A Timeline Of Janet Jackson's Love Life

Despite being born into one of the most famous families in the world, Janet Jackson has still managed to shine all by herself. With five Grammy Awards, 11 American Music Awards, seven No. 1 albums on the US Billboard 200, ten No. 1 singles on the Hot 100, and over 77.1 million sales from her studio albums alone, it's safe to say that Janet is not just the younger sibling to Michael Jackson.

Being the high-profile star that she is, Janet has done a pretty good job of maintaining a private life, especially when it comes to relationships. Throughout her long career, the "What Have You Done for Me Lately" hitmaker has found herself tying the knot three times and starting a family of her own. Along the way, there have been rumored romances, some of which have been squashed. For example, during an appearance on People's "People in the '90s" podcast in 2021, Bill Bellamy got into whether or not he actually dated Janet back in the 1990s. "There was an attraction, I'll be honest with you," he admitted. "There was something going on. It was weird because it was like she was shy about it but [showed in] her flirty ways that she dug me more than just a little." That said, the two "never dated" but "just skirted around it."

While she and Bellamy might've been, as he put it, "like cats that just purred around each other," the pop superstar has been in some noteworthy relationships. Let's get into the timeline of Janet Jackson's actual love life.

An old picture of Janet Jackson and Magic Johnson raised some questions

Before Janet Jackson became a household name and took "Control" of her career, she attended the 1983 American Music Awards in Los Angeles and was photographed with a high-profile basketball player. Even though the powerhouse entertainer has never spoken about dating or being in a relationship with Magic Johnson, photos that surfaced from the same night may say otherwise.

As previously reported by All About Laughs, a photograph of the duo from the 1983 AMAs made the rounds on the internet in 2020. As seen on Awesomeo, a couple of black-and-white snapshots were taken of the pair from the event. In one pic, Johnson was seen wrapping his arms around Jackson while in the other, they were seen locking lips. At the time, Jackson was only 16 years old while Johnson was 24, which raised some concerns. Prior to these images leaking, neither had ever talked about being an item and may have just been good friends with one another. Jackson and Johnson did not address the situation after the pictures bubbled back up decades later either.

Janet Jackson eloped with James DeBarge early in her career

While we may never know if Janet Jackson and Magic Johnson hit things off, we are certainly aware of her relationship with '80s singer James DeBarge, who was a member of his family group DeBarge and known for their huge hit "Rhythm of the Night." According to the Mirror, Janet was only 18 years old when she tied the knot with James, who was three years her senior. The pair eloped on September 7, 1984. At this point in her career, Janet was most known for being an actor in "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes" rather than being a singing sensation.

As noted in her BBC "Taking Control" documentary, it was said that Janet saw that marriage as a way of escaping her father, Joe Jackson, who was her controlling manager at the time. Unsurprisingly, he was not happy about his daughter's marriage and did all he could to put a stop to it. However, their union wasn't meant to be as it went sour pretty quickly. 

James DeBarge and Janet Jackson's marriage didn't last long

Janet Jackson's marriage to fellow singer James DeBarge didn't go as planned as Janet soon discovered he was battling drug addiction. According to the "Taking Control" documentary, the "Miss You Much" chart-topper found herself in a trying position as his caretaker and would "get called out to pick him up or find him." Janet may have wished for a fairytale marriage, but that wasn't the case once the pair tied the knot.

As the Mirror recounted, Janet's father, Joe Jackson, had their marriage annulled in 1985. Their love affair was over pretty soon after eloping and they went their separate ways once the divorce was finalized.

In the years following their split, a rumor suggesting Janet and DeBarge had a secret child made waves. As recently as 2016, DeBarge said on "Growing Up Hip Hop" (via ET) that he believed the story was true; a Jackson family source told HipHollywood DeBarge's remarks were "a publicity stunt because it's just not true." The "What Have You Done For Me Lately" singer has also denied the rumor. As she told Vibe in 2001, "They say the kid's in Europe or that one of my brothers or sisters is raising it. But no, I've never had a child." 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Janet Jackson was secretly married to René Elizondo for nine years

Throughout the majority of the 1990s, Janet Jackson was open about being in a relationship with Mexican dancer, songwriter, and director René Elizondo. Aside from their romance, the pair had also worked alongside one another as Elizondo had directed two of Jackson's videos during their time together: "That's The Way Love Goes" and "Again."

While the couple was open about being with one another, they kept their marriage a secret the whole time. Per E! News, it was announced they walked down the aisle at a private ceremony at their Southern California home in March 1991. The two were together for 13 years and married for nine of those years before calling it quits in 2000. "We simply grew apart," Elizondo shared with E! News. "We became more business and creative partners than actual lovers. We've been in negotiations for the past four to six months, and we decided to file for divorce and get this over with."

In 2000, Jackson told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she let very few friends and family members in on the wedding — only ones she believed "can keep a secret."

Janet Jackson met Jermaine Dupri backstage at her concert

After Janet Jackson's first two marriages didn't go according to plan, she found love in hit producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri in 2001. During an appearance on T.I.'s podcast, "expediTIously," Dupri revealed they first crossed paths backstage at one of her shows. He admitted that he wasn't as famous at the time and was only really known for producing, therefore he wasn't exactly on Jackson and her team's radar. However, things soon changed when Jackson saw Dupri "doing other projects" later on. The pair struck up a friendship and Dupri ended up eyeing the superstar as a potential partner.

"So we became friends. I guess you wanna call it, I took my shot," Dupri recalled to T.I. The two eventually connected, all thanks to two-way pager technology and a stylist they both knew. "I got her address from my stylist and I sent her the two-way," he said. "I'm thinking like, I'm gonna get the number and you gon' hit me back ... She hit me back! It was like, at that point, let's hang out, let's kick it."

