Jackson Family Members: The Famous Family Tree Explained
The Jackson family is one of the biggest in the entertainment world. Since the 1960s the Jackson name has been synonymous with the music industry, with many of the Jackson family members becoming huge stars and cementing the Jackson legacy. It all started with the patriarch of the family, Joe Jackson, who along with his wife Katherine Jackson, put their nine children to work in the music business, helping push several of them to become massive stars.
Each member of the family has had various degrees of success over the years, with Michael Jackson and his sister Janet Jackson being the two most well-known Jackson family members. But like so many large families, tragedy has hit the Jackson’s several times over the years, with the first notable incident happening when Brandon Jackson, the twin brother of Marlon, died at birth in 1957. That was just the first of many unfortunate things to plague the Jackson family over the years.
This article looks at the Jackson’s and the success and failures each member of the family has experienced. There are four generations of Jackson kids running around since Joe and Katherine got together, so read on and discover more about this famous showbiz family.
Jackson Family Members: The Famous Family Tree Explained
1. Joe Jackson
Born Joseph Walter Jackson in 1928, Joe Jackson was the eldest of five children. After his parents divorced he went to live with his father in Oakland, California. He didn’t finish school and pursued a career in boxing, which is when he met Katherine Jackson. The two quickly married and started a family, going on to have ten children (one of which died at birth).
Needing to support his family, Joe gave up boxing and became a crane operator. He also dabbled in music, playing guitar in his brother’s blues band The Falcons without much success. When he noticed his own children taking an interest in music, Joe immediately started pushing them in that direction, moving the family to Los Angeles and creating the Jackson 5.
Joe played a huge part in his children’s becoming successful but was also known for his abusive behavior toward them, particularly Michael. Despite all this, Joe was celebrated by the industry and inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. He won several other awards and still played a large part in his children’s lives until his death from pancreatic cancer at age 89.
2. Katherine Jackson
Katherine Scruse wanted to be an actress or singer as a child but never got to achieve that dream. Instead, she watched as her children became stars and got to experience fame through them. Unlike her husband Joe, who was often front and center of the Jackson clan during the early years, Katherine was quiet and shy, keeping to herself and rarely seen on stage with her kids.
A devoted Jehovah’s Witness, Katherine was persuaded by the church to stay married to Joe despite his frequent infidelities during the 70s, something she detailed in her 1990 autobiography My Family. While they did eventually separate, the two stayed married, with Katherine the official guardian of Michael’s three children until they became old enough to look after themselves.
3. Rebbie Jackson
The eldest of the Jackson siblings, Rebbie Jackson (full name Maureen Reillette Jackson) was born in 1950. Although she wasn’t part of the famous Jackson 5, she did eventually get her chance to shine in the 80s when she released her debut album, Centipede, in 1984. The album contained contributions from her brother Michael and Prince and featured two top 40 Billboard hits.
Rebbie would go on to release two more albums – Reaction in 1986 and R U Tuff Enuff in 1988 – and married her childhood sweetheart, Nathaniel Brown when she was just 18. The two had three kids; Stacee Jackson; born May 5, 1971, Yashi Jackson; born October 5, 1977, and Austin Jackson; born November 22, 1985, before Brown’s tragic death from cancer in 2013. Rebbie is also a grandmother to London Blue Salas, born July 25, 2005.
4. Jackie Jackson
Born a year after his sister Rebbie, Jackie Jackson (real name Sigmund Esco) is the eldest of the Jackson Five. He initially found success as a trio with younger siblings Tito and Jermaine before the Jackson 5 became a thing.
Not only was Jackie the defacto leader of the Jackson 5, but he was a pretty handy baseball player. He even got drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1970, but his music career took precedence. As well as success with his brothers, Jackie recorded two solo albums (Jackie Jackson and Be the One) and ran two music companies, Jesco Records and Futurist Entertainment.
He has been married three times and also dated Paula Abdul when she was a Laker girl. Jackie has four children; Sigmund “Siggy” Jackson Jr. (born June 29, 1977), Brandi Jackson (born February 6, 1982), and twins River and Jaylen Jackson (born December 30, 2014).
5. Tito Jackson
Toriano Adaryll “Tito” Jackson is another key member of the Jackson 5. A singer and guitarist, Tito didn’t embark on his solo career until he reached his 60s with the release of his debut album Tito Time. The blues record was a surprise hit, led by the single “Get It Baby” featuring rapper Big Daddy Kane.
As a youngster, Tito was forbidden to play his father’s guitar, but like all kids, he didn’t listen and would sneak into Joe’s room and play the guitar when he wasn’t home. He eventually got caught when he broke a guitar string. Instead of getting angry, Joe sat his son down and made him play for him. Impressed with what he heard, he bought Tito his own guitar and drafted him into the first Jackson group alongside brothers Jackie and Jermaine.
Tito married Delores “Dee Dee” Martes in 1972 when he was just 18, with the two divorcing in 1988. They had three children together; Toriano Adaryll “Taj” Jackson II (born August 4, 1973), Taryll Adren Jackson (born August 8, 1975), and Tito Joe Jackson (born July 16, 1978). Together the three boys formed the musical group 3T, with Tito as their manager. He also has six grandchildren from his three sons.
6. Jermaine Jackson
Arguably the most famous male Jackson sibling outside of Michael, Jermaine Jackson was the second-best vocalist in the Jackson 5 along with the group’s bassist. Behind his siblings Michael and Janet, Jermaine has had the most solo success, releasing 13 albums and earning a Grammy Award nomination for his 1980 album Let’s Get Serious.
