Janet was born Janet Damita Jo Jackson in Gary, Indiana on May 16 1966. She was the last child in the row of nine to Katherine and Joseph Jackson.
Janet started her career very early; at age 7. She made her first stage appearance in Las Vegas during the Jacksons' variety show, which aired on CBS during the summer of 1976. Shortly thereafter, Janet auditioned for a part on the TV show Good Times, and got it. She portrayed an abused child, Penny Gordon, who got adopted by her neighbor Willona, played in the series by Ja'Net Dubois.
In the late 70s, Janet appeared on another popular TV show: Diff'rent Strokes. She played the role of Charlene DuPrey, the girlfriend of Willis.
In 1978, Janet recorded a duet with her brother Randy for his upcoming album called Love Song For Kids, but the single was withdrawn. The unfortunate reason was that Randy had had a serious car accident, which nearly crippled him for life. His album was put on hold.
In 1982, Janet recorded her debut album, which included minor hits, such as Say You Do and You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine). While the real Janet the singer was performing on shows, such as American Bandstand, Janet the actress joined the cast of Fame, a hugely successful TV series both in the US and Europe. Janet played the part of Cleo Hewitt, a girl determined to become a star.
In 1984, Janet recorded another album, Dream Street, which included a duet with Cliff Richard. Janet's first video (for the title track) actually appeared in one episode of Fame.
During the middle 80s, Janet took part in several projects. She appeared on two more TV shows; A New Kind Of Family as Jojo Ashton, and Love Boat. By this time, Janet had also co-written a song for Latoya, and sung backing vocals on her two of her albums. Janet herself had released a new single called Start Anew, which was limited to Japan.
In 1985, Janet eloped with James DeBarge, member of the soul group DeBarge. The marriage lasted only for a year.
Janet's major breakthrough came in 1986 with the release of her third album, Control. Hits like Nasty, What Have You Done For Me Lately and Let's Wait Awhile, not to mention the title track, rocketed Control beyond the 8 million mark in no time.
In 1989, Janet lent her voice to her brothers' 2300 Jackson Street, a record which included most of the family. Her next album, Rhythm Nation 1814, was a huge success with hits like Miss You Much, Escapade and Black Cat, the latter one being the first song Janet wrote and produced by herself. The album dealt with social issues, completely different from Control.
In 1990 Janet went on her first world tour, which became the most successul debut tour ever for an artist. Janet received her own star on Hollywood's walk of Fame in 1991. That year she also got married for the second time, to Rene Elizondo. The following year, she duetted with Luther Vandross on "The Best Things In Life Are Free, a hit which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Mo' Money.
In 1993, Janet starred in her first feature film, Poetic Justice, in which she played a hairdresser (Justice) who is traumatized by the murder of her boyfriend (played by rapper Q-Tip). She then goes on a road trip to Oakland with a friend (played by Regina king), her boyfriend and his friend Lucky (Tupac Shakur). At first, Janet and Lucky doesn't get along at all, but eventually Justice and Lucky falls for each other. Her performance in Poetic Justice earned Janet an MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Female and an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song In A Motion Picture (Again).
1993 was also the year for Janet's fifth album Janet., her best-selling album to date. Most of the album singles were top 10 hits, and rocketed Janet into the major league. She signed a record deal with Virgin Records worth $80 million, which made her the highest paid entertainer in the world, next to her brother Michael.
Janet put out a follow-up to Janet. in 1994 called Janet Remixed, which included the best remixes and 2 other more rare songs. By this time Janet had also started her second world tour, which spanned nearly two years.
In May 1995, Janet collaborated with brother Michael on Scream, their first and only duet so far. The video for the song holds the world record as the most expensive video ever made with a $7 million price tag. In 1995, a Janet greatest hits collection called Design of a Decade was also released on A&M records to complete her releases on that label. The album included two previously unreleased tracks; Runaway and Twenty Foreplay.
Following that, Janet took a well-deserved break and didn't return to the music scene until late 1997, with the release of The Velvet Rope. The multi-platinum album included hits, such as Got 'Til It's Gone, Together Again and I Get Lonely.
Following the release, Janet went on another world tour, her best to date. The HBO special in October 1998 of the finale of The Velvet Rope Tour recived q whopping 13 Emmy Nominations.
Janet also found the time to record duets with Elton John and Shaggy for different soundtracks.
In 1999, Janet started filming her next movie, the sequel to the box office comedy The Nutty Professor. She starred opposite Eddie Murphy, as the Denise Gaines, a University professor and girlfriend of Sherman Klump (played by Murphy). The movie, entitled The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps open in 2000 and grossed over $100 million, and was recently released on home video. Janet was also featured on the soundtrack to the movie, with her 20th Gold single Doesn't Really Matter, written especially for the soundtrack.
In late 2000, Janet and Rene announced their marriage for the first time, and also their divorce.
Janet's single, All 4 You
broke new records in its first week of release and the album went to the #1 spot on Billboard. Janet went on a world tour to support the album, but had to cancel the European tour indefinitely due to the September 11th attacks in New York City. Janet received a Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award on December 4, 2001 for her contribution to music. She continued the tour in early 2002, including an HBO special in Hawaii, while more singles from the album (Someone To Call My Lover and Son Of A Gun) were riding high on the charts.
During 2002, Janet has been able to put more trophees in her case, as she was awarded Entertainer of the Year by Essence and the Governor's Award at the 2002 Recording Academy Membership Awards Luncheon in Los Angeles.
Currently, Janet is working on a greatest hits album, which might include some new tracks as well. A duet with Beenie Man, entitled Feel It Boy will be released on July 3, 2002.