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Do You Agree? Mary J. Blige Says Her Husband Isn’t Allowed to Have Female Friends — “That Doesn’t Work in a Marriage”




Mary J Blige & Kendu Isaacs

American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress Mary J. Blige has been in the music industry for over 20 years and is a nine time Grammy award winner.

The 43-year-old diva has also been married for 11 years to record producer (and her manager) Kendu Isaacs, so she has quite some experience on music and marriage – which are the two things that she focuses on in her interview with Telegraph’s Stella Magazine.

She talks to Stella Magazine about why she no longer has a diva behavior, her new album being clean and sober plus finding love.


Mary J. Blige also opens up to the magazine about the fact that there is a rule for both her and her husband to make their marriage work – no female friends for him and no male friends for her.

Read excerpts from her interview below!

On overcoming alcohol and drug addiction: “I guess my own voice – or God – spoke to me and said, ‘Haven’t you learnt anything? This is the moment where you see what you’re made of – get up.’ And I did. I got up. That was definitely the learning moment, the choice between life and death. I felt like it was over, and everybody was just running away. People I thought were friends were just dispersing. I could feel myself slipping away too. And I thought, ‘I don’t want to slip away because of alcohol and drugs and loneliness.’ I thought, ‘Don’t let people see you fold right now. You have to survive this because the world is watching.’”

On her new album featuring Sam Smith, Emelie Sande, Disclosure and Naughty Boy: “The goal was to go over to London and do something really different, something people have never seen me do before. Something really amazing is happening over in London. Genres are falling and people are borrowing from the past instead of throwing it away. Sam Smith is like Frank Sinatra, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke rolled into one. They seem to know who they are; they don’t have an identity problem. They don’t seem to let anyone tell them what they should look like or sound like.”

On marrying her manager: “It definitely feels like an achievement. I never thought I’d last this long in a marriage. He always has my back – he’s going to fight to the death for Mary J Blige. The downside is that there’s no separation – it’s on all the time. When you don’t feel like answering to your manager, he’s still your husband,”

Mary-J-Blige-Kendu-Isaacs-November-2014-BellaNaija001 Mary-J-Blige-Kendu-Isaacs-November-2014-BellaNaija003 Mary-J-Blige-Kendu-Isaacs-November-2014-BellaNaija004

On making the marriage work: “If one of you doesn’t want to talk about something right now, you have to respect that. And you have to respect each other’s space. All females for me, all guys for him. There’s none of that, ‘Oh, that’s my female friend. Oh, that’s my guy friend.’ No. Not in a marriage, I’ve never seen that work.”

On him having 3 kids from a previous relationship: “I’ve known the younger two since they were babies, so they really are my family. But from the beginning I gave them the option: ‘Call me Mary, or whatever you like. You don’t have to call me Mom, but just know I love you and I’m here for you.’ I never was sitting around thinking, ‘Oh God, I want a baby.’ No. And then these very special kids came along and it was like they were tailor-made for me to be their stepmom.”

On being in her forties: “This is the best time in my life. I’m becoming freer, I’m accepting the things I can’t change and I’m not going to apologise for who I am. In my twenties, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like me, and always played myself short to make everybody else happy. Because we don’t love ourselves enough, we hang out with the wrong people, we go out with the wrong guys. We don’t believe that we deserve better. I never slept with anyone to get where I am, but they were after me to do that. I fought hard over that.”

On getting older: “I need my hips to slim down a little more and my legs to get a little firmer and my butt to pop up a little more. But, you know: gravity. It goes back to what we were saying about knowing when you gotta accept it.”

You can read up her full feature in Stella Magazine here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Adesola is the BellaNaija Head of Content and Digital Ventures. She is a BN stan.. Yes, things are that serious for her when it comes to She's a lover of gist, novels, music, and food. She's constantly trying not to take life for granted. She spends most of her time either keeping up with the world on the Internet or sharing some acquired knowledge about digital media. She is passionate about using her voice to speak against injustice, especially towards women. To communicate with her directly, you can hit her up on: Instagram - Twitter - @Adesola_AU


  1. jessica

    November 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Ideally having female friends should not be a problem but I guess its the way the world is now that is triggering things like these. Many ladies do not want their men further exposed to possible Jezebels…i do not blame her sincerely…the thirst out there is unbelievable.
    It is almost impossible to find a man who wont have a side chick….having a side chick started from being friends and didn’t happen over night, so whatever floats her boat…I doubt that will be enough to hold his pants up tho, these niggas aint loyal 😀

    • Mimi

      November 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      100% agree. No one is loyal to anyone. If this is working for her then great.

