In one of the most revealing interviews of her career, the Queen of Hip Hop and R&B is opening up about some of the struggles she’s had to overcome.
“When I was five years old I was molested and…I remember feeling, literally, right before it happened, I just could not believe that this person was going to do this to me,” she says. “That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault. It led me to believe I wasn’t worth anything.”
In addition to talking about her sexual abuse, Blige also speaks truthfully about her struggle with alcoholism.
“It was bigger than me. And it was definitely going to kill me. So I was like, this is it and let’s go. And I remember sitting on my bed. I swear, I don’t know what death feels like, but I felt like my spirit was trying to leave my body,” she says.
Here are some select quotes from the episode:
On her adolescent years
“By the time we moved to Yonkers, to Schlobohm [Projects], it was just, you know, every man for themselves. It was like survive or die. All the women around were being beaten by men, their self esteem was low; these are the women you’re watching every single day. I’ve seen women destroyed, I’ve head their screams thru the walls as a child from being abused by men. And so that really made everything worse. By the time I was a teenager I was crazy.” – Mary J. Blige
Puffy, on working with Mary while at Uptown Records
“I remember when Mary came in, everything was so glamorous in R&B. I was looking at Mary like, trying to make her glamorous would be the wrong move. She was raw, she represented the streets, so I wanted her image to reflect that. That’s why we went to the combat boots. I wanted her to represent a girl from the hood.” – P. Diddy
On hitting rock bottom
“The problem had snowballed into this thing that was bigger than me. It was bigger than me. And it was definitely going to kill me. So I was like this is it and let’s go. And I remember sitting on my bed. I swear, I don’t know what death feels like, but I felt like my spirit was trying to leave my body. And I was crying, and I was going please God, no no, not now, I don’t want this. I prayed, like I remember saying a prayer I said God, send me someone to help me.” – Mary J. Blige
On trading alcohol for love with Kendu Isaacs
“And for some reason, I needed that. Because he asked me, you know, why are you drinking? Ding! Answer, you hate yourself. So it was the questions that made me say eureka. Why you drinking? I hate me. Why do you hate you? You’re supposed to love you? That day was the beginning of our friendship, and him talking to me and helping me. I have a life right now. I have a life because of that phone call.” – Mary J. Blige
VH1’s Behind the Music on Mary J. Blige airs this Sunday, July 24 at 10 PM.