Some financial traumas never go away. Recently, R&B singer Mary J. Blige relived one of her darkest moments in 2016.
Blige, who is estimated to be worth $20 million, explained her unpaid tax problem at her 2nd annual Strength Of A Woman Festival, which took place in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on May 11. Among the featured panelists at the event were former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, radio personality Angela Yee, actress Marsai Martin, among others.
This year’s festival included a sit-down with Blige and “Earn Your Leisure” podcast’s hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings.
A Taxing Time
A conversation about the importance of keeping most of one’s money and paying taxes prompted Blige to go into detail about her financial woes, including subtly discussing her divorce from husband and manager Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, whose net worth is estimated at $4.5 million.
“Speaking of taxes, I owed so much money I never thought I’d ever get out of debt,” Mary J. Blige explained to Bilal and Millings. “I’m out of debt now, but I mean I owed hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Now I have the wisdom, now I look at my payroll that’s not my money. My taxes are not my money … so I’m like, ‘Pay my payroll, pay my taxes, pay my [tithes], all of that money, I don’t even wanna see it, because it doesn’t belong to me.”
Blige acknowledges her new management team for providing her with valuable advice on financial management, which has helped her to overcome her debts. While she said she got out of debt, she didn’t go into details on how she accomplished this feat. Also, she was vague on exact dollar amounts.
Blige said she was it an uphill battle to direct her former management team, which was led by Isaacs.
“And that’s how I was moving period. I was moving like that period but no one listened to me. When I was married I was like, ‘Pay my taxes, pay my [tithes],’ but they didn’t listen to me. He was in control of everything,” she recalled.
She also noted, “I would never let a person have that much power over my money, my life, over anything ever again. So, now I’m in control of my business. I’m in control of my life and it’s mandatory that I learn more about (the) finance business.”
Blige also advised the live, female-dominated audience that if they earn more than their spouse, they should secure a prenuptial agreement.
“I didn’t have one, and that’s why I was in, I ended up having to just give everything away because it’s so, let me just speak it is so wack right now that men you know can come at you, you know, and get alimony,” Blige shared. “So when I was getting a divorce I was like ‘You mean to tell me I gotta pay him, and he cheated and he lied and he stole you know, not to get all petty, but you know what I’m saying you mean I gotta pay him for cheating and lying on me and ruining my life.’ So yeah. the law is you have to.”