It’s no secret that the Jackson family have built an empire for themselves throughout their many years in the limelight. Sadly, things haven’t always been simple for them. From legal scandals to personal issues and everything in between, it seems the Jacksons are still trying to keep some of their deepest secrets away from the limelight.
Joe and Katherine Jackson were worried about the bad neighborhood they lived in
Joe and Katherine are the pair behind the famous Jackson children: Janet, La Toya, Rebbie, Randy, Marlon, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, and Michael. Together, they grew to become one of the most famous families of all time, but it seems that things got off to a bumpy start for the group. That was largely thanks to the neighborhood they grew up in.
The Jacksons lived in Gary, Indiana, with the family later telling GQ Magazine that it “wasn’t the safest place to live.” Apparently, Joe constantly worried about his children getting caught up with gangs and illegal substances, so he often made his sons move bricks from one side of the yard to the other and back again. This was all before music dominated the family.
Katherine filed for divorce twice but never went through with the proceedings
Believe it or not, but things might not have been all roses behind closed doors. That’s because Katherine Jackson filed for divorce not once but twice throughout their marriage. La Toya later confessed that her mom never thought about splitting the family, but documents released by Fox News appear to paint a different story. The first came in 1973.
However, Katherine allegedly changed her mind when she spoke to elders within her church. Joe later admitted that the couple put their differences aside when they realized they loved one another. Still, the bliss didn’t last as Katherine filed for divorce again six years later, stating she was unhappy and their relationship was strained. That was until someone convinced her to change her mind again.
Joe Jackson fathered a child while he was still married to Katherine
Although we now know that Katherine filed for two divorces throughout her marriage, not everyone knows the real reason for the second split. It turns out that was all to do with Joe – and the fact he was unfaithful to his wife. In the end, Katherine and Joe lived in separate houses, with the former living in California and the latter in Las Vegas.
In 1974, Joe welcomed a new member to the family as Joh’Vonnie was born. The daughter completed Joe’s 25-year affair with Cheryle Terrell, but things weren’t simple. Joh’Vonnie later opened up about her relationship with her family in her book. Here, she stated that she always got along with her father and called him “dad.’” However, Joh’Vonnie says she wasn’t that close with her half-siblings.
The Jacksons weren’t allowed to play outside as Joe wanted them to focus on music
It seems that Joe Jackson might have been more focused on building a musical career for his family than any of his children. Sadly, the dedication to becoming stars meant the children lost out on several aspects of a typical childhood. Jermaine later told The Guardian that Joe was always cold towards the kids, never said that he loved them, and that no one could remember “him holding us or cuddling us.”
In the end, the obsession with becoming a famous musical group took over, as Joe banned his children from spending any of their free time playing outside or spending time with other children. Instead, he wanted them to grow together, so everyone had to practice music for up to five hours a day after school.
The children, especially Michael, were terrified of their father
It’s one thing to push your children to achieve their true potential, but it’s another to force them into doing something so much that they’re terrified of you. Sadly, this appears to be what happened to most of the Jackson children when it came to Joe, especially Michael. The Associated Press is one of the many publications to report on it all.
It’s said that Micahel would often get physically ill whenever he saw his father as he was so scared of Joe. Janet also admitted to the Associated Press that none of the kids were allowed to call Joe “dad.” Instead, they were made to call him “Joseph.” The behavior was enough for all of them to separate from Joe as soon as they were adults.
Joe Jackson would reportedly abuse the children if they made any mistake
It might come as little surprise that the Jackson children were afraid of Joe when people learned about what allegedly took place behind closed doors. The Guardian reports that he would often use a cord or belt to abuse the children, especially if any of them made mistakes while they were practicing.
To make matters worse, claims state that Joe would use a branch cut off a tree if there was nothing else available. It’s often been said that Michael would get the worst of it. This could have been to do with the fact that Michael allegedly became aware of the size of his house and was embarrassed at school, leading to Joe reportedly calling his son “Big Nose.”
The Jackson 5 were expected to perform no matter what
Being a child performer nowadays comes with plenty of rules about how long someone is able to work and how to balance the work-school life. Sadly, it appears they were things missing from the Jackson children’s lives through their childhood. Jermaine Jackson later wrote the book ‘You Are Not Alone: Michael’ where he opened up about what life was like behind closed doors.
Jermaine claims that they were forced to spend their weekends on the road. They would also allegedly get home at 2 am on school nights after a performance. To top it off, Jermaine wrote that Joe was once jumped by a group of men in front of his sons. Rather than cancel the show, Joe told the group they still had to perform.