Mary J. Blige has the unique gift of connecting with women on every level, taking the pain from her personal life and injecting it into her music for over two decades.
The Yonkers-bred songstress recently revealed that she took the same approach to her latest film role, using the “misery” of her divorce from former manager, Kendu Isaacs, to more closely relate to her character in upcoming Netflix drama, Mudbound.
In an interview with Variety, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul shared that her rocky separation and divorce from Isaacs began while filming the 1940s period piece, making it perfect inspiration for the troubles of her character, Florence.
“I used a lot of my own heaviness from my own misery that I was living in that horrible marriage. I was just dying in it. I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t prove it. I just had all the heaviness of not feeling right, not feeling good. I gave it to Florence.”
Issacs reportedly cheated on Blige with her own protégé, aspiring singer Starshell.
“I’m living. I’m not happy about a lot of things. I thought someone loved me, right? Turns out, he was a con artist and he didn’t, and now he’s coming after me for all my money.”
A judge recently ordered the No More Drama vocalist to pay her ex $30,000 a month in temporary spousal support.
“When you come out of something like that, you realize you were never the one. There was someone else that was his queen. I got played. I got suckered. I have to keep smiling and keep my spirits up because this is designed to kill me.”
Mudbound tells an intense story of race and poverty in the 1940s Mississippi Delta, but is far from multi-talented star’s first role.
She made her on-screen debut in a 2001 indie film Prison Song, but knows she wasn’t up-to-par at that point in her career.
“I hope people don’t go digging it up,” she says. “When I see it, I get a tear from embarrassment.”
Mudbound screens this week at the Toronto International Film Festival and will hit Netflix Nov. 17, the same day it opens in select theaters.