As well as being an accomplished musician and singer, Jackson also dabbled in production. He produced many of his own songs as well as his siblings while also working with the likes of Whitney Houston, Al Walser, and Switch. Jermaine experienced a second wind during the mid-00s when he appeared on several reality TV shows. He came second in the fifth season of Celebrity Big Brother UK, was part of the second season of Gone Country, and appeared on season three of Celebrity Wife Swap in 2014.
Married and divorced three times, Jermaine has seven children; Jermaine La Jaune “Jay” Jackson Jr., (born January 27, 1977), Autumn Joi Jackson (born June 16, 1978), Jaimy Jermaine Jackson (born March 17, 1987), Jeremy Maldonado Jackson (born December 26, 1986), Jourdynn Michael Jackson (born January 5, 1989), Jaafar Jermiah Jackson (born July 25, 1996), and Jermajesty Jermaine Jackson (born October 7, 2000).
7. La Toya Jackson
The middle child of the Jackson family, La Toya Jackson has had quite the entertainment career. She got her start on the family’s variety television series, The Jacksons, before embarking on her own solo music career in the 80s. Between 1980 and 1995 she released ten albums and won a Grammy Award for her contribution to Jimmy Cliff’s Cliff Hanger, which picked up the award for Best Reggae Album in 1986.
Her music career hit a snag in the 90s thanks to her controversial marriage to Jack Gordon, who was also her manager. He helped sexualize La Toya, much to the anger of her family. La Toya posed for Playboy twice while also ditching religion. Godron turned out to be a monster, controlling every part of Lay Toya’s life for over a decade.
During this time she also lost contact with her family. Gordon repeatedly beat La Toya and she lived in fear for many years. It wasn’t until she discovered he was going to force her into pornography that Lay Toya reached out to her younger brother Randy. He helped her escape Gordon and rebuild her life, with Lay Toya welcomed back into the Jackson family.
Since getting her life back on track, La Toya has appeared in several reality shows including Celebrity Big Brother UK in 2009, Celebrity Apprentice in 2011, and her own show, Life With Toya in 2013. She has also written two books, La Toya: Growing Up in the Jackson Family (1991) and Starting Over (2011), while making several appearances on the Masked Singer.
8. Marlon Jackson
When it comes to Jackson family members who could dance, Marlon was the only one who could challenge Michael in the moves department. While he did play a major role in the Jackson 5, he was often overlooked by the public. He released his one and only solo album in 1987, Baby Tonight, before stepping away from the music industry.
He made his bones in real estate before going on to run the Major Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). He is currently in charge of the Study Peace Foundation. Unlike his siblings, Marlon is still married to his first major girlfriend, Carol Ann Parker, with the two tying the knot in 1975. They have three children together; Valencia Caroline Jackson (born December 18, 1976), Brittany Shauntee Jackson (born September 4, 1978), and Marlon David Jackson Jr. (born September 23, 1981).
9. Michael Jackson
The most successful and controversial of all the Jackson family members, Michael Jackson will go down as one of the greats. A singing prodigy, the Jackson 5 was based around Michael’s incredible vocal talents. After success with both the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons, Michael went solo and hit the big time with his fifth album Off the Wall. This led to Michael teaming up with producer Quincy Jones for one of the greatest albums of all time, 1982s Thriller. The album has sold over 70 million copies worldwide and won eight Grammy Awards – the equal highest total in music history alongside Santana’s Supernatural.
Jackson would go on to release several more massive albums, resulting in him being crowned the “King of Pop.” He inspired a generation of musicians and singers and became a pop sensation across the globe. But there was also a dark side to Michael’s success, with the “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Black or White” singer rumored to have whitened his skin and repeatedly been accused of sexual abuse of children.
Although he managed to beat the child abuse charges in court, they lingered around Michael right up until his sudden death in 2009 after a heart attack linked to an overdose of medication. After his death, many more people stepped forward and told their stories about being abused by Michael, while several documentaries damaging his reputation even more.
Jackson is survived by his ex-wife Debbie Rowe and their three children; Prince Jackson (born February 13, 1997), Paris Jackson (born April 3, 1998), and Bigi Jackson (formerly Blanket Jackson, born on February 21, 2002). He was also married to Lisa Marie Presley for a short time.
10. Randy Jackson
Poor old Randy Jackson was too young to join the Jackson 5 and had to wait until the formation of the Jacksons before he could flex his musical talent. After the Jacksons, Randy formed his own band, Randy & the Gypsys, releasing one album. He went on to co-found Total Multimedia Inc and started his own record label, Modern Records, in 1998.
Randy is currently a co-partner with his sister Janet in the independent record label Rhythm Nation Records. He has been married and divorced and suffered several high-profile legal cases, including a battery charge, disputed child support, and bankruptcy. He has three children from two different mothers; Genevieve Jackson (born December 3, 1989), Stevanna Jackson (born June 17, 1990), and Steven Randall Jackson Jr. (born October 3, 1991).
11. Janet Jackson
The baby of the Jackson family is also one of the most successful. While Michael may have been the “King of Pop,” there is no doubt Janet Jackson was close to being the “Queen of Pop,” especially during the late 80s and early 90s. Getting her first big break in The Jacksons, Janet had a semi-successful career in TV during her youth. She also starred in Good Times (1977 to 1979) and Diff’rent Strokes (1980 to 1984) before her passion for music took over.
The release of her third and fourth albums, Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), turned the American singer into a megastar who would be a chart mainstay in the 90s with five Grammy Awards. She courted controversy in 2004 during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show when Justin Timberlake exposed her breast during a performance. This resulted in Janet being blacklisted by the industry for several years, with the “That’s the Way Love Goes” singer now releasing music independently, with her last album, Unbreakable, arriving in 2015. She even had a sold-out residency at Park Theater in the Park MGM hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2019.
Janet has been married and divorced three times (James DeBarge 1984-1985,
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