Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri tells all about 7-year relationship with Janet Jackson

Fast facts on Jermaine Dupri.Despite his deep ties to Atlanta, where he was raised, Dupri was born in Asheville, North Caroline.He earned his first $1 million at 19.That came after Dupri discovered the hip hop duo Kriss Kross at Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall in the 1990s.Before he was 25, Dupri founded his record label So So Def Recordings in 1993

Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri began dating Janet Jackson back in 2002, a relationship that ultimately spanned seven years. During an interview with the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast on Monday, Dupri discussed how his relationship with the legendary pop icon came to be.

Podcast hosts Gillie and Wallohow, according to Hip Hop DX, first offered some of their own theories on how Dupri and Jackson began dating. But Dupri was quick to put to rest any speculation that their relationship began from a place of business.

“I was just on some like hang out [stuff],” Dupri said, explaining that he was not interested in Jackson as a producer. Dupri added that the power couple argued on occasion because he never produced any of Jackson’s music.

“We got an argument about me not producing her because she was around me watching everybody else get hit records,” he said.

Feeling she “didn’t need him,” Dupri said that he did not want to “mess up” Jackson’s business relationship with longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — who worked on her critically-acclaimed record “Control.”

Speaking to Atlanta’s own T.I. in April 2020 for his expediTIously podcast, Dupri revealed that one of the major stresses in their relationship was the long distance. Jackson was living near Malibu, and Dupri was producing music from Atlanta.

“I started seeing so many other things that I wanted to do, and so many other places that I wanted to go,” he told T.I. “I started thinking like marriage for me wasn’t gonna work. Just, something about it. When you feel like you’re ready to get married, you don’t have no answers, you just know what it is. I was in the space. I’m not gon’ front and say that I wasn’t. I felt married… I think the only thing that created a difference for me was the fact that we didn’t live together. We had an eight-year, nine-year relationship, but we didn’t live with each other.”

According to Dupri, Jackson was not interested in moving to Atlanta, and he was not interested in California.

“I feel like that’s a part where you really determine if you’re strong,” he told T.I. “She wasn’t willing to move to Atlanta. She was willing to come out here for a couple of weeks. But living in Atlanta, for her, just didn’t really seem like L.A. I wasn’t ready to move to Malibu.”

In 2017, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri reconnected after Jackson finished performing at the final date of her “State of the World” tour in Atlanta. According to People Magazine, the former couple were found “cuddled up in a private booth holding hands.” The magazine reported that Dupri and Jackson were “getting to know each other again.”

Fast-forward to 2022, Jackson celebrated her 56th birthday in Las Vegas with her former flame.