Who is La Toya Jackson?

American singer, author and actress La Toya Yvonne Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana USA, on 29 May 1956, making Gemini her zodiac sign. She gained recognition when she starred alongside her siblings in the 1976 musical comedy series “The Jacksons”, while she then began releasing music and making a solo name for herself in the entertainment industry.

La Toya’s a member of the ‘Jackson family’, with most of its members being successful musicians; five Jackson brothers founded the popular American pop band The Jackson 5, while La Toya’s late brother Michael Jackson was one of the most popular singers in the world, and is today regarded as the ‘King of Pop’.

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Education and early life

La Toya was raised alongside her nine siblings in Gary, by their father Joseph Walter ‘Joe’ Jackson who was a talent manager, and who died on 27 June 2018 aged 89, and mother Katherine who’s a housewife and is today 93 years old.

La Toya was quite shy while growing up, and it was music that helped her overcome her shyness. Her mother became a Jehovah’s Witness in 1966, and La Toya and her siblings followed; La Toya then often kept her mother company while she was preaching door-to-door.

She studied at Cal-Prep School in Encino, Los Angeles, California and was 17 when she began performing a tap dance routine together with her brothers.

La Toya matriculated in 1974 and then enrolled at college, wanting to become a lawyer specialized in business law; she eventually dropped out, as she chose to follow in her family’s footsteps and pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

La Toya’s career

La Toya moved to New York City in 1977, and she and her sisters Janet and Rebbie formed a short-lived musical group in the same year; she began working on her debut self-titled studio album in 1978, and it was released in 1980. Several of the album’s singles became quite popular in the US, including “If You Feel the Funk” and “Night Time Lover” – the album peaked at #178 on the UK Top 200 Chart, #26 on Billboard R&B Albums and #116 on the US Billboard 200.

Her second album “My Special Love” was released in 1981, and spawned hit singles “I Don’t Want You to Go” and “Stay the Night”.

La Toya became famous following the release of her third album “Heart Don’t Lie” in 1984; the album’s singles “Heart Don’t Lie”, “Hot Potato” and “Bet’cha Gonna Need My Lovin’” all became hits, with “Heart Don’t Lie” peaking at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

She released her new single, “Baby Sister” in 1985, and it won a World Popular Song Festival Award for Outstanding Song; it was featured on her fourth studio album “Imagination”, released in 1986.

La Toya posed nude for the magazine “Playboy” in March 1989 and November 1991, which meant that she had made herself independent from her family, and was no longer as conservative as they had taught her to be; during this period she released her fifth album “La Toya” in 1988, and her sixth album “Bad Girl” followed in 1990.

La Toya’s seventh album “No Relations” came out in 1991, and it was followed by her eighth “From Nashville to You” in 1994 and ninth “Stop in the Name of Love” in 1995.

After escaping from and divorcing her abusive husband, La Toya took some time to work on herself, and her extended play (EP) “Starting Over” was released in 2011. She starred in her own reality show “Life With La Toya” in 2013, and in September of the same year starred in the off-Broadway play “Newsical”.

She went on to produce the 2015 documentary movie “Dancing in Jaffa”, which features 150 Palestinian and Jewish Israelis as they’re dancing together, and the following year saw her release her single “Tehran”, recorded in collaboration with Iranian-Armenian singer-songwriter and actor Andy.

In 2018, La Toya won the celebrity version of the competition show “Worst Cooks in America”, donating her winnings of $25,000 to the charity organization Race to Erase MS.

Most recently, in May 2021, she competed in the reality music show “Mask Singer: Adivina Quien Canta”.

Abusive husband

The late American businessman Jack Leon Gordon was hired to work as La Toya’s manager in 1987, and the two married in a small ceremony on 5 September 1989.

La Toya later stated that she was forced into marrying Jack, and that she had told him ‘no’ because she didn’t love him, but that he nevertheless made it happen, claiming that it was a way to protect her from her family kidnapping her. This resulted in La Toya being estranged from her family, with her parents and siblings no longer speaking to her.

Around six months after the wedding ceremony, while in Rome, Italy she asked Jack for a marriage annulment; he then bashed her head against a hotel room table, and La Toya could’ve been seen in public with a black eye. Not long after this, she published her autobiography “La Toya: Growing up in the Jackson Family”, in which she claimed that her father had physically abused her.

Jack was in complete control of La Toya’s life in the following years, during which he often beat her; he took her passport, put her bank accounts in his name and forbade her to speak with her family. In 1993, Jack beat La Toya so badly that he thought he had killer her; she lost consciousness during the beating and her cuts required 12 mouth stitches.

In 1996, after learning that Jack had arranged for her to star in a pornographic movie, La Toya phoned her brother Randy and asked him to help her escape from her abusive husband; she filed for divorce a couple of days later and sued Jack for domestic violence. She spent the following couple of years living alone, and didn’t leave the house for the first half a year because she was afraid of Jack; he died from cancer on 19 April 2005, aged 65.

After having been best friends for 15 years, American businessman Jeffre Phillips asked La Toya to marry him in 2013; the two eventually called off their engagement, but have stayed together to this day.

Interesting facts and hobbies

La Toya has a three-octave vocal range that can reach E♭6.

One of her major influences was the late American musician James Brown; La Toya’s late brother Michael also cited James as his influence. Her second major influence was the late French dancer and singer Josephine Baker.

Close to 600,000 people are following La Toya on Instagram today, and she’s posted more than 1,300 pictures and videos; most of her content features her spending time with her family.

She’s a huge dog lover, and has featured her pet dog in some of her Instagram pictures.

La Toya’s donated money to a number of charity organizations, and is mostly into helping underprivileged children.

Will Smith’s one of her favorite actors, and some of her favorite movies include “Seven Pounds”, “Suicide Squad” and “Men in Black”.

Height, eyes and wealth

La Toya’s age is 67. She has brown eyes and hair, is 5ft 4ins (1.63m) tall and weighs around 130lbs (60kgs).

La Toya’s net worth’s been estimated at over $1 million, as of July 2023.

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