Trending Topics

Having to Pay Ex $30K Monthly in Alimony Woes Pissed Off Mary J. Blige, Inspiring Strength of a Woman Festival

Mary J. Blige, the iconic R&B singer-songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur, has been promoted as an example of strength and resilience throughout her career. However, it was the turmoil of her personal life that led her to channel her pain into a powerful message of empowerment for women–and develop her Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit, which takes place May 12.

Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige (Photo ia Instagram, @therealmaryjblige)

In 2017, amidst a tumultuous divorce from her ex-husband and former manager, Kendu Isaacs, Blige found herself juggling of alimony payments and financial hardship. She says she went back on tour to pay the alimony. The frustration and anger she felt during this period became the driving force behind her acclaimed album “Strength of a Woman.”

‘I Was Pissed Off’

“When I made that album, I was pissed off because I was paying alimony every day,” Blige told The New York Post. “I was in the middle of a terrible divorce.

“But, you know, I always speak things into existence — even when I’m going through a bad time — and I had to speak strength into myself. And so I named my album ‘Strength of a Woman’ while going through a daggone divorce and paying alimony.”

In 2018, Blige was ordered to pay Isaacs, who she divorced in 2016 after 12 years of marriage, $30,000 per month in temporary spousal support, People reported.

Blige has been outspoken about being ordered to pay alimony, and has stressed she doesn’t believe men should collect alimony.

“It’s so wack right now that men can come at you and get alimony,” Blige told Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast in 2023. “When I was getting a divorce, I was like, ‘you mean to tell me I gotta pay him?! And he cheated and he lied.’”

“I will never allow someone to have that much power over my life or my finances, or my life ever again,” she said.

“I owed so much money I never thought I’d ever get out of debt,” the icon said. “I’m out of debt now,” added Blige. “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.”

Empowering Other Women Through ‘Strength of a Woman’ Summit

Turning her personal struggles into a source of empowerment, Blige, 53, envisioned a platform to celebrate the resilience and fortitude of women. Thus, the Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit was born. This annual event, now in its third year, aims to uplift and inspire women from all walks of life.

Originally held in Atlanta, the festival is now making its debut in New York City, Blige’s hometown. The move to NYC holds special significance for Blige, who credits her upbringing in Yonkers, NY, for instilling in her the strength and resilience that have defined her career.

“It’s extremely important for me to bring it home because this is where I was born and raised,” said Blige, a Yonkers, New York, native. “This is where the movement started, you know? I grew up around a bunch of women, and they were all single, and they were very strong. And, you know, there were trials and triumphs. I’ve seen a lot here growing up.”

She added, “I believe New York needs something like this — especially from artists like myself who come from here and know what New York needs. We need some kind of a hug sometimes. And this is a hug for our culture.”

The Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit offers an array of programming, including concerts, panel discussions, and community gatherings.

“We all get together and we help each other, we teach you — you know, ‘each one teach one.’ We empower, we inquire, we educate, we elevate each other with what we’ve learned,” Blige explained. “And this year we have men on [a] panel as well, men that celebrate women.”

What people are saying

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top