Mary J Blige dated Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey, from the group Jodeci, for 12 years. In the end, she was left with public embarrassment and a lot of pain.
Mary J Blige has always been open about the struggles she has faced in life. She was abused as a child, her father left her family when she was still a kid, and her mother was an alcoholic.
More recently, her ex-husband Kendu Isaacs cheated on her and spent her money on his mistress. But back in the ‘90s, when her career was still in its early stages, Mary J. Blige was dealing with a different toxic relationship.
While her career has been nothing but successful since she came into the music scene in the early ‘90s, Blige’s love life was filled with regrets and abuse since the very beginning.
Before meeting Isaacs and marrying him in 2003, Mary was involved in a long-lasting relationship with a fellow R&B singer, K-Ci Hailey, whom she met while working on her first full-length album, “What’s the 411?”
Mary and K-Ci became a poster couple: they were young, talented, and had thriving careers. Overall, they were allegedly crazy for each other, and even shared those feelings with the world in the epic duet “I Don’t Want To Do Anything.”
They were together for 12 years, but things between them switched along the way, and the relationship became abusive, according to what Blige said years later.
The most famous incident took place in London, where Blige and Jodeci would be performing on the same show. They had separate interviews on the same show, "The Word," and while Blige was on-air, she was prompted by the host to share the news of her engagement, and revealed K-Ci had given her a ring.
However, the host then asked Blige to watch pre-recorded footage they had from the interview with Jodeci. There, K-Ci assured his fans that he was not getting married, and there was no engagement in the works.
As the camera panned back to Blige, she was upset and disappointed, stating “No, we're not getting married now." But even after the public embarrassment she faced, with fans calling her a liar and more, Blige decided to stay with K-Ci.
She said in an interview years later.
“When I was supposed to let go I started feeling like, nah, I can't let these women take what I know I worked so hard for, what I cried over every night and what I actually fought and [was] abused by."
In a 2002 interview with The Guardian, Blige recalled how her ex-boyfriend tried to kill her. And while she didn’t name K-Ci, fans assumed she was talking about him because of the timing of the interview and their fresh break-up.
“I was in a hellish relationship. When you hate yourself, you draw people to you who hate you too," she said. And continued:
“You get sick and tired of being sick and tired, of people beating on you. It was the day I was almost murdered. I screamed with all the breath I had left as my boyfriend physically tried to take me out of this world. There were weapons involved. I said I can't do this no more. I had seen little signs of it after two or three years with him, but that day I said, no more of this drama."
While K-Ci has never mentioned the abuse allegations, the singer has shared his point of view on the relationship, stating that while he had much love for Blige, he wasn’t ready to settle, and she was aware of that. He told Vibe in 2006.
“I never said I was going to marry her. Yes, I gave her a ring, not because I wanted to marry her. I gave her a ring after she came off tour and she kept hinting around that she wanted a ring. I never agreed to marry Mary J. We never talked about starting a family or anything like that. We were not as serious as people thought.”
Three years ago, the crooner recalled on “The Breakfast Club” radio show one incident where Blige got on stage in the middle of Jodeci’s show, took the mic, and told a girl in the front row to “never touch her man ever again.” He explained:
“We had fun man. We was young. It just exploded. I’m not gon’ lie, I did some things. She couldn’t take that heat [sic].”
Eventually, Blige moved on and so did K-Ci, but they never crossed paths again, at least not publicly, until the 2017 “Dear Mama” VH1 special, where Jodeci performed while Blige was sitting in the first row with her mom.
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