Janet Jackson opens up on struggle with body image
February 8th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

Janet Jackson opens up on struggle with body image

In an interview with “Today’s” Meredith Vieira, Janet Jackson opens up on her struggles with body image, as well as what it was like to grow up as a Jackson.

The 44-year-old star recalls in the interview that her father Joseph told her, “'I’m Joseph to you. You do not call me Dad.’

“That affects you as a kid,” Jackson went on. “I know my father loves me. He just has a very, very different way of showing it.”

And when it came to growing up in a house filled with brothers, Jackson admitted that there was plenty of teasing. She says her siblings, including the late Michael Jackson, would call her names like "horse, pig, cow [and] slaughter-hog.”

"It makes you laugh, it really does. It makes you laugh. I guess some people could say, 'Oh that's, you know, brothers and sisters joking, it's all affection, it's all, you know, it's in a loving way.' But not everybody can brush it off, and I was one of those,” she told Vieira.

Jackson explained that when she was younger, she used to “literally bang my head up against the wall because I didn't feel attractive. ... There was a lot of pain in my life. But I did. I felt very unattractive.”

Even as "Rhythm Nation" climbed the charts, Jackson said she struggled with self-perception, a battle she outlines in her soon-to-be-released book, “True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself.”

“I still have issues with it,” Jackson admits. “I don’t bang my head up against the wall, but I still have those moments. And I think it’ll probably continue but at least I know how to deal with it now. And I’m in a much better space.”

Filed under: Celebrities • Janet Jackson • Music

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Rock With You Horsegirl

    I'd just like to say Happy Birthday Prince Jackson! Amazing that's he's 14 years old now! 🙂

    February 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lovely Janet

    I also reveal 3 tried and true techniques for eating P*SSY.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JanetsNIPPS

    Be sure to by my book as it has all kindve pics of my T@@TS in different positions and poses. Some of you might be surprised at who I have S*CKING on my ugly stretch marked T@@TS.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LEE

    EVERY FEW YEARS (since the mid 80's) JANET COMES OUT WITH MORE TALK ABOUT HER "BODY ISSUES" Please--SHUT UP JANET. This is getting old. Is there anything else on your mind than playing the victim of low self esteem. The second she drops the weight she is parading around naked for as many magazine covers as she can, You are a grown woman, find a new drama to whine about. Some people in the world have real problems. I swear amputee victims go on with their lives with much less fuss than Janet does about her fluxuating weight. Everyone has body issues. GET OVER IT AND YOURSELF.

    February 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. layne

    I don't know, it seems to me that every time a Jackson has something to promote...a book, film, concert or an album, there they are speaking about their brother once again. This particular sibling has made questionable statements about supposed 'interventions' and now sibling tussles that are on the cusp of questionable motivation, in my opinion. I have lost what respect I had for Janet with her continuing use of her brother's name to garner attention. I want to say shame on you; you of all people should know better

    February 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George

    Janet, I don't care if you bloat up to 300 pounds. I'll still think you're the greatest performer ever, including your late brother.

    February 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oh please

    this is NOTHING but a plug to sell a book

    give your book away for free and I might care about how NORMAL your life actually is.

    February 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jowee

    Ms. Jackson you will always be a hottie to me.Continue the wonderful triple threat you have always been. Miss ya Much, Mike.

    February 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tony

    janet IOVE you and your music tony from Ghana

    February 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ASSASSINews

    It seems CNN is having trouble finding new content. They posted the exact same crap months ago:

    February 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    Call me baby I will love you fat or skinny you are one attractive black woman I love you janet

    February 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Superhiro

    @Bee Here we go again with that racist oversensitivity. I am so sick and tired of black folk waiting for even the most remote trace of racism (and sometimes not even a trace) and they get offended. They are the ones who perpetuate the schism, not white people! Black proms, Black Power, Black magazines yada yada! Get over it African-Americans! All the slave owners are dead. Maybe you're not black......but you echo the sentiment.

    ...Yea guess what. People are tired of white people complaining about how they're tired of black people complaining. Thing is, at least with black people, they occasionally have a valid reason to complain.

    February 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Flash

    A little time in the gym would do wonders for your self image

    February 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bored With The Pity Party

    Like this is the first time Janet has "opened up" about her issues with body image. I love your music Janet, but pull it together already.

    February 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chico Esquala

    Too bad she isn't insecure about her singing...

    February 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Bill Bixby

    She wouldn't have issues with her body if she would lose some weight and stop eating Sandwiches made from cake and Miracle Whip.

    February 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jill

    Pretty is as pretty does, Miss Janet: Please stop wearing mink! How can you promote inner beauty when you encourage people to buy the skins of animals who were murdered for their outer beauty???

    February 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrea

      I'm with you on this! She's a total HYPOCRITE as far as what's beautiful and what isn't. ANYONE that thinks it's beautiful to wear the fur of a dead animal is UGLY in my eyes.

      February 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I'm glad you wrote that she wears mink (or any animal killed just for it's fur) I won't support any celebrity who does that.

      People with this kind of low self esteem can't stop talking about it and losing weight or working out won't help. They won't be happy with how they look no matter what. Her interview does once again highlight the toxic childhood they all experienced though.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  18. blitzwurfel

    @Bee Here we go again with that racist oversensitivity. I am so sick and tired of black folk waiting for even the most remote trace of racism (and sometimes not even a trace) and they get offended. They are the ones who perpetuate the schism, not white people! Black proms, Black Power, Black magazines yada yada! Get over it African-Americans! All the slave owners are dead. Maybe you're not black......but you echo the sentiment.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • @blitzwurf

      Ya...who gives a Dayum. Let them get and be offended. It only keeps them in the ghetto and ghetto mentality. They hurt no one but themselves with this silly self-persecution type behavior. And one other thing...*POOT* in all they faces.

      February 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome

      Well said. Enough already with the "racism."

      February 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Amen!!! Let's channel all that negative energy into looking at all the successful black Americans and the choices they made to rise above the poor and oppressed label.

      February 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ahem

    Janet opens her mouth for more hair pie.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  20. PK

    Funny.....she didn't have a problem with her image when she bared her boob during Super Bowl 38!

    February 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Dan T.

    Wow; that is interesting to note. Public personality like Ms. Jackson admitting to frailties. I've not been able be so bold, even as a non-public person, to reach out to others and seek assistance and guidance for painful issues. Mine are not so painful that I cause myself physical pain – I use other methods, like drawing people near just to push them away. I step on my own toes, impede any progress I make with little gestures that reassure, at first, then repulse. And so it goes...life continues.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  22. mark in nyc

    i guess this is why she married a man on the DL.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Slim

    It's amazing what lypo and a b00b job will get you.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  24. MD

    Oh boo hoo hoo for all the Jacksons.....

    February 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  25. kat

    she's a beautiful woman, but that's irrelevant. self-image is often irrational. we've all been there.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. jay

    Its called bdd syndrome and its REAL. Megan fox has it too. They r obsessional about their looks and spend so much time dwelling on flaws that they become huge to them and distorted. No matter how many compliments they get its meaningless becuz they don't love themselves.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • itzright

      SHEs HUMAN EVERY ONE HAS ISSUES~ HERS is JUST A OPEN BOOK its ok if she feels that way about herself AGE CONTROLS DESTINY! SHES HOT !

      February 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Odalice Feliz

    A lot of girls don't feel attractive growing up even if they are hott.
    I can't wait for Janet book to come-out it will be great.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  28. WOW

    Hey T-Rex... your Mother should of breast fed you and maybe you wouldn't be such an ASS loving person.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mona

    @ T-rex do everyone a favor log off.Its one thing to troll,your just plain creepy.

    February 8, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  30. Silver

    @Its Over and T-rex your comments are so ugly as if you never had issues to deal with in your lives.

    February 8, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  31. Bill Haurton

    Been seeing a lot of Janet lately. Great write up looking at the psychology behind those kind of self-esteem issues at crookedcopy.com

    February 8, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |

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