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01 June 2023

Janet Jackson says brothers verbally abused her

US singer Janet Jackson (REUTERS)

By Reuters

Pop singer Janet Jackson says her big brother Michael Jackson used to tease her as a youngster about her bottom, while their other siblings called her a "horse," "pig" and "cow."

In an interview with NBC correspondent Meredith Vieira, on the promotional trail for her memoir, Jackson said the verbal abuse made her insecure about her looks.

"I would literally bang my head up against the wall because I didn't feel attractive," she said. "There was a lot of pain in my life. But I did. I felt very unattractive."

She used to laugh at the barnyard taunts, and said Michael's comments about her bottom were probably affectionate. But rather than confront him about his hurtful words, she simply internalized the pain.

Jackson, 44, relates her childhood trauma in her book "True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself," which will be published on February 15.

As with her siblings, Jackson was beaten by her father who forced her to call him by his first name, Joseph. Still she escaped relatively lightly, recalling that she was struck with a belt just once.

"I know my father loves me," she said. "He just has a very, very different way of showing it."

Michael Jackson, almost eight years older than Janet, once tearfully recalled that his father would "tear you up" with a belt or some other convenient cord, and "would throw you up against the wall."

Of her brother, whom she last saw about six weeks before he died in 2009, Jackson said she embarked on the grieving process long after everyone else in the family.

"I don't know if it was trying to shield the pain, or just trying to hold it all together because I saw that everyone else around me was falling apart. And, never -- never taking that moment to really grieve. Really grieve, even at the service (In July 2009).

But she recently allowed herself to watch his videos and listen to his music during a nightlong session in Paris.

"And, there was moments when I- I felt the cry, and moments that made me laugh. And, it was good for me. I needed it," she said.

Jackson's NBC interview will air on Friday and next Monday on "Today," and Sunday Feb 13 on "Dateline."