The half-sister of Michael Jackson has a new tell-all book in which she details years of being treated coldly by the Jackson family, snubbed directly by the King of Pop and bullied at school because of her family ties.
Joh’Vonnie Jackson, born the day after Michael Jackson’s 16th birthday, is the product of a 25-year affair Joe Jackson had with her mom Cheryle Terrell, according to the Daily Mail.
“I was very aware that I was in the Jackson family growing up, I saw them on TV, I listened to their music,” she explains. “But I was hidden away, kept secret for years, not able to become part of that family. It was hurtful.”
Eventually Joe Jackson’s secret daughter was revealed to the rest of the family, but the Jacksons wouldn’t accept her, Joh’Vonnie claims. Now 43, Joh’Vonnie is still close to her father and to his credit he tried to integrate her into Jackson family life. But despite his best efforts she faced years of rejection by those she longed to be near.
“I have met every single last one of them, but for some reason there has always been something stopping them from accepting me, from being close to me,” she says. “Of course when I was around them there was a show of love, but once I was gone there was no phone calls asking how I’m doing or how is my daughter doing, it’s upsetting, real hurtful and I still feel rejected.
“Even when my mother died in 2014 the first person who called me was their mother Katherine, the only sibling to call was Rebbie, she’s the only one who really cares,” she said. “I later said to my brother Jermaine, ‘my mother died.’ He started stuttering and said, ‘I was gonna call.’ It was a wake up call, it let me know my position in the family. As far as I’m concerned they can all kiss my ass.”
Joh’Vonnie recalls meeting her older brother Michael at his Neverland Ranch in 2003, when she was 29. The entire Jackson family was there for a family reunion.
“It was a big moment for me,” Joh’Vonnie recalls, “but Michael was looking at me and seemed cold and standoffish, he just said hi and then he saw my daughter Yasmine, and he was just fascinated with her, in awe. He said ‘Hi Jasmine’ and I said, ‘No, Michael, her name is Yasmine with a Y,’ I had to correct him. He said ‘Okay, Yasmine with a Y,’ and then that was it. He never acknowledged that I was his sister, there was no hug or kiss, not even a hand shake, no physical contact at all. I wanted to embrace him, I thought that he would wanna go some place quiet and sit and talk with me and ask me about my life and get to know me a little better. It was very hurtful, he wasn’t interested at all.”
Joh’Vonnie’s heartache was compounded by Michael’s continued interest in his then eight-year-old niece: “With my daughter he was totally different, she got hugs and kisses, everything I didn’t get, I’m woman enough to admit I was jealous. We met outside by the movie theater, there was a bunch of people there. I never did get a chance to speak to Michael properly. At the time it was very hurtful, again there was this theme that I felt shut out.”
Joh’Vonnie stayed with her cousin at a hotel in Santa Barbara, California that night rather than on the sprawling 2,700 acre ranch. She returned to Neverland the next day with a renewed hope of achieving a break-through with her older brother.
“I didn’t see Michael all day, he was in the main house,” she said. “Yasmine and Paris [Michael’s daughter] were off playing for hours, she was playing with her little cousin, Paris is such a sweet girl. I sat with the rest of the family. Jermaine and Rebbie talked with me for a while. None of my other siblings acknowledged me much though.”
Joh’Vonnie said that she was constantly taunted in school because she was Michael Jackson’s sister.
“I got beat up every single day because I was Joh’Vonnie Jackson.”
Joh’Vonnie and her mother lived just five miles from the Jackson home and Joe would visit most days, lavishing Joh’Vonnie with gifts. This was made worse when Michael’s parents ended up living separate lives and Joh’Vonnie, then in her early 20s, moved in with Joe in Las Vegas and worked as a baggage handler at the airport.
Unusually Joh’Vonnie is no stranger to the Jackson family home in Encino, having been there with Joe several times. She is also on surprisingly friendly terms with Jackson matriarch Katherine and even calls her ‘mother’ like her siblings.
Katherine knew of Joe’s affair which began in the early-1970s but her devotion to the Jehovah’s Witness faith led her to forgive him and accept Joh’Vonnie.
But for her siblings, acceptance didn’t come so easy.
‘I would be shopping in an apartment store and would see LaToya, but I couldn’t go to talk with her because I didn’t feel she wanted to talk to me.
In LaToya’s book, ‘Growing Up in the Jackson Family’, the singer wrote that her mother Katherine had referred to Joh’Vonnie as a ‘bastard child’ – now the title of Joh’Vonnie’s own book.
She explained: ‘That’s just how LaToya is, she just likes to create drama, she was setting me up for failure, she wanted ultimately for me not to like her mother and for there to be issues. I hung on to that and then I met Katherine and I couldn’t even see her saying anything like that about me. She was really nice to me, I think she was very hurt at the time of the affair, that’s totally understandable. No woman likes for her husband to go cheating on her and produce a child, it was probably heart-breaking. But you know she had come out of that, she let me live in her home, me and my daughter, we didn’t have to pay any rent. I worked to support my daughter and I took care of her home when she was not there. We have cooked together with have had good conversations.”
For Joh’Vonnie, she wishes the rest of the family could take a leaf out of ‘Mother’s’ book. Other than Rebbie and Tito, she doesn’t feel comfortable in any of her other sibling’s presence.
“I’m not interested in having any of them over for Christmas dinner, in cooking anymore German chocolate cakes for anybody, or any peach cobbler, Jermaine likes for me to make those for him, I’m just not even… no I’m good.”
Joh’Vonnie works in the timeshare industry and lives in Las Vegas with her 23-year-old daughter Yasmine who is studying to be a nurse. She lives just a few miles from dad Joe, 89, and sees him at least once a week.
Joh’Vonnie’s book ‘Bastard Child’ is available for order from Amazon.