What Mary J. Blige Really Blames For Her Divorce From Kendu Isaacs

Mary J. Blige was married to her former manager, Kendu Isaacs from 2003 until 2018, and their romance was no fairy tale. However, during their early years, Blige framed Isaacs as a supportive partner and lifeline who led the charge for her sobriety after years of substance abuse. Notably, Blige thanked Isaacs for helping her finally overcome her years-long addiction in 2003's "No One Will Do." Blige also cited Isaacs as the person who helped to improve her self-esteem. During a 2003 interview with CBS News, where Blige spoke candidly about her past abusive relationships, she spoke highly of Isaacs. "He's not afraid of me," said Blige. "He's not intimidated by me. He's very confident and I think that's one of the reasons why I'm still with him." 

Unfortunately, things were different behind the scenes for the couple, who experienced several rocky years together. According to TMZ, Blige initiated divorce filings against Isaacs in 2016, citing irreconcilable differences while also requesting that the judge block Isaacs' right to petition for spousal support. Shortly after, Blige was forced to engage in a legal battle surrounding finances and other betrayals that played out very publicly. When all was said and done, Blige had to pay Isaacs $30,000 a month in spousal support thanks to a temporary court order. Unsurprisingly, money was also at the center of Blige's motivation to divorce Isaacs. But it wasn't her only motivation. 

Mary J. Blige says Kendu Isaacs was a con artist

As Mary J. Blige promoted her critically acclaimed role in 2017's "Mudbound" to Variety, she also spoke briefly, yet candidly, about how she'd been faring since filing to divorce Kendu Isaacs. At the time, it wasn't good. "I'm not happy about a lot of things," said Blige. "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," she continued referring to their court battle over spousal support. "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."

Keeping up with the court's order proved difficult for Blige — at least in the beginning. In 2022, Blige spoke with Angie Martinez and revealed that her new song, "Rent Money," was about her divorce from Isaacs. As the song title suggests, Blige's financial obligations to Isaacs also left her with zero funds to pay her own rent. "'Rent Money' is [about] when I first got divorced," said Blige (via The Grio). "I had to give up all this alimony, and I didn't have no more money to give because he had spent it all. So, I had to go, you know, I had to go on tour, and make all the money back to pay the alimony." 

Kendu Isaacs reportedly cheated on Mary J. Blige

Financial issues weren't Mary J. Blige's only incentive for divorce. As referenced above, the R&B diva also accused Kendu Isaacs of cheating on her. While speaking with Angie Martinez in 2017, Blige admitted that Isaacs was unfaithful during their marriage. "You start to realize that this man doesn't want you, and he's just gone all the time and you're by yourself in the relationship," the singer once explained, according to People. "When you realize you're by yourself and you're just suffering through it, now it's time to do some investigating." Unfortunately, Blige discovered that Isaacs was indeed cheating on her.

Kendu Isaacs never directly confirmed or denied whether he had an affair. However, he did imply that Blige's recollections of their divorce were untruthful. Taking to Instagram in 2017, Isaacs shaded Blige's BET Awards performance, which included references to their divorce. "I love you to death Mary J. Blige, I can't even begin to understand why you are going about this the way you have been," wrote Isaacs on Instagram (via VIBE). "I never wanted to discuss our life airing the drama. You know me better than that." Isaacs also implied that Blige was lying about what occurred during their relationship. "That intro was so forced!!!!! Ok. It's time for me to tell the truth," he added.