Embed from Getty Images
Janet Jackson announced this April that she was separated from her husband, Wissam Al Mana, after five years. The two have son Eissa together, just eight months old, and there were stories at the time that Wissam was controlling toward Janet, to the point where he tried to tell her which performance outfits would be acceptable on her upcoming tour, which has since launched. Janet’s older brother, Randy (not the guy from American Idol) just confirmed to People magazine that Janet was emotionally abused by Wissam, that she felt trapped by him and that his abuse is ongoing as they try to coparent Eissa. It’s rather unprecedented for the older Jacksons (not Michael’s kids, they’re rather open) to speak so candidly about their personal lives but here we are.
Speaking to PEOPLE exclusively, [Randy Jackson], 55, says, “Enough is enough” as he opens up for the first time about what he says is a troubling situation for the superstar singer.
“There’s a lot of pain. Janet’s been through a lot with her divorce. I’ve been through a lot, we all have,” says Randy, referring to Janet’s ongoing divorce and custody battle with Al Mana, 42.
As for what led to the divorce, Randy, who has attended court proceedings with Janet, draws a stark picture of his sister’s life with Al Mana towards the end of their relationship.
“It was quite an abusive situation,” Randy claims. “It came on later in the relationship, verbal abuse and being [made to feel like] a prisoner in her own home. No pregnant woman needs to go through being called a bitch everyday. There were things like that. That’s what she went through.”
In a statement released to PEOPLE, attorneys for Al Mana say “Mr. Al Mana is not going to dignify these particular and deeply hurtful allegations with a response.
“The breakdown of his marriage to Janet Jackson is a cause of great sadness to Mr. Al Mana, and it is the wellbeing and privacy of their son, Eissa, that remains his sole focus.”
Randy, who lives in London near the home Janet and Al Mana shared, claims that while the abuse was not physical, he was compelled to come to his sister’s aid earlier this year.
“I told her, ‘You’ve got to move in with me or I’m going to go over there and there’s going to be hell.’ She was really pissed off. I told her, ‘I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of it. It’s too much,’ ” he says
According to Randy, he wasn’t the only member of the large Jackson family to rally around Janet after the divorce, “My mom and [sister] Rebbie came out [to London]…”
“The abuse is still going on.” Randy says the pair are still in contact mostly due to coparenting Eissa. “She has custody and he of course allowed her to bring the baby on tour, but it’s constant harassment. This tour almost didn’t happen, but by the grace of God we’re here and we’re very prayerful.”
Many of us thought that something similar must be going on behind the scenes, but to hear it like this from Randy means that it must have been bad. I don’t think this is some kind of ploy by Janet for custody, but ET is reporting that Janet is seeking full custody and that’s why Randy told her story. A source tells ET that “her brother Randy feels like it is his job to protect his family and he could not take seeing his baby sister in emotional pain.” Randy told People that Janet “wants Eissa to have a mother and a father.” He added “We don’t like to put our business out there but sometimes transparency helps you.” ET previously reported that Wissam disrespected Janet’s mom, Katherine, 37, when Katherine visited them in London. Ok now I’m firmly team Janet.
Janet is in the midst of her State of the World Tour and has her fourth performance tonight, in San Antonio. During Saturday’s performance in Houston, she broke down crying which performing a song from 1997 about domestic violence, called “What About.” It’s the first time she’s performed the song since 1999. You can see footage from that moment on E! Online. Randy told People, in regard to that incident, “what you saw in Houston, it was her situation coming out.”
These photos are from 2015 and 2016. Credit: WENN and Getty