‘The Best Way to Meet Her… Get Her Hired’: ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Star Todd Bridges Claims He Dated Janet Jackson for ‘Years’ After Helping Her Land a Role as His Love Interest

Janet Jackson has been in the spotlight for several decades but has maintained a tight lip when it comes to her dating history. 

Over the years, fans have witnessed the pop icon in relationships with high-profile men such as Jermaine Dupri and her three ex-husbands, singer James DeBarge, former artist René Elizondo Jr., and the father of her only child, Wissam Al Mana. 

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While Jackson’s romantic résumé is filled with notable names in the industry, it appears as if one man is often left out of the conversation. 

Earlier this month, VladTV dropped part 6 of their interview with actor Todd Bridges, where the “Diff’rent Strokes” star revealed that he was the Grammy winner’s first boyfriend. 

Todd Bridges says he was Janet Jackson's first boyfriend.
Todd Bridges says he was Janet Jackson’s first boyfriend. (L) Todd Bridges (Pictured: @toddbridges/Instagram) (R) Janet Jackson (Pictured: @janetjackson/Instagram)

In the interview, Bridges confessed that he used to see Jackson walk through the company studio while she filmed the 1970s sitcom “Good Times.” 

“I used to always see her and say, ‘Man she’s good-looking,’” he shared. “You know I wanted to meet her… I thought the best way to meet her really was to get her hired on the show.” 

Per Bridges, “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Good Times” were rehearsed on the same stage, which made it easier for him to put the charm on Jackson. 


“I met her there and all that, but I figured the best way to really get to know her was to work with her,” Bridges noted. He claimed that when producers were searching for a girlfriend for his character, Willis, he was adamant about the “Together Again” singer being hired. Jackson was later hired as Charlene.

Bridges then confirmed that he and the mother of one, 57, dated for “a couple years” after meeting on set. “The most nerve-wracking thing in the world was meeting all her brothers,” he added, noting that the late Michael Jackson was her “funniest” brother.

The “Everybody Hates Chris” star previously discussed his relationship with Jackson back in 2010 during an interview with Oprah.com. While talking to the outlet, he suggested that experiencing sexual abuse at a young age negatively impacted how he treated women. However, he didn’t want Jackson to fall victim to said treatment. 

“There’s only one girl in my life that I had feelings for that I did not want to hurt,” he said. Bridges continued, “That was Janet Jackson.” 

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Due to his then-unhealed trauma, Bridges decided to end things with Jackson in an attempt to protect her. 

As fans can see, both Jackson and Bridges have since moved on to different relationships, but it doesn’t seem like there’s any bad blood between the two. In 2022, Bridges married designer Bettijo B. Hirschi.

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