E News:By Seija Rankin
Janet Jackson has performed her greatest trick yet.
The last time the pop star was fully present in the spotlight, she was gearing up to go on tour. It was June, 2015, and the concerts she had teased earlier that spring were just made official.
It was to be called the Unbreakable World Tour, and it touted a much-anticipated new album, the first since 2008’s Discipline. The fans were ready and waiting—in fact, they were more than ready. One of pop music’s most prolific artists, Jackson had been cranking out hits for decades, but had been noticeably pulling back as of late. It’s her right, of course, but it just made the prospect of Unbreakable, and the 36 stadium shows, that much more exciting.
Then, cut to less than a year later, and the concert was postponed to an as-yet-undecided date. In other realms of Hollywood, this could be the start of a tragic story—but instead, it seems that Janet has finally received the happy ending she’s deserved. The world tour waiting game may seem tragic to fans, but Jackson has much bigger and better things going on right now.
It all started, as the best stories do, as a love story.
After a few ill-fated marriages in the past, Janet met Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana at a hotel opening in 2010. Their courtship was the stuff of legends, as they went jet setting from Dubai to Sardinia and everywhere in between. They announced their engagement in 2012 and slowly started flying more and more under the radar as Jackson traded public celebrity for quiet private life.
Of course, that didn’t stop them from gushing about each other whenever possible—like when Al Mana told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia “I’m fortunate enough to be dating my dream woman” with Jackson adding, “We have a deep bond, a deep connection.”
Then, the next thing anyone knew, the couple had secretly wed in a private ceremony. Rumors started flying in early 2013 that Jackson and Al Mana were planning a lavish Qatari wedding, complete with all-expenses paid trips to Doha for guests and $10,000 Rolexes as party favors. Never one to let a falsehood keep spreading, Janet decided to break her relative silence on their relationship and just spill the beans.
The singer, surprisingly, revealed that the two had tied the knot in complete secrecy, even deciding to donate to children’s charities as their wedding gifts to each other. (Cue the collective aww.) All of this makes the motivation behind the postponement of the Unbreakable World Tour even sweeter: Janet and Wissam were expecting their first child. (Cue even more awws.)
The decision to place a hold on her career in order to focus on having her first child at long last set in motion the plans that led to her cozy, insular life today. Once it was decided that performances wouldn’t be happening—it’s easy to guess it was on doctor’s orders, as Jackson was pregnant at the age of 50—she went straight into nesting mode. According to E!’s sources, Janet and her husband began enjoying a low-key life split between Dubai and Qatar, citing far greater privacy than they could ever expect to get in the States.
“They pretty much keep to themselves,” the source said last April. “They are very happy. Janet goes out here and there for events at times but mainly keeps a low profile.”
She was also thrilled to be finally starting a family of her own, after watching her siblings have children for years; she felt it was finally her year and her time. In other words, it was her turn for complete happiness.
Then, on January 3, 2017, Jackson gave birth to her very first child. The bundle of joy was a baby boy named Eissa Al Mana, and Janet’s rep told E! News at the time that he arrived during a “stress-free, healthy delivery,” which came as a relief after a pregnancy that was anything but easy. The star relied heavily on her doctors during the pregnancy, and was surrounded by a host of family, friends and well-wishers during the baby’s early days.
By all accounts, it was a blissful time. Sources reported to E! that throughout all of the sleepless nights and everything else that comes with raising a newborn, Jackson felt extremely blessed and was “so excited” to be a mom. She has spent most of Eissa’s early days and weeks holed up at their London home—the family decided to finally put down solid roots in England. The new family entertained visitors, like sister Rebbie Jackson and mother Katherine Jackson, but stayed completely out of the limelight.
In fact, the singer has barely been spotted at all during the three months since Eissa was born, save for a few family-related errands. Her new routine includes working her way back to an exercise regimen and stocking up on baby necessities at chic local shops, like Blue Almonds, which sells luxury children’s clothing and accessories.
When Jackson does step out, she looks every part the relaxed mother. Gone is her former penchant for all things leather, gone are the over-the-top jewels we came to know (and love) her for. Instead, she opts for pure comfort: scarves and sweatpants, and not a stitch of makeup to be found. It’s not the Janet Jackson we’re used to, but all signs point to this as the totally new normal.
In fact, according to our sources, this quiet life seems to suit her far better than her days of, say, flashing the Super Bowl audience alongside Justin Timberlake. “She is a really zen person,” a source close to the singer said of her current state. “She is in her element. She loves being a mom and this is what she has been waiting her whole life for.”
Things are also great for the rest of the Jackson-Al Mana family—Eissa is always smiling (especially when Mommy Janet sings to him) and her relationship with Wissam is doing “really well.”
But, no famous family can be completely without controversy. For the Jacksons, their current turmoil centers around mother Katherine and the current elder abuse lawsuit that has been levied against nephew Trent Jackson. The trial proceedings are ongoing in Los Angeles, but Katherine has been spending as much time in London as possible—in part to escape the drama on the west coast, but also to visit with Janet and her new grandson.
So what’s next for one of the biggest pop stars of our time? That’s only for Janet to say. We wouldn’t be surprised if she relishes in this period for as long as possible. The Unbreakable World Tour still looms, but at this time there have been no decisions made or updates given on the status of rescheduling. Live Nation did not return E! News’ requests for information, but exactly one year ago the released a statement saying “The Janet Jackson Unbreakable Tour in North America will be postponed until 2017. New dates will be announced at a later time, and tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates.”
In the meantime, Janet will keep at the Mom game, and her fans will have to settle for watching old concert videos on YouTube. Yet somehow, it’s hard to believe that anybody is mad about that.