Looking at Mary J. Blige now, it's easy to forget that the queen of hip hop soul once made more headlines for her drug and alcohol addictions than her music. But Blige did battle a lot of demons, a fact that hit home to her when she learned of another talented singer's untimely death, the result of years of substance abuse.
"When I got the text about Amy [Winehouse], I was lying down on the bed ... I kept getting up and laying back down for some reason. I'd always wanted to work with Amy, so I just couldn't believe it really," she tells Ebony. "And then it hit me — that could have been me. That really could have been me!"
Winehouse isn't the only embattled female singer Blige can relate to. “I understood what Rihanna went through with Chris Brown," she said in an interview with an Australian newspaper last year. "I don’t want to comment on it. But I know exactly what they were both going through," she added, possibly recalling her experiences with singer K-Ci Hailey. “I overcame an abusive relationship by learning to love myself."
Thankfully, Blige made a full recovery from her bouts with substance abuse and depression and now helps other young women get ahead through her non-profit organization FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now).
(Photo: Paul Morigi/GettyImages)
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