I've always been slightly fascinated by Janet Jackson. Like most of you, I started out watching her as Penny Gordon Woods on super-old "Good Times" re-runs. Even though she was smiley and chubby and had perfect comedic timing on the show, I would always feel vaguely sorry for her that she wasn't as famous as her older brothers in The Jackson 5. And in those early years, her career always seemed like an afterthought in her crazy, deranged family. You knew they knew they had the ultimate cash cow: Michael. Pushing Janet to be a singer and actor was just an added bonus.
But Janet was tenacious and successful. She too was blessed with the family talent without being too touched by that Jackson weirdness which so engulfed Michael and La Toya. It took a while and a lot of ups and downs (one crazy nipple exposure and the tragic death of her bother among them) but now it appears the 46-year-old's longevity has paid off: After several decades in the entertainment industry, Jackson has reportedly hit billionaire status, according to Variety. Jackson's income has included $458 million for concert tours, $260 million from album sales and $304 million for film and TV work, plus more than $81 million from sponsorship deals. With the new income milestone, Jackson joins an elite club that also includes her husband, Wissam Al Mana, who became a billionaire thanks to investments in the Middle East. Jackson secretely wed Al Mana, 37, last year. In a statement to “Entertainment Tonight,” the couple said their wedding gifts to one another "were contributions to our respective favorite children’s charities. We would appreciate that our privacy is respected and that we are allowed this time for celebration and joy.”
I think I speak for Penny fans everywhere when I say: You go girl. You've had quite the ride. Enjoy those gold-plated jet packs or whatever billionaires do with all of their money. You deserve it.