Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana. She's the youngest of 9 children born to Joe and Katherine Jackson. Growing up in the Jackson family, Janet was aware of the lures of performance early on. Since the Jackson 5 were already stars by the time Janet was a teenager, it may never have occurred to her that it was possible to fail in show business.
As she grew older, her interests branched out into several directions -- dancing, acting and singing. She appeared on stage in her brothers' show in 1973, when she was only seven years old. In 1977, Norman Lear offered her a job on Good Times on CBS. After that, she began appearing on other TV shows such as Diff'rent Strokes and A New Kind of Family.
jamming with janet
In 1982, Janet released her first self-titled album. Being sixteen at the time, Janet had yet to find a style and a specific audience. She began touring and during her tour, she met two members of the band The Time -- Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis -- two men who ultimately became major figures in her career.
In 1983, Janet landed a role on Fame. During her time on the show, she remained in the protective clutches of her parents who were often on the set.
By 1984, Janet eloped with singer James DeBarge. But the following spring, she moved back into her parents home and had the marriage annulled. Also in 1984, Janet released her second album, Dreamstreet, and although it was a little more personal, it was not well received by fans or critics.
The album that helped Janet shine was 1986's Control. It was her first album with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. This album hit number one, putting six singles on various charts. Janet began expressing herself verbally, musically and rhythmically.
Janet's sex symbol status began to ignite and the singles from the album just kept coming: five of the tracks from the album became top 5 pop hits. Janet spent the following two years supporting the album and remixing the songs into dance versions.
welcome to janet nation
By 1989, Janet released her next album, Rhythm Nation 1814, and although the album was great in and of itself, it was her music videos that made her unstoppable. And the tour that followed soon afterwards was huge, expensive and theatrical.
By 1993, Janet's follow-up album janet contained a very openly sexual tone. That same year she starred in John Singleton's Poetic Justice. Since then, Janet has spent time building her acting skills, writing songs, and maintaining relationships with her family.
In 1995, Janet joined her brother Michael on the hit single "Scream" and appeared in the song's video clip. In 1996, she released Janet Jackson 1986/1996 Design of a Decade, an album containing the best music from her last ten years of making music.
In autumn 1997, Janet released The Velvet Rope, one of the most anticipated albums to be released in music. Although the album became an instant success (with songs like "Together Again" and "Got 'Til It's Gone"), her personal life took a serious hit. Her secret marriage to Rene Elizondo came to a screeching halt after 8 years of wedded bliss.
climbing the velvet rope
In 2000, Janet starred alongside Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and she wrote the hit single "Doesn't Really Matter" for the soundtrack. "Doesn't Really Matter" held the number one spot for a number of weeks, and was included in Janet's multi-platinum album, All For You.
Fans got another taste of Janet's music and sometimes explicit lyrics, with 2001's All For You. Hit singles such as the title-track and "Someone To Call My Lover" have propelled Janet back on the music scene -- not that she ever left.
Hot off the trails of her album release, Janet spent a large part of 2001 on a worldwide "All For You" tour.
Honored with the Award of Merit at the 2001 American Music Awards (her brother Michael, Gloria Estefan and Frank Sinatra are among past recipients), Janet is truly a pop icon, and her music is "All For You."