Janet Jackson has split from her multi-millionaire husband just months after giving birth to her first child at the age of 50, sources close to the singer told the
on Sunday last night.
The pop-star sister of the late Michael Jackson wed Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana in 2012 and their son, Eissa, was born on January 3.
Her recent retreat from the limelight - and the postponement of her Unbreakable world tour last year involving 36 gruelling stadium shows - had been put down to contentment with her marriage.
But last night, a close friend of Jackson told The Mail on Sunday: "Sadly, Janet and Wissam have decided that it wasn't working and to go their separate ways.
"They're both busy people but determined to be good parents, even if they're apart. It's amicable and Eissa will stay with his mother, who is basing herself in London."
Last week, a leading entertainment website claimed Al Mana had helped three-times-married Jackson settle down as she traded fame for a role as a devoted mother and wife.
But yesterday that appeared to have been a somewhat premature prediction.
A divorce settlement could be complex and costly as 42-year-old Al Mana, CEO of the multinational Al Mana business conglomerate, is estimated to have a fortune of around £800million - at least four times Jackson's net worth.
When the couple married, there was much speculation, never confirmed, that Jackson had converted to Islam, fuelled by her appearance in a head scarf.
There were rumours of a split within days of her son's birth, when she was seen in public without a wedding ring but these were discounted at the time.
The singer was briefly married to singer James DeBarge in 1984 but the pair split the following year and the marriage was later annulled.
Her second husband was Mexican back-up dancer Rene Elizondo.
The couple wed in 1991 but divorced in 2000, with Jackson paying him a reported $10 million (NZ$14.4m).
In court papers filed as part of their divorce, Elizondo claimed she was paranoid about privacy and pretended the couple were boyfriend and girlfriend throughout their marriage "because she wanted me out of the limelight".
He said she refused to give him songwriting credits on her Rhythm Nation album "because my involvement had to be kept secret to protect her image".
Jackson has claimed that their marriage was destroyed by his alleged addiction to prescription drugs.
In an interview after the end of her second marriage, the singer spoke about her conviction she might be "unlucky" in love.
"I thought I was jinxed," she said. "Maybe marriage isn't for me? Maybe it's my fault it never works.
"I was always faithful. When it was over, I put up shields to protect myself from being hurt."
It was reported she gained up to 100lbs (7 stone) during her pregnancy.