Janet Jackson secretly marries once again


The sibling group The Staples Singers, from left, Pervis, Cleotha, Pops, Mavis, and Yvonne at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York on March 15, 1999. Cleotha Staples, the eldest sibling in the highly influential gospel group died last Friday at her Chicago home after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the last decade. She was 78. (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.

Janet Jackson knows how to keep a secret: The singer has been married since last year.

A representative for Jackson confirmed Monday that the musician and Wissam Al Mana wed last year.

This is Jackson's second secret marriage. She secretly married Rene Elizondo Jr. in 1991. They separated in 1999.

The 46-year-old Jackson first tied the knot when she was 18 to singer James DeBarge, which lasted three months in 1984.

In a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight, Jackson and Al Mana said their wedding was a "quiet, private and beautiful ceremony."

The couple also said they would like privacy and "are allowed this time for celebration and joy."

Staples sister dies

In a family of vocalists, it was Cleotha Staples' smooth and velvety voice that helped set apart the sound of the influential and best-selling gospel group The Staple Singers.

Staples, the eldest sister and member of the group her father Roebuck "Pops" Staples started in the 1940s, died last Thursday at age 78.

She was at her Chicago home and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the past decade, said family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter.

The group included brother Pervis and sisters Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia, but Cleotha was the backbone, defining herself by being the "strong, silent type," said Carpenter, author of "Uncloudy Day: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia."

"When she was young they used to call her granny because she acted like a granny in terms of being wise and always sure of the best thing to do," Carpenter said.

Mavis Staples credited her father's guitar and Cleotha's voice with creating the group's distinctive sound.

"A lot of singers would try to sing like her," Mavis Staples said in a statement. "Her voice would just ring in your ear. It wasn't harsh or hitting you hard, it was soothing. She gave us that country sound."

Cleotha Staples, known as "Cleedi," was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with her family in 1999 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 2005.

The Staple Singers gained a huge audience with their first No. 1 hit "I'll Take You There" in 1972 and followed with top 40 hits "Respect Yourself," "Heavy Makes You Happy," and "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)."

The family's music career had its roots with Pops Staples, a manual laborer who strummed a $10 guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained in the evenings.

They sang in church one Sunday morning in 1948, and three encores and a heavy church offering basket convinced Pops music was in the family's future.

The Staple Singers was born. Two decades later the group became an unlikely hit maker for the Stax label. The Staple Singers had a string of Top 40 hits with Stax in the late 1960s, earning them the nickname "God's greatest hitmakers."

When the children were younger, it was Cleotha's high voice that influenced Pops Staples' guitar playing and in turn influenced The Staple Singers sound, Carpenter said.

At the end of her life, Cleotha Staples lived near her sisters Mavis and Yvonne on Chicago's South Side. Carpenter said the sisters were vigilant caretakers of Cleotha, just as she had been when the sisters were younger.

Mavis Staples said she plans to dedicate her second record with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy to Cleotha's memory.

"But we will keep on," Mavis Staples said. "Yvonne and I will continue singing to keep our father's legacy and our sister's legacy alive."

Mr. Gaines dies

Actor Lou Myers, best known for his role as ornery restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the television series "A Different World," has died.

Tonia McDonald of Myers' nonprofit, Global Business Incubation Inc., said Myers died last Tuesday night at Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia.

She said he was 76. McDonald said last Wednesday that Myers had been in and out of the hospital since before Christmas and collapsed recently. An autopsy was planned.

A native of Chesapeake, W.Va., Myers had returned to the state and lived in the Charleston area.

His TV credits included "NYPD Blue," "E.R.," "The Cosby Show," "Touched by an Angel," and more. He also appeared in a number of films, including "Tin Cup," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "Wedding Planner" and more.

"A Different World" ran from 1987-93 and originally starred Lisa Bonet from "Cosby" fame. Myers said he owed his introduction to Hollywood to Bill Cosby.

Myers also appeared on Broadway.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top