In a new documentary, set to premiere later this month, Janet Jackson offers a rare glimpse into her life and struggles.
The upcoming Lifetime project Janet Jackson. features never-before-seen home videos as well as interviews, including with the singer herself, who talks about dealing with family tragedies, such the death of her brother, Michael Jackson, as well as the child sexual abuse allegations made against him, which he had always denied.
"There's a great deal of scrutiny that comes with having that last name," Janet says in the documentary, according to an extended trailer. The video also shows footage of the King of Pop's Neverland Ranch and him leaving a courthouse with Janet and their mom Katherine Jackson after a day of proceedings in his 2005 child molestation trial. Janet is then asked if the "allegations" affected her, career-wise.
"Yeah," she said. "Guilty by association. I guess that's what they call it, right?"
In the 2005 trial, Michael was acquitted of charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy. In 1993, police investigated the singer over allegations of sexually abusing a different 13-year-old boy and found no evidence. A year later, he and the teen's family reached a settlement.
Several years after Michael's death at age 50 in 2009, two other accusers filed and lost lawsuits against his estate over alleged past child sexual abuse by the star. They later opened up about their alleged experience with Michael in the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. The Jacksons have denied the allegations.
Janet has rarely commented on the child sex abuse allegations against Michael but has, however, stood by her brother. She and fellow family members often joined him at his trial.
Janet, one of the most popular pop artists of all time, had ruled the top 10 charts up until the early '00s. Her career stalled amid the 2005 trial against Michael, but more notably just after her infamous 2004 Super Bowl "Nipplegate" incident with Justin Timberlake. While performing onstage, he ripped off part of her top, accidentally exposing one of her nipple-shield-adorned breasts. Both singers apologized over the incident, which Timberlake called a "wardrobe malfunction."
Janet co-executive produced the documentary Janet Jackson. with her and Michael's brother Randy Jackson.
"Janet has enjoyed immense success but also seen incredible tragedy," read a synopsis for Janet Jackson. "She has endured a tumultuous private life in the face of extraordinary public scrutiny. With no stone left unturned, Janet Jackson. lifts the lid on her private life for the very first time and reveals the most intimate moments of the star ever caught on camera."
The synopsis also states, "The documentary details Janet's return to the world stage following a sudden break from music. Speaking like never before, Janet also discusses everything including her Super Bowl appearance with Justin Timberlake in 2004, the death of her brother Michael and becoming a mother later in life. And with her own romantic relationship having broken down, she starts to look back at her own life and reflect on her fight to the top."
The New York Times documentary Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, which aired in November, showed how TV executives, the media and the public blamed Janet for the incident, which affected her career but not his. In 2021, Justin publicly apologized to Janet.
"They build you up," Janet said in the Lifetime documentary trailer, just before the infamous Super Bowl incident was shown, "and then once you get there, they're so quick to tear you down."
Part one of two of the documentary Janet Jackson. is set to premiere on Lifetime and A&E on Friday, Jan. 28, the 40th anniversary of her 1982 self-titled debut album.