Mary J. Blige's Divorce and Ex-Husband: What to Know

Mary J. Blige said her self-esteem was nearly at its end just a few years ago after a nasty divorce left her almost penniless. Despite her fame and accomplishments, many fans are unaware of her troubled past and 13-year marriage to her former manager, Kendu Isaacs. Blige's ex-husband Isaacs was born on August 1968 and made his living as a record producer. Aside from being an executive producer of Betty and Coretta, in which Mary J. Blige starred, he was also credited on the reality show Tamar & Vince. Furthermore, he is reported as working for the Berlin-based artist management company K.I. Management. Isaacs executive produced and managed several of Blige's albums, including My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1)Stronger With Each Tear, and A Mary Christmas. On December 7, 2003, Isaacs and Blige married after finding love while working together. They did not share any children during their marriage, but Isaacs had three children from previous relationships. Adding that she tried her best to make time for Isaacs' children, the singer said she enjoyed being a stepmother.  A decade later, the singer spoke fondly of her husband and how she knew he was the one. During an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show, she said, "My past was just horrific. I felt ashamed about everything. Me dropping out of high school, me not, you know, just not being beautiful enough." According to Blige, Isaacs cared for and loved her deeply throughout their relationship. His openness and affection were both qualities she craved, and he was not afraid to speak the truth to her. In a separate interview concerning their marriage, the singer joked that she would not let her husband have female friends. "All females for me, all guys for him," the Blige revealed. "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."

However, Isaacs reportedly had an affair during the marriage, ending their union. Blige talked about her marriage to Isaacs during an interview with Self and said: "Well, when I look back, I see that we all want what we want, and we want it to be the way we want it to be. I wanted a savior; I'd been hurting so long, and so much, and so bad." Blige filed for divorce in July 2016, citing irreconcilable differences. In 2017, Isaacs raised eyebrows by dating Blige's signed up-and-coming artist, Starshell; he also allegedly cheated on Blige with her. Blige and Isaacs fought over the divorce settlement, with Blige trying to get out of paying her husband's $30,000 spousal support. According to the 2017 court order, Blige was ordered to pay Isaacs, who also managed her during their 13-year marriage, $30,000 monthly in alimony and $135,000 retroactively back to Sept. 1, 2016. Additionally, Blige was to pay $100,000 in attorney's fees and expert costs, less than Isaacs' request for $167,000 in fees and costs. Isaacs's initial request to Blige for his monthly expenses was more than $120,000In their divorce case., Blige accused Isaacs of infidelity. She also alleged that he'd spent the money extravagantly on his mistresses. The following year, the former couple settled their divorce out of court, and the settlement came months later. In the single "Rent Money" from her 2022 album Good Morning Gorgeous, Blige sings about being unable to pay her rent. According to her, it is an accurate account of her divorce proceedings. "Rent money is [about] when I first got divorced," she told Angie Martinez, per Yahoo News. "I had to give up all this alimony, and I didn't have no more money to give because he had spent it all. So, I had to go, you know, I had to go on tour and make all the money back to pay the alimony."

She continued: "I didn't have no money to pay my rent and all this other stuff." Despite her situation, she felt free even after paying Isaacs. "But it's also a metaphor like, I didn't have my soul. I was just drained of everything. So it was time for somebody to pay; sometimes you just feel like somebody gotta pay." Eventually, the settlement came in 2018, and the Grammy winner and her ex-husband, Kendu Isaacs, finalized the divorce on June 20, 2018. Her growth in self-love since her divorce inspired Good Morning Gorgeous, Blige said later. For the first time in her life, the 51-year-old Power Book II: Ghost actress said she felt confident about herself, inside and out. "I didn't feel beautiful—like for real for real, not just 'Hey, I'm pretty' but actually believing it—until about 2016," Blige said in an interview with Elle Magazine. She was still married to Isaacs at the time. She said she already had insecurities going into the marriage, and he contributed more as their relationship progressed. "If you've been beat down mentally by someone, you're never pretty enough. You're never smart enough. Nothing's ever good enough," she said. Also, she told the hosts of The Breakfast Club that Isaacs "hated me more than I hated myself." In an appearance on The View, Blige revealed that she began speaking positively about herself daily in the mirror so that she would come to love herself. "The title came from a place when I was in a lot of bondage, in a dark place, and I had to learn how to speak positive affirmations and positive things over my life to get out of this dark situation," she said.  Blige has noted that people told her Good Morning Gorgeous had saved their lives. She also revealed that over the years, she had learned to forgive Isaacs for "everything he did" and herself for being "so stupid."