Mary J. Blige has been in the public eye for decades, during which time she has been involved in various public relations. In the early 1990s, when she was the hottest new singer on the block, she was in a high-profile relationship with K-Ci Hailey of the popular R&B group Jodeci.
Mary J. Blige and K-Ci Relationship
1992 Mary J. Blige debut album What is 411? propelled the girl from the project at Yonkers to the pinnacle of hip-hop fame. He first met K-Ci while recording an album and collaborating on a song together. They started dating, but their relationship ended up turning rough.
Blige first recounted his trauma – without explicitly naming singer Jodeci – in a 2002 interview with The Guardian. “I was in a hellish relationship. When you hate yourself, you attract people who hate you too,” he said honestly. “I kept getting the same lessons over and over and finally knew there was something I had to learn.”
Blige reflects on that relationship in its 2021 documentary Mary J. Blige’s My Life. “It got really dark, all in all, and rough,” he said. “I had to fight a lot physically for my life, because, just like my mother, I was a fighter.”
He even revealed to The Guardian that the breaking point was when K-Ci attempted to kill him. “That was the day I was almost killed,” he recalls. “I screamed with all my remaining breaths as my boyfriend physically tried to take me out of this world. There are weapons involved. I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”
Mary J. Blige herself became a Grammy-winning superstar — just like Tina Turner
In an interview with a BBC reporter, Blige once likened her relationship with another high-profile couple to a history of abuse: Ike and Tina Turner. “That’s Ike and Tina from the ’90s, down below,” he said. “It was like hell. It was personal hell and I just took it. ”
Blige finally left K-Ci and realized how precious and valuable he was. After he did, he developed into an even bigger superstar than before. In 2001, she topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time with her hit single “Family Affair,” and even performed at the Super Bowl halftime show that same year.
To date, Blige has sold over 50 million records worldwide and earned nine Grammy Awards and is a legend in her own right, like Tina Turner herself.
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Mary J. Blige’s ‘My Life’ is inspired by her relationship with K-Ci
Blige admitted in his documentary that there was “a lot of manipulation” in their relationship, and that manipulation kept him going for several years.
Their tumultuous relationship formed the backdrop for Blige’s legendary second album album My life in 1994, where the Grammy-winning singer sings candidly about the abuse, addiction, and other struggles she faces. The LP remains one of the most iconic R&B albums of all time, but he couldn’t even absorb it all and enjoy it because of his association with K-Ci.
“I can’t enjoy what’s going on. I can’t even enjoy my success,” he lamented. “I was in a relationship where we were both young [and] both are super successful. I love him, but neither of us can handle the success of our lives.”
How to get help: In the US, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.