The captivating A&E and Lifestyle series, ‘Janet Jackson and James DeBarge’, ventures deep into the life of the legendary artist, offering an unfiltered and comprehensive look at her personal and professional journey.
Unraveling a Tale of Passion and Authenticity
This documentary series delves into Janet Jackson’s storied past, exploring her rise to fame, challenging marriages, and relentless pursuit of her dreams, all through her own words. A key focus is her tumultuous relationship with her first husband, James DeBarge, providing a detailed exploration of their complicated love story.
The Intricate Story of Janet and James: Love, Conflict, and Music
Born as the seventh child to Robert DeBarge Sr. and Etterlene Abney DeBarge, James Curtis DeBarge found fame in the 1980s, a defining period in music history, thanks to his family’s musical prowess. The DeBarges’ move from Michigan to California in search of musical success serendipitously brought them into the orbit of the renowned Jackson family.
A Love Born from Shared Solitude
Janet and James, both introverted by nature, found solace in each other’s company. This connection blossomed into romance when Janet was just 16, leading to their elopement two years later. However, Janet soon faced the harsh reality of James’s addiction, describing her husband as “a sweet soul” but recalling a painful incident on their wedding night where she was left alone for hours in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Despite her efforts to help him overcome his addiction, their marriage faced insurmountable challenges. Janet’s recounts of their struggles include desperate attempts to hide his drugs and late-night searches for him, ultimately acknowledging that she couldn’t save him from his demons. Their marriage ended officially in November 1985.
James DeBarge’s Life Today: Seeking Solitude
While James has not remarried, he is a father to three: Kristinia (born in 1990), James Jr. (born in 1998), and Tori (born in 2001). His life post-divorce has been turbulent, marked by arrests and incarceration. Presently, he maintains a low profile in Los Angeles, California.
In 2016, on ‘Growing Up Hip-Hop’, he stirred rumors of a secret child with Janet. However, Janet refuted these claims in the docuseries, attributing them to misconceptions based on her weight gain at the time.
Highlights of Love: Janet and James’s Brief Union
The marriage of James and Janet made waves in 1984, coinciding with the release of her second album ‘Dream Street’. Their union, seen as a defiance against her father Joe Jackson, has remained a topic of public fascination, especially with rumors of a secret child, vehemently denied by both parties.
James DeBarge: Beyond the Headlines
James’s fame extends beyond his marriage to Janet, as a key vocalist in the DeBarge family, contributing to ’80s hits like “Rhythm of the Night” and “Love Me in a Special Way“.
Legacy and Challenges
Originating from Detroit, James moved to California for a chance at stardom. His children, particularly Kristinia, have followed his musical footsteps. However, James’s life has been marred by legal troubles, including a prison sentence in 2012 for drug-related offenses and assault.
Reflecting on a Fleeting Romance
Janet’s brief marriage to DeBarge is seen as a youthful act of defiance. A&R veteran John McClain had concerns about its impact on her career. Janet’s silence on the matter suggests a deep emotional involvement, leaving audiences to wonder what could have been under different circumstances.