Janet Jackson has always tried to keep her personal life away from the public eye. And even though she’s close to her family, it seems she kept her marriage a secret from both her family and the public.
During a recent interview with Essence magazine, La Toya Jackson revealed that she and other members of her family learned of Janet’s marriage to Wissam Al Mana through the media.
“You know what? I didn’t know that Jan was married until I heard it in the media,” Jackson said during a luncheon to promote her new reality show.
She continued, “It’s true! Most of the family members—no one really knew. Not at all. You’d be surprised how you’d find out things in the media.”
So was La Toya bothered by not knowing Janet was married before the media? Even though she hasn’t met Al Mana, she isn’t upset she didn’t know before the public. “I know that in my family a lot of times you keep things private because you don’t want anybody to know,” she explained. “Nobody knew, really. I have not met him at all.”
Jackson says despite the family’s troubles with one another in the past, everything is fine.”It’ll be fine! When it’s there, it’s fine. I don’t know what it is, but everything’s fine!”
After more than 30 years in the industry, singer-songwriter Tito Jackson is finally releasing a solo album. Jackson has been hard at work in the studio working on the album, which will be called So Far So Good. He even enlisted the help of his sons Taj, Taryll and T.J. of the defunct boy band 3T. Tito recently sat down with UsMagazine to discuss everything from his solo career, The Jackson 5 era, Janet’s new beau and his brother Michael Jackson.
Read Tito’s interview with UsMagazine.com below.
UsMagazine.com: What inspired you to branch into a solo career?
Tito Jackson: I actually started a solo career back in the days of Motown, but it so happened that the brothers left the company at the time that I was in the middle of my project, so it was never released. I had three sons, so I had to stop and raise my boys. I just put my project on the back burner for a little while, or a long while I should say. I worked for my kids, raised my sons. But since everyone in my family has a solo career, I thought it was time for me to do something.
Us: How is this album different from what you produced with the Jackson Five? And what sets it apart from the work of your siblings?
TJ: I think what sets it apart is that it’s just me expressing my musical abilities, and what I feel and think musically. Instead of having four or five other brothers with their input, I’m able to totally express myself.
Us: Was it ever difficult to get the five of you to agree on the music you all produced?
TJ: Well, it’s a musical thing. It almost speaks for itself, especially when you’re speaking about musical disagreement. The music will speak for itself.
Us: Awesome. Are your sons on the album at all?
TJ: My sons have a huge involvement in the album. They helped produce and write some of the songs and sang in the background with me. They kept me really focused on the project. After my brother passed away, it was very difficult to get back into a musical groove. I had to take time to just mourn for a moment. I felt Michael wanted me to continue my music. He had heard the title track, and he liked it and praised it very much. I started back on it about four months ago, and now I’m going to complete it and get it out.
Us: Incredible. Are there any tributes to Michael on the album?
TJ: No, but I’m working on something. It’s actually still very hard for me to listen to his music. Although, I hear it all the time, to actually listen to some of his later music when he wasn’t a Jackson Five is difficult. I don’t instantly think about Michael Jackson the superstar, I think that my brother is not here.
Us: How is the whole family coping? Has it brought the family closer together?
TJ: It brought us closer as a family, and we are there for one another. I truly understand the meaning when they say, ‘You never get over it.’ You don’t.
Us: Do your children or grandchildren hang out with Michael’s children at all?
TJ: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, Blanket and my grandson are best friends. They’re close in age, so they play together. Prince is having fun and enjoying school and that whole thing. So is Paris.
Us: What about Janet? How is she handling everything? What do you think of her tour?
TJ: I haven’t seen Janet’s show yet, but I hear great things about it. I saw her last concert tour, and it was fabulous. She’s always excited me ever since she was just a little baby on stage with her brothers. I always enjoyed watching her.
Us: Do you think Janet will settle down and have a family with the new boyfriend?
TJ: Janet is a hard worker, and she’s always motivated by new ideas and building her career. Who knows? Maybe she’s at an age and time in her life where she might want to take a little slower place and maybe consider some of the things she hasn’t touched on in life. Maybe a family. Maybe marriage. You never know.She’s been married before, but maybe a family this time. We’ll see.
Us: You’ve kind of developed a reputation as the Jackson who wears the hat. How many hats do you have if you had to guess?
TJ: How many hats? Wow. Quite a few. At least 50.
Us: Do you have a personal favorite?
TJ: I like my Beaver Boat bowler.
Us: I read that Michael said you were the calm one that kept everyone grounded in the group. What was it like playing that role in the family?
