Pictures from the October 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, where Janet Jackson gives a world exclusive interview following her brother Michael Jackson’s death.
The last time Janet saw Michael was on May 14, two days before her 43rd birthday. It was a family celebration, the Jackson kids were running around, and she and her big brother hung out, ate Thai food, and tormented each other. “We had so much fun that day,” she says, her soft voice almost inaudible. “We kept calling each other after and saying how great it was.”
Janet left soon after to start work on Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too. She was on set in Atlanta when she got the call that Michael had died. She immediately returned to L.A., plunging headlong into a private family grief served up to a ravenous public. Of course, one of the most moving images from the memorial service was of Michael’s daughter, Paris, who stepped up to the microphone and said, “Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine” before grabbing her aunt Janet for support. “I was really proud,” Janet recalls. “People said to me that Michael’s daughter speaking really gave them a sense of how he was as a father, in her words. Paris is incredibly smart; they are all so smart. She’s a sweet girl. The kids are doing well. They’re with all their cousins; that family love will keep them going.”