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Jackson Daughter Claim Sets Off Chatter

Janet Jackson´s former brother-in-law set off a deluge of water cooler chatter when he claimed the singer has an 18-year-old daughter, Renee, with her first husband, James DeBarge. Young DeBarge, a 28-year-old aspiring singer, said Renee has been living with Rebbie Jackson, Janet´s oldest sister, and that “James and the Jackson family kept everything real close, real tight.” Janet Jackson´s spokespeople didn´t return calls for comment Monday or Tuesday. The whereabouts of Rebbie Jackson and James DeBarge were unknown. Janet and James were married for three months in 1984. Simple math means an 18-year-old daughter would have been born about 1987, shortly after Jackson released her breakthrough album, “Control.” Young DeBarge´s claim was no surprise to Jackson fans, who have long spoken of a “secret child” from her tumultuous marriage to DeBarge, a singer in the family R&B group DeBarge. Not surprisingly, it´s difficult for celebrities to keep secrets. The last such bombshell might be the 2003 disclosure that longtime U.S. senator and former segregationist Strom Thurmond had a black daughter. Whether Renee would make that public step remains to be seen. At 18, it´s (legally) her destiny and Young DeBarge did say, “She´s a wonderful singer.”

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