Janet Jackson interview: Michael Jackson was 'in denial,' and why she won't see 'This Is It'

Janet Jackson told Robin Roberts last night that her brother Michael Jackson was “in denial” about his dependence on drugs. The ABC special inevitably focussed a lot on Michael, even as it gave us a more complete picture of the 43 year-old Janet herself.

Of Michael, she said of his recent documentary, This Is It: “I definitely won’t [see it] right now or [perhaps]  ever… [it’s] too soon, too hard. It’s hard when I even see the posters for it.” As for his death, she brought up Michael’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray:  “He was the one who was administering [drugs to Michael]. I think he was responsible.” (To see video of the interview, go here.)

Jackson kept a fixed smile on her face throughout most of the hour and apologized at one point to Roberts, saying, “I have this thing where I tend to smile when things get uncomfortable.” If so, this hour was pretty uncomfortable for her.

Janet talked about the conflicting feelings she’s had over the years about her body, but that now she feels comfortable  “with my booty,” and is writing a book that addresses some of these issues, called True You.

She described the notorious discipline her father, Joe, imposed upon his children as “old-school” bordering on “being a little abusive.” No matter who you talk to, this guy seems just plain cruel. That notion came through even when Roberts asked her why she calls her father “Joseph” and not “Dad”: “He said, ‘I’m Joe, not dad’… It is what it is… I’ve never questioned it.” She said this was true before she was four years old. As is sometimes the case with the Jackson children, one gets the feeling that they’ve tamped down a lot of emotional (and in some cases, physical) abuse.

It was Joe who steered her away from acting in TV shows such as Good Times and Diff’rent Strokes. “He said, ‘I think you could make more money singing.'” Tellingly, she now says while she hasn’t given up music — the hour showed a bit of the video for her new single, “Make Me” — she’s most interested in acting, signing on for Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too.

Janet Jackson will open this year’s American Music Awards on Sunday night.

Comments (110 total) Add your comment
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  • Greg

    I thought it was a good interview more and I also liked the fact that they asked her about Micheal as they should but never lost sight that she is a star in her own right.

  • Nation

    What an great interview! Robin and Janet were both very impressive! Love you J!

  • t

    I watched the interview basically to hear about Michael, but ended up enjoying the parts about Janet.

  • jackhart

    HMM .. janet is very very secretive. i’m taken her interview with a grain of salt, i.e her past secret marraige and possible hidden love child.

    • Anna

      Janet’s never been shown to be a liar though. Everyone new she was in a committed relationship with Rene they just didn’t know they were married. And the child, if it exists, wouldn’t have been a “love child” since she was married to James Debarge at the time.

  • Laura

    I thought it was a good interview as well and I also was glad that Robin respected the fact that Janet is very much a star in her own right. I like and respect Janet alot and was glad that she was able to open up a little bit about what is going on in her world and her heart felt thoughts about her brother. She’s a very classy dignified lady and is a credit to her family. Thank you Janet.

  • Shane

    Janet was as she always is- lovely, warm, self-effacting and very strong in her truth. I loved how open she was- just herself. Loved alllllllll that, but I just kept thinking “I WANT THOSE EARRINGS!!!”

    • Laura

      I so agree with you!!…accept perhaps on the earrings…:-) Although they look great on Janet.

    • gigi

      Her dress too!! She looked awesome…as usual. I’m putting the dress and earrings on my christmas wish list!!

    • Tlynn

      Agreed!! Loved the interview, Envy the earrings!!!

  • Laura

    I respect her privacy. The people that annoy me most are celebrities that have to cry and wine on T.V. anytime they break a finger nail. As much as the world might like to we don’t have to know every detail of Janet’s life…she obviously feels the same.

  • KFed

    I really hope she can get her music back on track. Her preoccupation with S&M themes has really done her damage, which is a shame, because pop doesn’t get much better than an awesome Janet single with an awesome dance routine.

  • Dee

    Love you J!!!!

  • alex nervermind

    Janet is in denial too!!! she was well aware of her brothers problems! Don’t just blame the doctor, they all knew what was going on, just like with all the little boys he always around him! P.S do you she will sing live at AMA’s or continue to lip-sync???

    • DougD

      They WERE aware of his problems. Have you ever had a family memeber who was a drug addict?? If you did you wouldn’t make this comment. Like Janet said, the person has to acknowlegde and want the help. If they don’t there’s very little to nothing others can do.

    • Jealousy has Many Heads

      alex nervermind, what wonderfully perfect world do you live in? Were you aware of all of your immediate family problems? I doubt it. And the little boy comment, you are an obvious selective reader. They father of the first boy to make alligations committed suicide and his child came forward and said his father made him lie. So busy finding fault, when was the last time you did something humanitarian? Instead of spewing negativity try helping someone like Janet and Michael have.

      • alex nervermind

        I live in the real world! People give these stars passes. As a father of two, theres no way in hell my kids are going to sleep in the same bed with a grown man period! If MJ wasn’t a star, but looked and acted same how many parents would let there kids sleepover??? Most people wouldn’t even let there kids talk to him!

      • that’s the point

        anyone who thinks that mj should have been prosecuted for any alleged crimes against children should also be in favor of prosecuting these parents who willingly put their children in the position as well. and there still has been no proof that there was any abuse.

  • LanaG

    They didn’t cover any new ground. Janet’s weight issues, low self-esteem, dad issues have been out there since she was 18. Even her insight on Mike wasn’t expansive. I was disappointed.

  • alex nervermind

    Yes I’ve had a family member on drugs! I think that it’s wrong for her to just blame the doctor!!! This is what happends when people who are afraid him the the truth just because he’s MJ.

    • DougD

      Janet wasn’t being supported by her brother like other family members were…she had no need to be afraid of him. The truth is that when ANYONE confronted him on his problems he would shut them out for weeks at a time….literally! He told his security to keep them, his own family, off the property! He wouldn’t give out updated phone numbers to them. As much as I like MJ, this is classic drug addict behaviour. He was owned by his addiction. MJ loved his family but loved his addiction more. The doctor isn’t to blame for MJ’s 20 year addiction but he is responcible for his actions on June 25 that caused his patient to die! What would you have done differently???

      • Tlynn


    • Greg

      I dont think she was blaming the dr for his drug problem she was blaming the dr for his death

      • DougD


    • Shane

      I think their point Alex was that when you try interventions, the person either accepts or doesn’t accept your ultimatiums and assistance offers. As she said, you CANNOT make them. My brother is also dead because of this- trust me, you cannot force someone to stop what they are doing, no matter how loud you shout, if they do not want to do it. She is blaming the doctor who carried out the physical act of administering the dosage- but don’t think for a moment in her private thoughts that she doesn’t blame herself too.

      • DougD

        I agree with your observation. Those left behind will and do feel guilt despite their best efforts. My brother almost died as a result of an alcohol addiction 10 years ago. He is clean now because of his near death experience not because of interventions which he refused. This is not to dismiss the interventions. They should always be attempled.

  • Janet fan

    I can relate to the weight issues you talked about. I’m looking forward to reading your book!!!

  • Ferg

    Janet was absolutely lovely as always. I enjoyed the interview. Classy, dignified, beautiful. Two thumbs up Janet.

  • SDTim

    Janet definitely came across as the most mentally healthy of the Jackson family. Compare this to interviews with the other Jacksons and the all come across as a wee-bit unhinged. But Janet seems sane! :-) You go, Miss Jackson!

    • fancypants

      lol. only Latoya and Joe are unhinged. the rest of the Jackson family has always been sweet and well-spoken.

      • 85

        No….sorry, Jermaine’s a nutcase too.

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