While the Jackson family has had much to grieve over since the loss of Michael Jackson on June 25, in a new interview with the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Janet Jackson shared some of her happy memories of her late brother.
“We had so much fun back then,” she said, reminiscing about their shoot for the “Scream” music video in 1995. “We would organize our days together and go out for vegetarian lunch at the Golden Temple in L.A. We were so busy, but we’d make time.”
She revealed that the last day they’d spent together was May 14, 2009 — just over a month before his death at the age of 50.
“We had so much fun that day,” she said. “We kept calling each other after and saying how great it was… The last time we were together, he’d laugh so hard, he would just start crying.”
Janet said she hasn’t paid much attention to the media frenzy that’s gone on since his death, telling the mag, “It will drive you crazy.”
“People can have rhinoceros skin, but there’s a point when something’s going to hurt you,” she said. “Not everyone is stone, stone. I haven’t watched the news in weeks. I had to ask my chef, How’s Obama doing? I haven’t read a newspaper. On top of that, [we’ve lost] a family member.”
The singer/actress was on set of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too” in Atlanta when she heard the news, and immediately joined the Jackson family in LA, where she appeared at the public memorial at Staples Center. The day was a blur, she said, except for Michael’s children.
“I was really proud [of Paris],” Janet said, referring to Michael’s daughter’s passionate remarks about her father. “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.”
As for herself, Janet said she’s learned she has her mother, Katherine’s, strength.
“I always wanted to have my mother’s [Katherine Jackson] strength, but I didn’t know if it was really there. But a few years back, something happened and I learned that I did,” she said. “I’m not going to mention it, but we all know what it is. And now, coming off all this, it’s even beyond that. I was just focused on my job at that moment within my family. Now at least I know that I can step up to the plate and not crumble when I’m needed. When it comes to something like this that is so, so serious, so painful, so traumatic, I can handle it.”
Now, she’s working on a new album and focusing on her work.
“I’ve been doing okay,” she said, explaining that she’d taken a few days at the beach for herself before heading to the studio. “Work helps focus all of that energy on something that is of value to you.”
She’s also wrapping up a book, “True You,” about diet and self-esteem.
“It was originally about weight loss,” she said. “But I wanted it to be more about my triggers. I can be an emotional eater. Of late, I have been doing that, yes. It started when I was very little.
“I wish I’d had a book like this when I was that young,” she continued. “People forget that everyone has things going on.”
Thinking about her personal life, the single singer – who split with producer Jermaine Dupri after a long relationship – said marriage or kids may be in her future, “if God wants me to.”
“I’ve had people ask me out,” she said. “I haven’t entertained any offers thus far… Sure, I’d adopt. And I think that if I’m really supposed ot have kids, it will happen, if that’s God’s plan for me.”
But as she continues with her career, it’s Michael’s advice that she remembers.
“‘You need to stop and enjoy it. Think about everything you’ve done, all that you’ve accomplished,’ [he told me],” Janet said. “But there’s so much more I want to do.”