Though Janet Jackson has long denied that she was married, her husband has revealed their secret marriage and recently filed for divorce, Jet has learned.
Jackson's husband and longtime collaborator, Rene Elizondo has filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, revealing that he and Janet had been secretly married since 1991.
Jackson, 34, who has sold more than 40 million recordings, annouced last year they had separated after a "relationship" of 13 years.
In a brief statement issued at Jet Press time, Jackson confirmed that the two are indeed married, addith that the break-up "pains me greatly."
She said, "It pains me greatly that despite my sincere efforts, my marriage to Rene did not work out. Since I was a child, my personal life has been lived in the public eye. At times, this has been very difficult.
She added, "I hope my fans will understand that I tried to keep my marriage private in an effort to have a normal family life. I wish Rene only the best going forward."
The couple do not have any children, according to the petition.
Elizondo explained what led to the divorce. "We just grew apart," he told Jet during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "We just started going in separate directions. It seemed like in the last year, we became business and creative partners only."
The divorce petition cites "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the break-up.
While the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, Elizondo's attorney, Manley Freid, said he is challenging the validity of the premarital agreement. "We are rasing legal issues regarding the validity of the document," he told Jet.
Elizondo said they shared their income during the marriage.
"The divorce is amicable and we're looking to reach a common ground," Elizondo said.
He said there was no third party that caued the divorce action. "No infidelity, no event that led up to it. It was just a slow process, a slow erosion of our relationship," he explained. He revealed that he has only
begun dating someone, who he would not identify.
He and Janet last talked about a month ago. He said it was just a short conversation about their divorce.
Their marriage remained one of the best-kept secrets in Hollywood. "I was surprised we kept it a secret so long," he admitted.
Jackson's older sister, Rebbie Jackson, once told an Atlanta radio station in 1998, that Janet and Rene, "had been married for a long time....they eloped years ago."
Elizondo explained to Jet that they did not elope but were married March 31, 1991, by a priest at the home they shared in Northern San Diego County. He said Jackson's mother, her best friend, his best friends and his parents
attended the wedding.
"What's amazing is our close friends and business associates did know about it....but I guess they all felt loyal to our relationship and respected our approach to preserving it," he noted.
They were separated in January 1999, according to the divorce petition.
They wanted to keep their marriage a secret because of the pressures famous couples often experience. "We decided early on that we wanted to preserve our marriage by keeping it private. We noticed that couples that are always in the media seem to break up quickly in Hollywood. That was our perception and were were together 14 years in Hollywood," he said, adding that it is almost unheard of in show business.
Elizondo, 37, said he was a dancer when they met, and during their relationship and marriage they co-wrote 37 songs and worked together on
several hit albums, including Rhythm Nation 1814 and Velvet Rope. He also directed the videos for her songs, That's the Way Love Goes, Again, and Together Again. He also had a cameo role as a postal worker in Jackson's film debut, Poetic Justice.
Asked if he would see the two of them working together again, he replied, "I have sort of left that up in the air. I guess it all depends on how everything goes."
He added, "Hopefully, everything will remain amicable. We've done a lot of great work together. I wrote 37 songs, That's the Way Love Goes, Together Again, Rhythm Nation, Black Cat, Come Back to Me and on and on."
He continued, "That's the shame. I guess, is that she and I can finish each other's sentences and have the same creative flow. And I think, the record sort of speaks for itself, lots of gold and platinum singles, lots of
records sold. We wrote very easily together."
Elizondo says he would never write a tell-all book about his life with Janet Jackson. "Never, never, never," he stressed. "I never respected people who do that."
Elizondo was a key part of Jackson's career and gave her advice on her many show business offers and pursuits. They were like soulmates - they shared it all, observers say.
Some detractors, however, have tried to question Elizondo's motives, because he had so much input and control in Jackson's career.
Elizondo told Jet, "I guess stuff like that will be said when you are as deeply involved as I was. But, I don't think I ever brought any harm to her career. I was not afraid to tell her when she was wrong, whereas most people once you get to that level of success become "yes people," and I was always forthright with her."
Jackson always stood by her man and gave him credit for his work.
She once told Rolling Stone: "Rene has been my co-writer on almost all my songs since Rhythm Nation but refused to take credit. He wanted me to take, but to give. I appreciated that attitude but I also saw that it was leading
to feelings of fraudulence - on his part, not mine. On Velvet Rope, Rene's name appear for the first time as co-executive producer and co-writer. Just as it's wrong to claim undeserved credit, it's wrong to deny credit when
When they ended their relationship last year, (Jet, March 8, 1999), Jackson released a brief statement that said: "Janet Jackson and partner, Rene Elizondo, Jr., have separated amicably. The couple who met 17 years ago,
had a personal relationship and worked together creatively for 13 years. They both stress that their friendship will continue."
Jackson was married briefly in 1984 to singer James DeBarge of the famous DeBarge music group.