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The Paternity Case of Janet's Secret Daughter

The scandalous paternity case story of Janet Jackson's alleged "secret" daughter.

By Gladys W. MuturiPublished 4 months ago 5 min read
Tiffany Whyte and Janet Jackson

Besides Michael Jackson being accused of having a love child or allegedly "not" the father of his three children (Prince, Paris, Bigi), there was this scandalous story that involved the youngest Jackson member Janet.

Pop star Janet Jackson has been at the center of the paternity scandal after claims that she had a secret baby with her then-husband James Debarge. The scandal has raised eyebrows believing that Janet has a secret child though Janet has denied the claims. Thirty years later, after the birth of her son Eissa and her music comeback, her scandal returned to the spotlight this time with a woman claiming to be Janet's daughter.

Janet Jackson met James Debarge when he and his sibling's group Debarge debuted on Soul Train while Janet, her sister Latoya, and her brother Jermaine. Jackson was 16 and Debarge was 18 at the time. According to Janet, one of Debarge's brothers was dating her sister Latoya. They became friends until the two fell in love. However, their families were not fond of their relationship due to their highly prolific careers and Debarge's drug abuse past. The young lovebirds would sneak around to see each other as much as possible. In 1984, the two secretly eloped in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Janet Jackson and James DeBarge

According to James, she married him to be free from her father Joe Jackson. At the time of marriage, the young Debarges were living at their family home in Hayvenhurst. During their marriage, the former newlyweds had a rocky marriage due to James's addiction to sleeping pills and other drugs.

“I remember times when I would find the pills and I would take them and try to flush them down the toilet, and we would be rolling around on the floor fighting for them … I cared so much for him, and I saw the good in him as well, and I just wanted that to take precedence as opposed to this ugliness, ’cause I knew that he needed help. But I wasn’t the help that he needed."

Janet Jackson, JANET

After months of their marriage, the two called it quits and filed for divorce. During their tumultuous marriage, rumors and news outlets reported rumors that Jackson was pregnant with James's baby or she secretly had a baby and gave the baby away to foster care.

Star Magazine published on February 15, 1994

In 2000, when James was being interviewed with Inside Edition he never confirmed or denied that there was a secret child. He convinces the reporter that the only person who can tell the answer is Janet. In 2001, Jackson told Vibe magazine that she never had a baby with her then-husband James.

"They say the kid's in Europe or that one of my brothers or sisters is raising it .... But no, I've never had a child."

Janet Jackson, VIBE Magazine

Debarge had moved on and had three kids: Kristina, James Jr., and Tori. As for Jackson, she had moved on to her music career and other marriages that had failed as well.

31 years later...

After her divorce from James, Jackson had her first child in 2017 at age 50 and made a music comeback.

Jackson and her son Eissa

Just when she was about to make a comeback, her past came back to haunt her. A 31-year-old woman named Tiffany Whyte from Philadelphia claimed to be James Debarge and Janet Jackson's secret child.

Tiffany Whyte

Whyte tells RadarOnline that she is convinced that she is the secret daughter of James and Janet.

"She has been denying me for many years. I’ve waited 31 years. I’ve been kept a secret for a very long time and I want people to know the truth that I’m not a liar. Now it’s time for me to tell my truth. Now that I got the DNA from my grandmother, that it is a possibility… No, it is for sure that they are my parents, she’s my grandmother, those [sic] are my family and it’s time for me to tell the truth.”

Whyte on RadarOnline, 2017.

Whyte convinces that she has DNA proof that she is related and she had a secret DNA test on (James's mother) proving that she is indeed related. Janet's former in-laws Etterlene and Bunny have appeared on Inside Edition confirming that it is true.

Even James' oldest daughter Kristina who was 26 at the time believed that she had a half-sister. On Growing Up Hip Hop (WEtvs reality show), James revealed to Kristina that there was a possibility that Janet had a baby.

Tiffany would appear on the show meeting with Kristina having a conversation with her getting to know her.

However, Bunny and Kristina were unsure if Tiffany was being honest and had doubts that she was the secret baby even fans of Janet Jackson including myself believed she’s not Janet's secret daughter. Even Etterlene noticed over the years that a lot of women had contact with her claiming to be Janet's daughter.

I mean look at her!!! There was no way in hell she's related to both of them.

In the second part of Janet's documentary, Jackson denied the whole secret child, Rebbie Jackson, Jackson's eldest sister who claimed to have taken care of this so-called secret baby deny that claim and Debbie Allen who starred in Fame along with Jackson also denied it believed that Jackson was never pregnant on set. Jackson would also say that she would never hide a secret pregnancy from James or a child from him. A DNA test from RadarOnline shows that there was no match between James and Janet. James took the test however Janet refused.

Spoiler Alert: She is NOT related to Janet and James.

Bunny apologized to her former sister-in-law on Inside Edition.

“I would apologize to Janet and tell her as a family we would not have done it like that.”

Bunny DeBarge on Inside Edition

After that, we never saw Tiffany again, and the whole secret baby pretty much died down. However, Debarge still believes that Jackson was pregnant and is not giving up on finding the secret baby.

No lie I feel like Growing Hip Hop (the reality show) used Tiffany for the storyline and of course ratings. After all, I am not surprised that everyone believes that she is not Janet's daughter. I do feel sympathy for Tiffany but sometimes I don't know why she had to go on the media going public instead of going to find them privately and taking the DNA test on both of them. Another thing, Rader online is known for selling juicy stories on celebrities so...... you get the reality.

If you want to read the scandalous paternity story on Justin Bieber and Mariah Yeater that's more delirious than Janet's.


Inside Edition


pop culturepopindustryhistorydancecelebritiesbands90s music80s music

About the Creator

Gladys W. Muturi

Hello, My name is Gladys W. Muturi. I am an Actress, Writer, Filmmaker, Producer, and Mother of 1.

Instagram: @gladys_muturi95

Twitter: @gladys_muturi


YouTube: @gladys_muturi

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  • Manisha Dhalani4 months ago

    Such scandalous news. Glad they found the truth.

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