Inside Janet Jackson's Relationship With Her Brother Michael Jackson

Janet Jackson is without a doubt the most successful musician in the Jackson family next to Michael, who died from cardiac arrest in 2009, according to Britannica. Though too young to perform in the Jackson 5, which was a Jackson family musical group with which her brother Michael first made his name, she nevertheless followed in the family footsteps. She ultimately became one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, responsible for hits like "Rhythm Nation 1814" and "Control," among others. A two-part documentary exploring the life of the singer called "JANET" premieres January 28, 2022, on Lifetime and A&E, per Harper's Bazaar.

Beyond Michael Jackson's controversial death, Jackson family turmoil is never far from the headlines, even today. Janet, however, had an especially close relationship with her brother from a very young age, supporting the superstar at the height of his celebrity in the '80s and '90s, and throughout his career. Among other notable topics, Jackson's close bond with Michael is explored in the upcoming Janet Jackson documentary. Understanding Janet's relationship with her late brother Michael will provide important context for the TV special.

She took care of Michael

Eight years older than Janet, Michael Jackson was already a wildly famous singer and performer by the time his sister was 14 years old. He embarked on his own solo career apart from the family group in 1979, with his debut solo album "Off the Wall," per Britannica. At this time, Janet, the youngest of nine children, was already close with Michael. She was a child actress as well as an occasional singer and performer. The two siblings spent a lot of time together. As Michael's star ascended during, Janet also became responsible for his personal well-being, as ABC News reports.

Part of Janet's duties, at that point, was behind the scenes, shopping for Michael, doing laundry, and even cleaning his room. When Jackson family matriarch, Katherine Jackson, left the two together, Janet recalled her saying, "I'm leaving you in charge. Take care of Michael" (via ABC News). Janet Jackson also played a part in influencing her brother's iconic wardrobe. She was there when he picked a sparkly jacket that belonged to their mother to wear during the 25th Anniversary of Motown special. She remembers her brother dancing so much, he often wore holes in the soles of his penny loafers. According to Janet, "If it was shiny, if it had any kind of bling, he loved it."

He wanted her to take care of his children

Janet and Michael Jackson's bond remained strong through the ups and down of his career, even as Janet's own career took off, with some of her most well-known albums like "Control" and "Rhythm Nation" coming in the mid-to-late '80s, per Biography. Michael and Janet Jackson even made a music video together for his song, "Scream," in 1995, an experience Janet Jackson remembers fondly, according to Women Working. "We had so much fun back then. We would organize our days together," she said.

The trust between the two siblings was so strong, in fact, Michael wanted Janet to take care of his three children should he die, even changing his will to put her in charge of his kids rather than his mother, Katherine. "He wanted her to make sure the children would be loved and cared for in the same way he was raising them. She told him, of course, she would," a source close to the family said, per DigitalSpy. As Daily Mail reports, however, relations between Janet and Michael's daughter Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson (pictured above) were seemingly strained following the 2018 death of Janet's father and Paris' grandfather, Joe Jackson, at the age of 89.

The last time she saw her brother

Janet Jackson was worried about her brother prior to his tragic death at the age of 50, as was the entire Jackson family. At a party only a month before he died, she recalled him looking unhealthy and thin. "We knew that he had a problem; we all did," she said, per CNN. "People think we were in denial, but we weren't. We tried intervention several times."

Nevertheless, the siblings had one last good time together before tragedy struck, "The last time we were together, he'd laugh so hard, he'd just start crying," she said, via ABC News. Janet was distraught in the aftermath of her brother's highly publicized death, reportedly avoiding all media for two months. Despite the purported personal setback between Janet and Paris Jackson, the family has reportedly remained close. At Jackson's memorial, Paris spoke well of Michael as a father, providing great comfort to his sister.