Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Janet Jackson grew up in the spotlight with all eyes on her, but that doesn't mean the 44-year-old has always been confident in her looks. In an interview with the Today show's Meredith Vieira, Jackson opens up about her lifelong struggle to maintain a positive self-image.
"I would literally bang my head up against the wall because I didn't feel attractive," the singer/actress says. "There was a lot of pain in my life. But I did. I felt very unattractive."
In her new book True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself, Jackson says she's happier with herself now than she was in her 20s. "I still have issues with (my self-image). I don't bang my head up against the wall, but I still have those moments," she tells Vieira. "And I think it'll probably continue, but at least I know to deal with it now. And I'm in a much better space."
Jackson tells Vieira her insecurity and weight issues stem from childhood, when she constantly compared herself to her sister Rebbie and was frequently berated by her older brothers. They had nicknames for her like "horse, pig, cow and slaughter-hog," and the late Michael Jackson particularly liked to tease his little sister about her rear end. "He never meant for it to be cruel," she says. "He didn't realize what the effect was that it was having on me... And it really affected me."
Jackson says she never told her brothers that their teasing hurt her because "that was just the kind of kid that I was. I never did. Never ever did... I got called a lot of names, a lot of names. I would laugh about it."
She acknowledges many will chalk her brothers' jeers up to "brothers and sisters joking" but says that "not everybody can brush it off, and I was one of those."
Jackson also tells Vieira about her father Joe Jackson's unique approach to parenting. "He said, 'I'm Joseph to you. You do not call me dad.' That affects you as a kid," she says. "I know my father loves me. He just has a very, very different way of showing it."
The singer's book, which comes out Feb. 15, is dedicated to her brother "Mike." The two were very close growing up and into their adult lives. "There's still not a day that goes by where I don't think about him," she says about the King of Pop. "Not one day. And -- (I'm) kind of pushing myself, forcing myself, to a certain degree, to get over this because it's -- not the healthiest."
"I just spent the night watching all his videos, listening to his music," she says in the interview. "And there were moments when I (felt the need to cry) and (there were) moments that made me laugh. And it was good for me. I needed it. Out of everyone in my family, I never had that moment to cry about his death."
Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician facing trial for involuntary manslaughter in the case of Michael Jackson's death, will be tried in a court that allows approved television cameras to film, according to CNN. In an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Janet Jackson admitted she was shocked by her brother's abuse of the drug propofol, but was outspoken about her belief that Dr. Murray was to blame for her brother's death. "He was the one administering," she said. "I think he is responsible."
Jackson's interview with Vieira airs Friday morning on the Today show.
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