Mary J. Blige always keeps it real.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul took a break from her nationwide Strength of A Woman Live Tour to speak with Variety about how she used marriage woes for her role as Florence Jackson in Dee Rees’ film adaption of the novel Mudbound.
“I used a lot of my own heaviness from my own misery that I was living in that horrible marriage,” Blige told Variety. “I was just dying in it. I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t prove it. I just had all the heaviness of not feeling right, not feeling good. I gave it to Florence.”
Although Blige’s marriage was unfolding during taping, she still found it difficult to perform intimate scenes with on-screen husband, Hap, played by actor Rob Morgan. “I was married. I never touched another man other than my husband. I was petrified: ‘Oh God. I don’t want to do it.'”
After being pulled aside by Rees, she realized, “This is the job. This is acting. You’ve got to commit.”
Blige reflected on her previous roles like 2001’s Prison Song. “I hope people don’t go digging it up,” she said. “When I see it, I get a tear from embarrassment.”
Aside from her upcoming role, Blige is still promoting her April release Strength Of A Woman, which debuted No. 3 on the Billboard 200. She recently selected “Glow Up” featuring DJ Khaled, Quavo (from rap trio Migos) and Missy Elliott.
Mudbound will be released on Netflix and select theaters on November 17.