Happy 40th Birthday, Mary J. Blige!
1/11/2011 8:38am EST
R&B superstar Mary J. Blige celebrates a milestone age on Tuesday as she turns 40 years old.
The Yonkers, New York native has been a permanent fixture in the spotlight since landing her first record deal at the tender age of 17.
She has since achieved worldwide success with her blend of hip-hop and soul and has sold over 50 million albums to date.
To wish Mary a very Happy Birthday, WENN has bowed down and compiled 10 fascinating facts about the "The Queen of Hip-hop Soul":
- Her father, Thomas, a jazz musician, taught her how to hit the high notes
- Blige and rap entrepreneur Sean 'Diddy' Combs' friendship dates back to 1992, when they were paired up to work on the singer's breakthrough debut album, "What's the 411?" It became a worldwide hit and set both artists on the fast-track to fame and fortune.
- She endured a tumultuous relationship during the 1990s with Jodeci singer K-Ci, but the romance came to an end in 1997. She went on to wed her manager Kendu Isaacs in 2003.
- The superstar made her acting debut on the hit sitcom "The Jamie Foxx Show" in 1998.
- Blige joined the growing trend of celebrity perfumers in the summer of 2010 when she launched the fragrance My Life through the beauty brand Carol's Daughter.
- The singer, who was sexually abused by a family member at the age of five, has championed women's rights throughout her career and established the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) with her record executive pal Steve Stoute in 2008.
- Blige dropped out of Lincoln High School in her native New York as a teen, but was awarded her high school diploma last year.
- She is celebrating her 10th year sober after slipping into a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol during the 1990s.
- The singer has won nine Grammy Awards.
- In 2008, editors at Rolling Stone magazine named Blige as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time.