Mary J. Blige Avoided Going to Therapy For Years For This Reason

Mary J. Blige is a Grammy-winning superstar and Oscar-nominated actor with three decades of experience in the industry. But Blige has always been honest about her life not being as perfect as it appeared since she first burst onto the scene in the early 1990s.

Mary J. Blige on the red carpet
Mary J. Blige | Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Mary J. Blige as a child

Blige grew up in the Schlobohm housing projects in Yonkers, New York at the height of the crack epidemic. She frequently witnessed abuse and addiction in her household, and even suffered sexual abuse herself as just five years old.

Music is what brought Blige happiness. She saw how much her mother loved singing and dancing despite facing abuse from Blige’s father and it inspired her to persevere just like her.

“Singing was the escape for me,” Blige said in her 2021 documentary Mary J. Blige’s My Life. “Singing made me forget that we were struggling so much. It just made me forget that iI was going through what I was going through. Even as a little girl, I had insecurities and I was always blue and always sad, but singing made me feel free. And that’s what I had. That’s what I held onto.”

Mary J. Blige with flowers
Mary J. Blige | Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Mary J. Blige’s relationship with Jodeci’s K-Ci

As a teenager, Blige and her friends began to cope with their difficult surroundings by drinking, doing drugs, and engaging in unsafe sex. “Growing up in an environment like that, there were so many things that could happen to a little girl,” she lamented. “You just turned to anything that can numb you from feeling sad, from feeling depressed, from feeling hatred, from feeling self-hate, just so much. So you turn to substance abuse; you turn to whatever makes you feel good.”

After the release of her debut album What’s the 411? in 1992, Blige began dating Jodeci singer K-Ci Hailey in what was a very public relationship. What Blige revealed years later was that K-Ci was physically and emotionally abusive and manipulative throughout the course of their relationship.

Her critically acclaimed sophomore album, My Life, was inspired by her and K-Ci’s relationship.

Mary J. Blige attends the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Mary J. Blige | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage/Getty Images

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Mary J. Blige avoided therapy for years

Even after breaking up with K-Ci and marrying her husband Kendu Isaacs in the early 2000s, Blige still had to deal with her demons on a regular basis. She admitted in a 2019 interview with Self magazine that she chose not to seek help for a long time.

“For years I would not see a therapist,” she revealed. “I just would handle it. For years, for years.” Blige distrusted other people’s intentions, so she was afraid of revealing her deepest emotions to a therapist because of “how people would do anything for money, and how anybody at any moment can become paparazzi.”

Blige also found comfort in maintaining a level of secrecy with her personal life as the best way to navigate her existence in the public eye. “Everybody thinks they know everything, but nobody really knows. You only know what I tell you. And I don’t tell everything,” she said. “As public as I am, I’m real private. I’ll give you the juice and the truth, but not the stuff that’s going to kill me.”

Mary J. Blige avoided telling her mother about being abused

Blige went on to detail how she didn’t even tell her own mother about the abuse she experienced until she was well into adulthood.

“It took me a long time to tell my mom something that happened to me when I was smaller,” Blige said, referring to her childhood sexual abuse. “I was 33 years old when I revealed to my mom how I was molested. Thirty-three. Because I didn’t want to hurt her. And I wish I didn’t do it then, but I had to.”