While being interviewed by Variety about her new film Mudbound, the singer opened up about the dissolution of her 12-year marriage. She said that her toxic relationship helped bring to life her character Florence in Dee Rees’ epic film.
It was a rough time for Blige in her personal life. Her marriage to her husband was crumbling. “I used a lot of my own heaviness from my own misery that I was living in that horrible marriage,” says the performer, who worked with an acting coach. “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.”
She felt most conflicted about an aspect of her character that wouldn’t have been a hitch for most actresses. “The hardest part was intimacy,” she says about the scenes where she lies in bed and slow dances with her on-screen husband, Hap (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.’” Rees took her aside and told her that she had to work on that. “You know what, Mary?” she told herself. “This is the job. This is acting. You’ve got to commit.” She delivered so convincingly, she made her director cry.
Blige also described her very public relationship with her “con artist” husband as one where she got “suckered.”
“I’m doing OK,” she said. “I’m living. I’m not happy about a lot of things. I thought someone loved me, right? Turns out, he was a con artist and he didn’t, and now he’s coming after me for all my money. When you come out of something like that, you realize you were never the one. There was someone else that was his queen. I got played. I got suckered. I have to keep smiling and keep my spirits up because this is designed to kill me.”
It’s been predicted that Blige’s Mudbound will make a serious splash this awards season, including supporting actress nominations for the singer herself. According to Collider, co-written and directed by Rees (Pariah), this Southern epic is centered on two families—one white and one Black—who live on a farm. The Black family works on the farm for the white family, but it’s not like The Help. This story delves deep into its characters of color and shines a serious light on racism, poverty and World War II.
Take a look at the trailer below: