While Mary J. Blige was filming for her role as Florence Jackson in Dee Rees' film adaption of the novel Mudbound, her marriage was falling apart.
In June 2016, after 12 years of marriage, Mary J. Blige announced that she and husband/manager Kendu Isaacs were heading for divorce. As she was dealing with her highly publicized split, she was also filming Mudbound.
"I used a lot of my own heaviness from my own misery that I was living in that horrible marriage," Mary tells Variety. "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."
Mary goes on to say that her marriage issue also made it difficult to perform love scenes.
"The hardest part was intimacy," she says about the scenes where she lies in bed and slow dances with her on-screen husband, Hap (Morgan). "I was married. I never touched another man other than my husband. I was petrified: 'Oh God. I don't want to do it.'" Rees took her aside and told her that she had to work on that. "You know what, Mary?" she told herself. "This is the job. This is acting. You've got to commit."
While Mudbound has already garnered rave reviews and Oscar buzz, Mary continues to look forward as she deals with the heartbreak from losing the love of her life.
"I'm doing OK," she says with a sigh. "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. 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."