La Toya Jackson is engaged.
After months of speculation and rumors, the singer and reality TV star set the record straight in an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America,” telling ABC’s Abbie Boudreau: “Yes, I am. I’m engaged. And I’m excited about it. Yes, I’m very much engaged … And it’s wonderful.”
Showing Boudreau her 17.5 carat diamond ring, the 57-year-old Jackson said she was engaged to Jeffre Phillips, her longtime business manager.
Jackson, 58, has been single for nearly 20 years after an abusive marriage.
“I felt that I didn’t want to have anything to do with men or that they would control me… But things have changed,” she said. “And now I’m open.”
The second season of her reality show, “Living With Latoya,” premieres June 7 at 10 p.m. on OWN. In it, a nervous Phillips can be seen asking Joe Jackson, the family patriarch, for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
“And my father, mind you, he’s a nice guy, but he’s not the easiest person to talk to,” she said, laughing.
Jackson, who was once very private, explained why she decided to do the reality show.
“This is something that I feel like the world needs to know this. And when I first starting feeling this way is when, I guess, my brother (Michael Jackson) passed, because the world didn’t really know him the way we knew him … My mother goes, ‘Honey, this is the best thing you can do because people got it all wrong.’ Because they think we’re strange and we’re weird. And we’re just like anybody else,” she said.
Jackson and Phillips haven’t set a wedding date yet, but there already is talk of adopting.
“I’ve always wanted to be a mother, all my life,” she said.
If she adopts a daughter, she could be named Paris, like her late brother’s daughter.
She talked about a little-known pact that she, brother Michael and close friend Kathy Hilton had back when they were in grade school. They vowed that the first one of them to have a child would name that child “Paris.”
“And, of course, Kathy was first,” she said, referring to the fashion designer’s socialite daughter, Paris Hilton.
“And then, of course, Michael had his Paris,” she said, referring to her niece, who is her brother’s second child. “And I still don’t have children. And I named my dog – my first dog was named Paris and then Prince.”
As for whether there could be a daughter named Paris in her future, Jackson said there’s a “possibility.”
“I don’t know just yet for sure, but I have to wait and see,” she said.