Janet Jackson denies rumours that she had a secret baby in the 1980s

27 January 2022, 10:08 | Updated: 27 January 2022, 10:37

By Mayer Nissim

It's been rumoured that Janet Jackson somehow hid a secret pregnancy and a whole actual baby.

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Pop stars are often the subject of rumours and conspiracy theories, and the bigger the star, the bigger the conspiracies.

So maybe it's not a massive surprise that some people believe Janet Jackson had a secret child with her then-partner James DeBarge in the early 1980s.

DeBarge himself stoked the rumours with some comments a few years back, Jackson has finally put the story to bed in a new two-part A&E and Lifetime documentary Janet, which airs in the US this week.

The story goes that Janet became pregnant around the time she was starring as Cleo Hewitt in season four of NBC's Fame, in 1984.

"A lot of the kids thought I was pregnant because I had gained weight and I had started taking birth control pills," Page Six reports her as saying.

“And back then, you could pick up weight taking them, and that's what happened to me, so that rumour started going around."

She adds: "First they were saying my niece Brandi was my daughter and that I gave her to [my brother] Jackie to raise.

"And then because [my brother] Randy's daughter looks so much like me, they started saying it was Stevanna.

"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."

Jackson's Fame co-star Debbie Allen backs her up, saying: "These were rumors that were just flying around, honey, like hash in a diner.

Where was the baby? Nobody saw a baby. I mean, she was there with us all day, every day. Where was the baby?"

Janet Jackson and James DeBarge
Janet Jackson and James DeBarge. Picture: Alamy

As well as shooting Fame, during 1984 Janet was also recording her second album Dream Street, a slow burner that went on to sell over 250,000 copies in the US.

Jackson and DeBarge eloped in late 1984, when she was 18 and he was 21, but their marriage was annulled around eight months later.

Janet did eventually become a mum, giving birth to a son Eissa in January 2017, shortly before her split from businessman husband Wissam Al Mana.