TJ: It’s just the way that I’ve always been. I tell it like it is, but I don’t voice my opinion unless it’s asked for. I keep my thoughts to myself, and I think that’s one of the best ways to be. With brothers you become friends. Some you hang out with more than others. You talk to one about the other a little more. You get mad at them. Then, you love them. Then, you apologize. You have to apologize whether you want to or not. You have to. That’s your brother.
Us: Who was buddied up in the Jackson Five?
TJ: There were two groups. Michael, Marlon and Randy were a group. And then Jackie, Jermaine, and I were the other group.
Us: Once the album comes out, will you be going on tour?
TJ: Yes, I plan to do various dates over the course of the year including a radio tour as well.
Us: Will your family be touring with you at all?
TJ: I’m pretty sure my mom will always come in and check on us and visit to make sure everything is okay. She makes sure we’re behaving.
Us: What about your dad?
TJ: Joe Jackson is a great man. The problem that people have with my father is that he tells it like it is. He’s just straight up and doesn’t beat around the bush. Tough love. If he likes you, he’ll let you know that. If he doesn’t like you, he’s going to let you know that, too.
Us: And what about Mike’s kids? Will you be taking them on tour at all?
TJ: If they want to come out and hang out with Uncle Tito, that’s always welcome. I’m going to be taking them fishing this summer. I’m going to hang out with them a little bit when I get a chance.
Us: That’s great. And how are they? This must be so hard for them. How are they coping?
TJ: Well, they’re children and they have a way of not being okay, but being okay. They miss their pops dearly, but they are continuing to be children and do all the things that children do. They go to Disneyland and go to the movies and the park, things children do.
Tito’s first single, “We Made It,” is currently available on iTunes and wherever music is sold.
LaToya Jackson was heavily criticized on the latest episode of Celebrity Apprentice. Although she tried to defend herself, it ell on deaf ears. Jackson sat down for a Q&A inteview with BET.com about Celebrity Apprentice, Star Jones and her brother Michael. Read the interview below.
Is the Celebrity Apprentice as vicious as it seems on television?
I have to be honest with you. What you’re getting is what’s really happening and what’s taking place. What you see is what you truly get. There is a lot left out as well—it’s even more intense than what you are seeing.
Did you have any hesitation about doing the show?
When I was approached in the beginning, I was a bit hesitant. After a while I decided this would be good because it will add awareness to the charity I’m working with.
Tell us about your charity, AIDS Project Los Angeles.
AIDS Project Los Angeles is a charity that my brother Michael was involved in. He is in the Guinness Book of World records for giving to the most charities in the entire world. He had donated $400 million of his own personal money to charity. I decided to move forward and try to help those charities that he was involved with. By AIDS Project Los Angeles being right here in my backyard, I decided to cling to them more. I’ve been working with them ever since Michael passed.
Allegedly, Nene and Star have reconciled. Do you think you’d ever invite Star Jones to the Jackson family house for dinner?
Absolutely not! My family doesn’t need to be around anything of that nature.
You said in a recent interview that we are going to see the Joe Jackson come out of you during Celebrity Apprentice. How do you think Joe Jackson would react to Star Jones?
He would immediately shut her down and put her in her place. I put as much Joe Jackson as I could in there, but it’s the strength that he has and how he protects his children. People don’t understand that and they take it the wrong way. That’s why we are where we are today—because of my father.
Who is the next Jackson that would be good for Celebrity Apprentice?
My brother Jermaine. It’s something that he would like to do. The Jacksons, as you all know, we’re all shy and very quiet and reserved people. I think Jermaine would just settle in there and it would bring a lot out of him.
We interviewed RuPaul a couple months ago, and he said this about you, “She’s always been my favorite Jackson because she has made her mistakes and worn them on the outside. I think people who have made mistakes, who have bumped their head, are the most interesting.” What’s your reaction to that comment from RuPaul?
That’s very kind of RuPaul, I appreciate that. I love RuPaul, he’s a wonderful person. This is what life is about, walking the path and making mistakes. No one is perfect. We’re thrown into this world, there’s no guidebook for it. You just figure out the best way you can. You learn and you move forward.
Of course, you know the BET audience loves Michael Jackson. Can you share with us a special moment you had with your brother?
Michael and I would go for drives all the time. One day, Bubbles came with us. He put Bubbles on his lap and let Bubbles do the driving. I said, “You’re going to wreck us!” [Laughs] He says, “No, I’m controlling him.” Bubbles was just driving away. I think it’s hilarious when I look back on that … I want to thank everybody who really stood by my brother and supported him. They knew what we had lost—a legend, especially when it came to the music industry. We were so grateful for the public. All of the fans who are supportive, it’s wonderful to see that. It lets you know there is a lot of love out there.
When you get to heaven, what is the DJ playing?
I love that question! I think he’s probably rejoicing. Maybe “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.