Jermaine Dupri exposed Janet Jackson to many things she hadn't experienced before

It comes as no surprise that Janet Jackson is a well-traveled woman. After all, she has embarked on numerous world tours and promoted her music and films in various countries. However, there was still a lot the "When I Think Of You" hitmaker had not experienced before she got together with Jermaine Dupri. As he said on "expediTIously," he brought her out of what T.I. referred to as "the bubble of the Jacksons."

"I took her to Magic City. I exposed her to a lot of life that I didn't even know I could expose a person to," Dupri recounted. "You think when a person is that famous, that rich, they know everything. They've seen everything. But it was a lot of world that we was living in here, cultural wise, that they hadn't gotten in L.A. That's where we basically started hitting it off. We were showing each other multiple things ... It was two cool people exchanging energy."

Jermaine Dupri felt marriage wasn't for him

After clicking in the early '00s, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri were no longer by 2008. After seven years of dating, Dupri explained to T.I. on the "expediTIously" podcast that he realized that marriage wasn't for him. "I started seeing so many other things that I wanted to do, and so many other places that I wanted to go. I started thinking marriage for me wasn't gonna work," he stated. "Just something about it. When you feel like you're ready to get married, you don't have no answers, you just know what it is."

Dupri explained that he already felt like he was married to Jackson. However, despite their long relationship, the pair never lived under the same roof. "I feel like that's a part where you really determine if you're strong," he said. "She wasn't willing to move to Atlanta. She was willing to come out here for a couple of weeks. But living in Atlanta, for her, just didn't really seem like L.A. I wasn't ready to move to Malibu ... I like it, I f**k with it. But it ain't... It's just something about being here ... That stuff didn't feel like the space where either one of us wanted to be."

During their romance, Jackson and Dupri also worked closely with one another. In 2006, Dupri produced the majority of her Grammy Award-nominated album "20 Y.O."

Janet Jackson quietly married Wissam Al Mana

Two years after splitting from Jermaine Dupri, Janet Jackson met businessman Wissam Al Mana in April 2010 at a hotel opening in Dubai, according to E! News. As the months continued, they were both spotted making public appearances together and formed a relationship. In an October 2010 interview with VMAN magazine (via Yahoo!), Al Mana stated "I don't date Janet Jackson. She is my girlfriend; there is a difference. She is a very special and talented woman who never ceases to amaze me."

Two years after meeting, Jackson and Al Mana secretly got married without anyone knowing. After a number of rumors, they set the record straight via Jackson's website. "The rumors regarding an extravagant wedding are simply not true," they shared in a joint statement, per E! News. "Last year we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony."

"Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favorite children's charities," they continued. "We would appreciate that our privacy is respected and that we are allowed this time for celebration and joy. With love, Wissam and Janet."

Janet Jackson started a family with Wissam Al Mana

Four years after tying the knot, E! News announced Janet Jackson was expecting her first child with Wissam Al Mana. As previously reported by the same outlet, Jackson had told fans the month before that she was no longer going to be performing on her "Unbreakable" world tour after she revealed she and her husband were "planning our family."

"Please, if you can try to understand that it's important that I do this now. I have to rest up, doctor's orders. But I have not forgotten about you. I will continue to tour as soon as I possibly can," she said, per E! News. Being the private celebrity that she is, a lot of Jackson's pregnancy journey was kept under wraps. However, she was spotted taking strolls with her husband while expecting their first child, per ET.

On January 3, 2017, Jackson gave birth to her son, Eissa Al Mana. "Janet had a stress free healthy delivery and is resting comfortably," her rep said in a statement provided to People. It wouldn't be until April that same year that she shared the first-ever photo of her newborn via Twitter. As time has gone on, it appears Jackson and Al Mana are raising him out of the spotlight.

After the birth of their son, Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana split

In April 2017, just months after their son was born, Janet Jackson and Wissam Al Mana announced they were over. A source told E! News that their differences fueled their divorce. "Janet and Wissam don't see eye to eye on many things," they said. "One of the many divorcing factors was their religious beliefs. Wissam and Janet did not feel that they were on the same page when it came to this and the way they wanted their child to get raised. Janet is more of a free spirit than Wissam. Cultural difference and backgrounds played a major role."

"Wissam is a very strong-minded individual and can come across being hard-headed and judgmental at times," E! News' source continued. "Janet started not to feel comfortable around her husband. While she was pregnant Wissam caused stress on Janet and it affected her stress level. They knew it was over before the baby was even born."

Jackson and Al Mana's original plan was to co-parent their son. However, according to ET, things apparently started to get heated after Jackson wanted full custody, and a years-long battle ensued. A source source told ET, "Janet and Wissam are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to raising Eissa and this has made their split even worse."

Did Jermaine Dupri and Janet Jackson reunite?

Less than a year after announcing her split from her third husband, Wissam Al Mana, rumors of Janet Jackson getting back with Jermaine Dupri started to surface on the web. According to Bossip, an inside source claimed that "things have been heating back up between the former couple, who have recently reunited and not just for music making purposes." However, Dupri quickly shut down those rumors in January 2018.

"All of this is just ... speculation, I guess, when somebody gets single. The fans actually really want to see us back together, so people actually [have] been championing this, but none of this is actually true," he said on "The Breakfast Club," adding, "I dated Janet for d**n near 10 years. I don't have to hide. ... Why would I sneak around with somebody that y'all know I been with? ... I know her better than the dude she married."

As of this writing, it appears Jackson has remained single since her relationship with Wissam Al Mana and is happy raising their son, Eissa Al Mana, without a new partner.