Mary J. Blige made a career as one of the world’s most successful R&B singers by channeling the pain she experienced as a child into her music. Now her father, whom she has said was violently abusive to her alcoholic mother, lies near death in a Kalamazoo, Michigan, hospital after more violence, this time with himself as the victim.
According to police in Battle Creek, Michigan, where 63-year-old Thomas Blige has lived for about 10 years, his former girlfriend stabbed him in the neck three times Thursday morning, in yet another domestic dispute between the ex-couple, USA Today reported.
Since August, police were called seven times to settle domestic disputes between the father of Mary J. Blige and 50-year-old Cheryl Ann White, who lives in the same building as Blige. But this one turned deadly.
NBC News reports that White is now in Calhoun County Jail where she faces a charge of assault with intent to kill.
Thomas Blige lives with a roomate, Michael Thomas, who said that the Grammy-winning singer’s father heard “hissing sounds” coming from outside their second floor flat in The Arbors apartment complex at 200 Oakbrook Road in Battle Creek.
Blige ran outside to find Wood slashing all four tires on his vehicle. He confronted her and “that’s when she attacked him,” Thomas told Kalamazoo’s WOOD-TV News.
“He came back in and yelled for me,” Thomas told the station. “I woke up and came to his rescue.” He found Blige writhing on the floor, “bleeding profusely.” So he called 911 and then attempted to stem Blige’s bleeding.
“I had to grab towels and cover the wounds the best I could until the rescue came,” Thomas said.
Though some reports have described Blige as estranged from his famous daughter since abandoning the family when the now-43-year-old Mary J. Blige was just four, Michael Thomas says that in his experience with the 50-million-album-selling singer’s father, that has not been true.
“They’re in very close contact with each other,” Thomas said of Mary J. Blige and her Vietnam veteran father, who according to one account of the singer’s life story, suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My mother went through awful abuse from my father,” the singer has said, quoted on Biography.com. “He left us when I was four, but he’d come back from time to time and abuse her some more.”
Mary J. Blige once described her family in an interview with The Guardian newspaper as “angry, hateful, jealous, ignorant, prideful people.” But she later softened her stance toward them.
As of Friday morning, Mary J. Blige has not commented publicly on her father’s stabbing. The most recent post on the Mary J. Blige Facebook page was time-stamped around Thursday at 1 pm Eastern time, hours after her father went to the hospital, but made no mention of the incident.