    • Just me

      November 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Applause for you.
      Different strokes for different folks.
      Whatever makes her feel safe around him, good.
      Like you’ve said already, these men are not loyal period.

  2. f.n nwapa

    November 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    My husband and I don’t have rules per se. but I think it would be strange to have new friends of the opposite sex. He has kept his old female friends and I kept the old male friends that I trust. if he starts talking about one new girl – *side eye.

  3. Tanners James

    November 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Why is this news? Obviously it works for them. I mean they have been married for 11 years. The press always blow things out of proportion. Like I said, this isn’t news.

  4. TA

    November 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    If that is what makes her marriage work, good for her. It is not the gospel though. If I get married, am keeping my male friends (most of whom are already married anyways) and Oga is welcome to keep his female friends. The way I see it, if I can’t trust my significant other’s judgement in friendship boundaries and the likes, why am I married to him in the first place?

    • jhennique

      December 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Its not him i dont trust. Its the thirsty girls out there. Protect him from them. LOL

  5. Anon

    November 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    The rule doesn’t stop one party or both parties from straying though…

  6. sum1special

    November 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It depends on couple preference…whatever rules that makes their relationship work.

  7. @edDREAMZ

    November 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    If both of them accept it then gud for them but lord knws my wife cant set that rule and want me to abide by it…..

    • jumi

      November 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Then i guess you cannot set it for her either. My husband said whats the use of having male friends asides colleagues, so i cut thrm. And i said oga, you too, cut yours and he did. And we happy. Case closed

  8. efe

    November 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Fine, Fine Mary J. Blige.

  9. Halia

    November 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Loved this interview… Quite frankly I learned a thing or two . #classyandrealMaryJ #sheisagingsonicely

  10. Mrs Diamond

    November 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Lovely MaryJ..This interview just put smile on my face…nice one

  11. vheeki

    November 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Awww….she’s really aging gracefully!

  12. Kenny Jossy

    November 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I goes who plays the piper dictates the tune. You pay the bills, you dictate shikenaa. All my close friends are female, gorgeous ladies, it has never crossed my mind any day to look at them differently or sexually. They are like sisters to me, if i visit some of them, they are comfortable, coming out of the bedroom with panties and bra and my ding dong never move. I think a woman thats comfortable in her skin will never be worried if her husband have female friends. Whether one like it or not, a man or woman that wants to cheat will do regardless.

    • Buffeye

      November 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      The rule goes both ways for them. And who said both don’t pay the bills.

  13. mujer

    November 19, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Unfortunate man. So his life became choreographed after he tied the knot? Its like you see someone you could have a laugh with and you refuse to because of your wife’s insecurity? Does that mean you cannot meet new friends who are females and introduce her to them? This one na prison. Me sef no gree do this one to my husband. Person wey go waka go waka

  14. Toosweet

    November 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    As much as this might not be ultimate solution to infidelity; ultimate solution being self-restraint, I think it is still a good preventive measure. And also it hurts less when the person your spouse has cheated on you with is an unknown entity rather than someone you’ve always seen as his or her friend.

  15. Timmy tim

    November 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Some married women have insecurity issues depending on what they have been through before marriage period!

  16. AndiGirl

    November 30, 2014 at 2:40 am

    I applaud this concept it appears to work for the two of them. I have been married almost 24 years and would not make such a rule. The spouse could/would feel compel to lie about just a conversation with the opposite sex only because it shows a sign of jealousy and not being able to handle what is presented. I have known many ‘cheating’ co-workers that go out for ‘lunch’ with another co-worker. Agreeing that we won’t have friends of the opposite sex is nice as a measure of ‘think with your brain if this is a good idea or not’……..But honesty and trust mean a lot. On that note – Mary J Blige I wish you and your family a wonderful and Blessed Christmas.

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