Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson Were Semi-Estranged During the Height of Her Career

Being a famous family has its pros and cons, and the Jackson family knows this all too well. Michael Jackson is arguable the most famous Jackson sibling – outside of his sister Janet. The pair both had successful careers, and were fierce supporters of one another. But Janet admits that, at times, their work caused them much distance. 

Janet and Michael Jackson pose for photo as children; Janet says her and Michael were estranged at the height of her career
Janet and Michael Jackson | Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Janet Jackson revealed she and Michael Jackson weren’t speaking at a pivotal point in her career

Though Michael and Janet are the closest in age as the youngest two Jackson siblings and grew up as best friends, their mega careers would cause a disadvantage to their relationship. While promoting her sixth studio album, The Velvet Rope, Janet revealed that she hadn’t been in contact with her brother in some time. 

When asked if they were on speaking terms, Janet admitted they were not. “Are we friends? Yes. Are we enemies? No. Have I spoken to him recently? No, I haven’t. It’s kind of embarrassing. I hate to say how long it’s been since I’ve even seen my brother—two years. But he’s on tour. I haven’t even seen my nephew,” she told VIBE Magazine. At the time, Michael had become a first-time father to is eldest son, Prince. 

Source: YouTube

But Janet says their busy schedules kept them apart. “It’s just that, when everyone was invited to the ranch to meet [his new son] Prince, I was doing the album, and there was no way I could even come home for the day,” she explained. 

In fact, Janet revealed the last time they’d seen or spoken was due to a medical emergency. Janet rushed to his side, even missing a major career event. “The last time I saw my brother and spoke to him was when he was in the hospital. He was supposed to do the show for Pay-Per-View or HBO or something—it was the night of the 1996 Billboard Awards, and I was supposed to receive an award that night. I didn’t even go accept my award. I went straight to the hospital,” she added.

The brother-sister duo collaborated on one single together

It was unfortunate that their careers kept them apart, as just a few years prior, they collaborated on a major project for the first time in their solo careers. In 1995, their duet “Scream” was released. The song was a clap back at the intense media scrutiny Michael had been under as a result of the child molestation allegations against him.

In the song, Michael sings: “Tired of injustice / Tired of the schemes / The lies are disgusting / So what does it mean? / Damn it / Kicking me don / I got to get up / As jacked as it sounds / The whole system sucks / Damn it.”

Source: YouTube
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The family rallied around Michael, supporting him publicly and privately, with Janet attending his court trials. The Poetic Justice star told MTV News in 2009 of the song: “‘Scream,’ there was so much going on at that time,” she said. “That’s when the — I hate to say this, but — the first allegations [of child molestation] came out and the whole bit. He was very upset and very angry, and he had so much pent-up in him that he wanted to get out and say. And when you listen to the lyrics, that’s what it’s about.”

She explained the lyrics to the song have a dual meaning. “I played the role that I’ve always played in his life: his little sister that was there by his side, that had his back no matter what,” she added. “That’s what ‘Scream’ was for me.”

She touched on their relationship in her 2022 Lifetime documentary series

Janet released a four-part documentary series on Lifetime/A&E Networks in Jan. 2022, where she delved into her personal life unlike ever before. The documentary film crew followed Janet over a three-year period. One of the subjects she spoke about was her bond with Michael.