It looks like there’ll be “No More Drama” with male friends for Mary J. Blige.
In a recent interview with Stella Magazine, the singer revealed the secret to making her marriage work has been no friends of the opposite sex for both she and manager-turned-husband Kendu Isaacs.
“All females for me, all guys for him,” Blige told the British magazine. “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.”
So far so good—the duo has been married for 11 years next month. Isaacs stood by Blige during her tumultuous drug-addled years and was the one who encouraged her to get clean.
His support as both manager and husband have helped the nine-time Grammy winner thrive. Though, she admits, being married to her manager isn’t always the easiest thing.
“He always has my back—he’s going to fight to the death for Mary J. Blige,” she said. “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. If one of you doesn’t want to talk about something right now, you have to respect that.”
The 43-year-old singer compared her healthy marriage to her six-year relationship with Jodeci singer K-Ci Hailey, one that she has called abusive.
“In my twenties, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin,” she said. “Because we didn’t love ourselves enough, we hang out with the wrong people, we got out with the wrong guys. We don’t believe that we deserve better.”
Blige goes on to say that though she never felt pressure to have kids, she loves being a stepmom to Isaacs’ three kids, ages 15, 16, and 28.
“I never was sitting around thinking, ‘Oh God, I want a baby.’ No,” Blige said. “And then these very special kids came along, and it was like they were tailor-made for me to be their stepmom.”