’s Fame.
She had been playing the role of Cleo Hewitt on Season 4 of the show when she started to gain weight, fuelling rumours she was expecting.
"A lot of the kids thought I was pregnant ’cause I had gained weight and I had started taking birth control pills," the 'All For You' singer explained.
“And back then, you could pick up weight taking them, and that’s what happened to me, so that rumour started going around.”
But the rumour grew more "ridiculous" when fans and even Janet's co-stars on set became convinced she had given birth to a baby girl and handed her over to family.
“First they were saying my niece Brandi was my daughter and that I gave her to my brother Jackie to raise,” the hitmaker said. “And then because my brother Randy’s daughter looks so much like me, they started saying it was Stevanna.”
The rumours suggested she had given her baby to her brother to raise in a bid to hide her huge secret from James, who she was married to for just one year after tying the knot in September 1984.
"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," she insisted in the documentary.
James himself previously weighed in, making headlines when he declared he believed the rumours to be true in 2016.
“I was under the impression that there was no baby, and I wanted to believe it’s not true. But it is,” he told his daughter Kristinia DeBarge on an episode of Growing Up Hip Hop.
Though Janet still denies having had a secret child in the 80s, she became a mother in 2017 when she and her fifth husband, billionaire businessman Wissam Al Mana, welcomed their son Eissa.