Mary J. Blige is known for her heartbreak anthems. Songs no doubt inspired by her real-life relationships and break-ups. Fans of Blige have followed her through her highs and lows in love. No relationship was more toxic than her union with Jodeci frontman K-Ci. The soulful pairing made for magic on record but was not very healthy in real life. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Mary J Blige and K-Ci would first come together in the early ’90s during the recording sessions for her debut album What’s the 411? The two would come together for the duet “I Don’t Want to do Anything.” The smoldering record was the first display of their passionate chemistry. They would begin dating shortly afterward.
Mary admitted that K-Ci was a source of confidence for her at the time, being a new artist. She also had some insecurities as a singer, so joining him on a song really made her feel like she was where she belonged and could hold her own as a vocalist. At the time, Jodeci were the more established act.
Unfortunately for the pair, the bright lights and fame were too much and quickly began to impact their union. The young couple both began abusing drugs and alcohol while on the road and eventually started having physical altercations. Mary recalls being in a really dark place and “hating herself.” She feels that as a result, she attracted people that also “hated” her. While she did not name K-Ci, she did reflect on a bad relationship during an interview in 2002 that seemed to be describing their time together. Mary talks about nearly losing her life. She says at that moment, she understood she had to get away and make a change.
Mary J. Blige eventually left K-Ci, with much of their drama being the inspiration for her iconic album “My Life,” released in 1994. While much of Mary’s account can be found in a string of interviews, songs, and documentaries, K-Ci’s side is not as widely publicized. While their accounts are pretty much the same, K-Ci does open up about how much he loved Mary.
In an interview from 2013, he spoke with Thisis50 about their union and his thoughts. At the time, he and his brother JoJo were promoting a reality show about them trying to go sober. Their goal was to let people in on their mistakes and show people behind the scenes of their lives.
During the interview, the host brought up Mary J Blige and asked K-Ci his thoughts on how she’s portrayed their relationship over the years. For K-Ci, he wanted people to remember that they were young and their careers were colliding in a big way. He was not ready to settle down, and neither was Mary, so it did not mix. He says he will always love her and says they were friends before the relationship and hopes they could still be cool after. JoJo recalls their falling out being ego-driven. Mary and K-Ci both fought to control each other but it got out of control.
K-Ci says he eventually left their Long Island home behind and never returned because there were too many memories there. He admits they were not all bad but feels that sometimes it’s easier to only recall the negative and forget the good times.
During a 2015 Breakfast Club interview, he did recall some of the bad times, saying that Mary used to run up on stage and curse out fans in the front row who had touched him. She also frequently broke up their parties and, according to him, forcing them into a proposal.
In the years since their split, Mary’s star continued to rise, and she eventually became a bigger act than both of K-Ci’s groups. She would find love with Kendu Issacs, and for once, Mary seemed to be singing happy love songs. The happiness would fade, however, as rumors of infidelity came up and were proven to be true. Mary and Kendu would go on to have a nasty divorce, and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is currently single.
As for K-Ci, he is currently married to Cassandra Chestnut of South Carolina. He has maintained a clean life since becoming sober and posts frequently on social media about his gospel music and tour dates with his brother JoJo, the group Jodeci and fellow R&B group New Edition.