Janet Jackson may be expecting a child with husband Wissam Al Mana at the age of 49, but is this really her first child?
RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that Jackson may have had a daughter during her first marriage to James DeBarge in her late teens and kept the pregnancy a secret from him and the world.
In the first bombshell interview in decades, DeBarge opens up to Radar about his belief that Jackson did give birth to a baby girl.
According to DeBarge, a young woman claiming to be his daughter recently reached out to him.
"Someone had contacted me. She spoke to me by email," he said. "The first time was two years ago. I have not been able to directly see her face-to-face."
The young woman suggested that they take a paternity test, but that hasn't happened yet.
"She suggested it," DeBarge said, adding that he has yet to meet the woman because he's afraid.
DeBarge also confirms that when the woman contacted him, she admitted to being Jackson's daughter.
"She did but without saying it," he said. "She was angry because another child was trying to come forward and say that she was our child. So she did out of anger."
"She described as much as she could tell me because she was very fearful at the time," he continued. "She was very angry about people running with this story about this other child being my baby. She got very angry. She's like, 'Papa I want to help you out.' She had so much of personality and she was so accurate with everything she was saying, it was only things that I and Janet know. No one else but god, me and Janet."
DeBarge says the woman wanted to keep their new connection private.
"She called me 'papa,'" DeBarge said. "She didn't want to get her mom in trouble. She wanted to do it quietly. She didn't even want Janet to know."
DeBarge claims that in the emails he received, he found out Jackson had allegedly put their daughter up for adoption.
"One of her adoptive parents died," he said. "Her adoptive mother and on her death bed said she told her. She confirmed it on the deathbed."
In the beginning, he had suspected that Jackson had a baby, and even went on a search to find her, but had no luck.
"I hadn't known that Janet had a baby… not for sure," he said. "I went on a search. Someone went through some serious changes to make it impossible for me to find. This had to be some serious inside work being done with the paperwork. Someone was working with them."
So when the girl emailed him, DeBarge was overwhelmed by emotions.
"I was hurt and I didn't know why I was hurt," he said. "I think I was hurt because I had mixed emotions. I felt kind of left out and I felt like it was unfair. At first, I felt like this was the worst thing in the world that happened to me. I was so depressed by it at first."
DeBarge claims that he wouldn't have cut the girl out of his life had he known she existed for sure.
"It would have to be hidden from me if she wasn't a part of my life all the time and I didn't know anything about her," he explained. "There's no way it could not have been hidden. I didn't know. Had I known, I would never have kept it a secret. I would have been very proud of her."
According to DeBarge, he believes Jackson didn't tell him about the child because of "fear."
"Fear and lots of pressure," he noted. "From every angle, from inside and outside… Not knowing how it could hurt her career. A lot of outside influences were involved in our whole relationship to where we didn't have a chance from the gate."
DeBarge also says that people gave him and Jackson a hard time about their relationship even before the baby rumors started.
"They didn't want us to have anything," he said. "There were times when I was jumped, physically, and attacked. It was dangerous to the point that I was afraid to go outside."
In 1994, nearly nine years after DeBarge and Jackson's teen marriage had been annulled, Star magazine published a series of articles talking about the rumors of a mystery daughter.
In one article, DeBarge's mother revealed that she believed that Jackson had been pregnant, went away for a long time, and then when she came back, that's when she told DeBarge she wanted to end their marriage.
"I saw Janet before she left, and from what I could see, she was definitely pregnant," Etterlene DeBarge told the magazine. "She wasn't fooling anyone."
That same article claimed that the DeBarge family launched an investigation to find the child.
And in an open letter published in the magazine that same year, DeBarge himself cried out to Jackson to reveal the truth to him.
"I don't care how no good I was," he said in that letter. "I feel like you should have gotten in contact with me about the baby."
"I don't want to live the rest of my life not knowing the truth," DeBarge begged. "I just want my child to know I'm her father."
Jackson's rep did not comment on this story.