Janet Jackson opens up about 'intense' battle with depression

The singer wrote that at 52, she's finally found joy as a mother and an artist.

June 20, 2018, 8:36 AM

Janet Jackson has finally found happiness at 52.

In a letter for Essence magazine about her lifelong search for joy, Jackson wrote that it's taken decades for her to find a sense of inner-peace, and acknowledged that there have been many struggles along the way.

Now, the mother of a 1-year-old son, Eissa, Jackson wrote that her greatest happiness comes from being a parent.

PHOTO: Janet Jackson arrives at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Janet Jackson arrives at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Steve Marcus/Reuters

“Now the height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep," she wrote. "During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God."

In the revealing note, Jackson admitted that her 30s were especially challenging, as she battled depression during that time. The struggle, she wrote, "was intense."

PHOTO: Honoree Janet Jackson accepts the Icon Award onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awardson May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Honoree Janet Jackson accepts the Icon Award onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awardson May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"I could analyze the source of my depression forever. Low self-esteem might be rooted in childhood feelings of inferiority," she explained. "It could relate to failing to meet impossibly high standards. And, of course, there are always the societal issues of racism and sexism. Put it all together and depression is a tenacious and scary condition. Thankfully, I found my way through it."

The singer, who will be headlining the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans next month, wrote that throughout her life, her work has always been a motivating force for her. These days, she's also inspired by "the commitment of young people on justice causes," including the Me Too movement.

PHOTO: Janet Jackson performs onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Janet Jackson performs onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena, May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"We are living at a time in history when women all over the world are refusing to be controlled, manipulated, exploited or abused. Heart and soul, I stand with these women," she wrote. "We have found our strength, and we will not relent."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events