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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Jackson's secret marriage ends
Janet Jackson
Jackson kept the marriage secret to have a 'normal family life'
Singer Janet Jackson is being sued for divorce by the husband very few people knew she had.

Rene Elizondo, 37 - author of more than 30 of Jackson's songs and director of many of her videos - said he and Jackson married secretly in San Diego in 1991.

It pains me greatly that despite my sincere efforts, my marriage to Rene did not work out

Janet Jackson

Jackson, 34 - the younger sister of pop icon Michael Jackson - acknowledged the marriage saying that she had kept it private "in an effort to have a normal family life".

She added: "It pains me greatly that despite my sincere efforts, my marriage to Rene did not work out."

The couple were married by a priest in a ceremony at their shared San Diego home.

Elizondo said: "We decided early on that we wanted to keep our private life private. I'm surprised we kept it a secret so long."

The couple separated a year ago after 14 years of living together.

Elizondo's lawyer said negotiations over a financial settlement had been under way for several months.

Strong partnership

Elizondo said he met Jackson when she was 16. At the time, Elizondo was a "street dancer" appearing in commercials and music videos.

Over the last few years, the couple simply grew apart, he said, adding: "We actually became more business and creative partners than lovers."

Janet Jackson
Jackson met Elizondo when she was a teenager

Elizondo's lawyer said the couple had made a prenuptial agreement but that he would be challenging certain conditions.

He said he wanted to gain a "fair and equitable'' settlement considering that his client was ''instrumental in her career".

Janet Jackson is the youngest member of one of pop music's most famous families. She emerged in the 1980s with hits such as What Have You Done For Me Lately?, Miss You Much and The Best Things In Life Are Free.

Since then, she has gone on to become one of pop music's most commercially successful female artists, winning three Grammy awards in the US.

But Jackson's private life has been less happy. At 18, she ran away from home to marry her first husband, James DeBarge, much to her father's dismay.

That marriage was annulled less than a year later. In a 1997 interview with Wall of Sound magazine, Jackson credited Elizondo with helping her deal with a difficult past.

"I'm so thankful to have someone like him by my side," she said. "He stuck it out with me... that's what relationships are about.

"People are so ready to quit when things get tough. But if you say 'I want to spend my life with this person' you've got to get through those obstacles, and that's what makes it stronger in the end."

See also:

21 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Janet Jackson set for Nutty sequel
31 May 00 | Entertainment
Jackson's online venture
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