Mary J. Blige says her divorce left her feeling like she ''was nothing''.

The 'Be Without You' hitmaker's split from her estranged husband Kendu Isaacs caused her to feel ''mentally beaten down and manipulated''.

Speaking at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, she said: ''Mentally, you've been beaten down and manipulated, in front of the world. You're trying to protect the person.

''You're trying to hold yourself together, so when you've been beaten down mentally, you go home, and you deal with that ... I was beginning to think I was nothing ... Being Mary J. Blige, the celebrity, is secondary. I'm a human being first. I suffer like everybody else.''

And Mary has previously confessed that she had ''no choice'' but to divorce her husband.

She explained: ''I'm in the process of helping myself. It's not something that I wanted to do [getting divorced], but I had no choice. I'm not writing an album preaching to anyone about what they should do. I'm literally trying to heal myself through writing, through singing, through some kind of way of getting it out of my system.

''I had to do something other than what I would normally do. I had to get out of my environment, out of my comfort zone, take a long hard look at myself in order to embrace everything that was happening so I can love myself out of the whole thing and that's how this album was originated.''

The 46-year-old singer admits every day has been a ''challenge'' since she split from her husband.

She shared: ''The beautiful thing is that I got the chance to take something so dark and give my fans a smile on their faces, and give them something that they can appreciate.

''Every single day it's a challenge, it's a trial. But, through this trial, I'm going to take care of myself, work out, pray, keep my head up and smile through it.''