Mary J. Blige is an entertainer who has always been honest about her challenges–from broken relationships to substance abuse. Blige recently shared how she overcame a financial setback that would have left many defeated.
“This era of my life is proof of that right now because I’m not chasing any money, I’m chasing mental health. I’m chasing spiritual awareness,” Blige told AfroTech. “These are the things that are super important to me, and once these things fall in line, everything else comes. The success of your business, the success of everything. You know, when you’re good with you, so that’s why that’s so important to me right now.”
Blige is known as the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” for her vocal styling that combines traditional R&B, gospel, and hip-hop. Blige got her start in the music business when she was signed to Uptown Records as a backup singer in the early 1990s. In 1992, her debut album “What’s the 411? was released and peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum three times. She went on to release 13 more albums, received two Grammy Awards and has a recurring role on the television series, Power Book 2.
In addition, she has earned several endorsement deals with brands such as Reebok, Air Jordan, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Gap, Target, American Express, and Burger King. Blige has a net worth of $20 million.
Although Blige has overcome many adversities to achieve her success, financial troubles have been present in her life.
After 12 years of marriage, Blige divorce Kendu Issacs. As part of the divorce settlement, Blige was ordered to pay Issacs $30,000 in alimony.
“That moment was when I got a divorce and got hit with all of that alimony,”
She said, “I was like, ‘OK.’ I never realized that
this could happen to me in that way, and I was like at the bottom… I had nothing
when I left out of that marriage and I had to work. I had my name, you know,
so I had to work and so I did. I went on tour, I had to do everything to make that
money to pay out the alimony.”
In addition to her divorce, Blige also had an IRS debt for $3.4 million, owed New Jersey $900,000 in taxes and was part of a lawsuit that alleged that she owed $2.2 million for an unpaid loan.
Despite it all, however, Blige decided to become empowered by her challenges.
“I realized that I put my life in someone else’s hands that wouldn’t take care of me,” Blige said. “Now, I’m all over my business. I’m all over my finances. I’m all over my life because that was a painful feeling. I felt so weak and helpless, and I never want to feel like that again. So that’s my aha moment… my divorce.”