Mary J. