Janet Jackson, 55, dated Jermaine Dupri, 49, for seven years — and the amicable exes are finally revealing what lead to their unexpected break-up in 2009. The “Welcome To Atlanta” rapper point blank admitted, “me being reckless” in the fourth part of the new Janet documentary on Lifetime and A&E, which aired on Jan. 29. “One of the weird things is that dating Janet attracts other women — girls wanted to talk to me more because I was dating her…and I’m a man,” Jermaine confessed, addressing rumors that he had cheated. The couple started dating in 2002.
Janet had heard the same murmurs during the long distance courtship, which had him in Atlanta, Georgia and her in Los Angeles, California. “I had heard he was cheating,” she said. “But there were other things…I needed more than he was giving me. He was a workaholic and he was constantly working — as soon as he was done working, after he would go to the club. I would ask him to carve out a little time for me,” she said.
— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) September 23, 2021
The producer and rapper established himself in the ’90s and early ’00s with tracks like Mariah Carey‘s “Sweetheart,” Jagged Edge‘s “Where The Party At,” putting together Kandi Burruss‘ group Xscape, and beyond — nabbing him one GRAMMY win and 12 nominations. Beyond his work with other artists, he also released several albums of his own, including 1998’s Life In 1472 and 2001’s Instructions.
“I always felt that he didn’t have enough time for a girlfriend…I would say that work was his girlfriend,” the Poetic Justice actress said in retrospect, before the documentary cut to an old clip of her saying she wanted to have “as many kids” as Jermaine would give her. Back in the present, she said she thought Jermaine was “it” for her at the time.
Several months into the romance, the couple also had to weather the storm of Janet’s Super Bowl scandal with Justin Timberlake — creating a different dynamic for the two. “I’m sure I could have fought much harder and it would have been something that never gone away,” Jermaine added, reflecting on the length of their seven year relationship. “I dated her longer than her marriages,” he noted, referencing her past nuptials to James DeBarge in 1984, which was annulled, and second union to René Elizondo Jr. from 1991 – 2000 (René and Janet began dating shortly after her annulment from James, marking her longest romance overall).
Regardless of the relationship ending, Janet and Jermaine have remained amicable. “She’s one of the sexiest women in the world, I think she gave more women confidence to try everything,” he said. “I feel like we’re always going to have a friendship, regardless of what I’m doing or who’s in my life, or regardless of what’s going on.” The feeling was mutual on Janet’s part, who said repeatedly that Jermaine is “a great guy.” In 2021, the Gary, Indiana native even posted a sweet birthday message for Jermaine in 2021, writing, “sending luv to u today.”
After splitting from Jermaine, the Control singer wed Wissam Al Mana, 47, in 2012. Shortly after the singer and Qatari businessman welcomed their son Eissa, now 5, Janet revealed that they had separated.