NEW YORK – Janet Jackson has never been afraid to expose some skin.
The 40-year-old singer, newly svelte after losing some 60 pounds, appears on the cover of Vibe magazine wearing a skimpy bikini bottom and a necklace made of large shells. Her right arm covers her breasts.
Will she ever stop posing for sexy photos? "Of course. When I'm 80," she tells Vibe. "That's when I'll call it quits."
Two years ago, Justin Timberlake pulled off a part of Jackson's bustier, briefly exposing one of her breasts, during the Super Bowl halftime show.
In an interview in the magazine's September issue, on newsstands Aug. 15, Jackson says the incident — variously referred to as "Nipplegate" and the "bra-ha-ha" — is history.
"It's just over and done with. It's old. It's the past. It's history. I'm onto something new. Everybody got their licks in — those who wanted to — and it's done," she says.
Jackson credits her boyfriend, 33-year-old music producer Jermaine Dupri, for giving her self-esteem "a little boost."
"I came to realize that younger men had less of a problem with who I am than older men," she says. "With the younger guys, there was less ego. Things were less competitive. They weren't threatened by who made more and who made less."
She says that with Dupri, she feels as if she's met her match.
"When I look at Jermaine, I see myself," Jackson says. "I feel as if I'm looking in the mirror. The connection I feel with him I have never felt with anybody else."
Her new album, "20 Y.O.," is slated for release Sept. 26. Dupri produced a few tracks, and longtime collaborators Jimmy "Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis pitched in on the disc as well.
The pop star recently said she had packed on extra weight for a role in the upcoming movie "Tennessee," which she ultimately had to pass on because of her new record.
When asked if she'd rather have a hit album or win an Oscar, she says: "Win an Oscar. It's just a passion. But can't I have both? Everybody in my family says I'm spoiled anyway. I want both..."