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Mary J Blige recently appeared on stage for the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show alongside fellow hip hop icons Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar. Although all but one of these artists is over age 45, together they put on a high-energy show that people across the nation will be talking about for years. These individuals all have massive talent, legions of fans, and hit songs that everyone knows. However, two of them have something even bigger in common than that – two of the above-listed performers are in recovery from addiction.
Many people already know that Eminem is in recovery; he has been clean and sober since 2008 after several attempts. He struggled with addiction to pharmaceutical painkillers and to Vicodin in particular. After a near-fatal overdose, he never took the drug again – or any other drugs or nor drank alcohol, either.
However, many people do not know that Mary J Blige is also in recovery from addiction. Anyone who watched the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year would be surprised to learn that this singer, songwriter, and actress is fifty-one years old. She sang and danced her heart out and she looked fantastic doing it.
Mary J Blige might not even have been on that stage in February 2022 if she hadn’t decided to make a change in her life. When Mary J Blige decided to quit using, she changed her life for the better – and there’s still so much life ahead of her still.
Read on to learn more about Mary J Blige and how she overcame addiction.
Mary J Blige was born in Bronx, New York, in 1971 to a nurse and a jazz musician. She was the middle child of three sisters. Early in her life, she moved to Georgia with her family and she spent her childhood years there. The family eventually moved back to New York and she attended high school in Yonkers, but she dropped out in her junior year.
Sadly, Mary J Blige was molested as a child by a family friend. She was also often teased by her peers. In interviews, she has said that she feels that these experiences played a part in her drug and alcohol abuse and addiction later on.
However, despite these challenges, Mary J Blige knew what she wanted to do from a very young age. She wanted to be a singer and performer, and she dedicated her time and efforts to the pursuit of fame as soon as she left school.
Mary J Blige performed with several bands when she was still a teenager but the biggest turning point in her early career was due to a recording of herself singing that she made in a recording booth at the White Plains Mall. Her mother was able to pass this recording onto her boyfriend, who in turn played it for a recording artist and A&R runner at Uptown Records, who played it for the president and CEO of the label. She was signed almost immediately as a backup singer and was the company’s youngest signed artist. She was only eighteen.
Due to her connections at Uptown Records, she connected with Sean “Puffy” Combs who soon became the producer on her first and most well-known album, 1991’s What’s the 411? This album is an important one in both R&B and hip hop genres as it featured rappers on every song with Mary J Blige supplying vocals as a singer. She won dozens of awards for the album and even today it is considered one of the most influential albums in both genres of the time period and overall.
More Fame, More Problems
As Mary J Blige’s fame and success began to grow, she met more people along the way. One of the people she met was singer Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey from the R&B group Jodeci. The couple dated on and off for twelve years and at one point was engaged to be married. However, this relationship was emotionally and physically abusive and it took her a long time to break free from it. During this time, her drug and alcohol use and abuse intensified.
Although Mary J Blige was eventually able to break free from her abusive relationship, it took her much longer to break free from addiction. In the meantime, she continued to work and to create music. She has put out thirteen albums since What’s the 411? at a rate of about one every other year or so, and even put one out this year, in 2022 already – it’s entitled Good Morning Gorgeous. However, it’s likely that that album would have never have seen the light of day if she hadn’t turned her life around several years ago.
Finally Breaking Free
It seems like Mary J Blige had so much luck along the way; she was able to showcase her talent to millions of fans for decades. However, she also experienced some very challenging times in her life, too. Her parents split up when she was very young, she was molested by a family friend, she was harassed by her peers as a youth, and she struggled with an abusive relationship. But, rather than let these things destroy her, one day, she had an epiphany.
It was soon after the tragic death of Whitney Houston that Mary J. Blige realized that she could be next. If she continued to abuse drugs and alcohol, she could be the next tragic headline. This was quite a wake-up call for her, and it made all the difference.
Rather than check herself into formal rehab, Mary J Blige decided to break free from drugs and alcohol on her own. Although this is a risky method when it comes to getting clean and sober, for her, it worked. In interviews, she says that she has God to thank. She stopped drinking and using drugs and prayed to God and that worked for her. Today, she has been clean and sober for several years as a result.
It’s a fortunate thing for all the world that Mary J Blige broke free from her addiction when she did. It’s likely that she will continue to create and release music for many years to come. Her performance in the Super Bowl Halftime show this year was impressive by anyone’s standards and she continues to be an inspiration to her fans and to all who love her. Congrats, Mary J, for your success in the world of music and in everything else, too. We can’t wait to see what you do next!
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