Michael Jackson Gave Janet Jackson the Sweetest Advice About Surviving Fame

It’s quite an anomaly whenever an entertainer emerges from the world of show business to become a household name. Even rarer are when two people from the same family become similarly famous. Michael Jackson was one of the biggest recording artists of all time, but he wasn’t the only one from his family to blow up in a major way.

His sister Janet did as well. One time, Michael gave Janet some great advice about dealing with the trials and tribulations of fame. 

Michael Jackson career overview

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson | FRANCIS Sylvain/AFP via Getty Images

Michael was known as the “King of Pop” for a reason: he was one of the most popular and successful musical acts in history. According to Biography.com, he started out as the lead singer of his family’s band, the Jackson 5. There he’d sing multiple number one hits while serving as lead singer in front of his four brothers.

The band was managed by their father Joe, a man who was rumored to have an abusive streak. Nevertheless, the children thrived in the spotlight, with Michael commanding the most attention. 

The 80s came and Michael went solo. That’s where he’d really skyrocket to superstardom. He delivered some of the biggest hits of the 80s (and all-time) such as: 

  • Thriller
  • Billie Jean
  • Beat It
  • Bad
  • Smooth Criminal

He wouldn’t have quite the same success in the 90s, but he was still in another stratosphere as a performer in terms of both popularity and output. Eventually, his production slowed. Sadly, the singer passed away unexpectedly in 2009, sending his millions of fans worldwide into mourning. 

Janet Jackson career overview

As Michael was achieving his meteoric rise to solo pop success, Janet was also putting out albums. She put out her first album in 1982 and slowly but surely became a superstar in her own right. According to Biography.com, her first major success was 1986’s Control. She continued to put out hit after hit throughout the 90s. 

While Janet continued to appear on the Billboard charts with every album she released, she found herself in some major media hot water in 2004 through no fault of her own. Performing in the Super Bowl halftime show with Justin Timberlake, she had a “wardrobe malfunction” which resulted in Timberlake removing an article of her clothing.

Most of the backlash was reserved for her, while Timberlake emerged from the incident largely unscathed. 

The advice Michael Jackson gave Janet Jackson about surviving fame


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Music writer Lisa Robinson appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to talk about her new book. Robinson commented on the Jackson siblings when discussing a picture of herself and a young Janet featured in her book. Robinson spent a lot of time interviewing the Jackson 5. Robinson said that Janet had “no illusions about show business.” 

According to Robinson, Michael suggested the following advice to Janet: “Don’t ever let bad things said about you bother you.” Michael certainly knew a little something about having bad things said about him, as criticism and rumors followed him throughout his career.

Janet was also able to keep a decent amount of control over her career due to the fact that their father worked for her as her manager, rather than her working for him. Robinson said Janet eventually fired her Dad in favor of someone else. 

Michael and Janet both had ridiculous amounts of success mixed in with some tough phases during both their careers. It goes without saying that Michael’s advice to Janet must have been useful as she navigated the challenging nature of stardom.