Mary J. Blige | Troubled Childhood, Stellar Career, & More

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Mary J. Blige

As a crowned Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige has proved time and time again that staying soulful and hard-working is the only remedy for pain. Though her story is full of ups and downs, the famous singer redeemed herself with hits like Be Without You and Real Love.

Early Life

Born and bred in the Bronx, New York, Mary J. Blige grew up not only witnessing but also enduring physical and sexual abuse. Mary often talks about her alcoholic mother and her abusive father, from whom she inherited her music gene.



Unfortunately, the horror didn’t end once Mary left her childhood home with her mom. While they were living in a public housing project in Yonkers, Mary herself fell victim to sexual abuse when she was only 5 years old. She found comfort in signing and church.

But her troubles continued later on when she was introduced to sex, drugs, and alcohol. After years of battling with addiction and self-contempt, Mary finally healed herself thanks to the love and support from Kendu Isaacs, to whom she was married from 2003 until 2016.

Career

After her recording of Anita Baker’s Caught Up in the Rapture famously landed in the hands of the right people at Uptown Records, Mary was invited to work with Sean “Puffy” Combs, who was at the time a rising star and an ambitious music producer. Her debut came out in 1992.

Between this first album, titled What’s the 411?, and Mary’s crowning jewel The Breakthrough from 2005, the singer released an entire catalog of adored and acclaimed records. She was honored with multiple GRAMMYs for pushing the envelope of soul and R&B music.

In 2017, Mary achieved another significant milestone in her eclectic career. She received a nod from both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards for her role as a supporting actress in the movie Mudbound, as well as her original song Mighty River from the film’s soundtrack.

In the News

Although divorced from husband, Kendu Isaacs, Mary. J Blige continues to stay true to her vows. Her struggles with addiction are over and after a brief clash with the law over unpaid tax bills, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul now has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Wherever life takes her next, The Shade Room will be there to cover it.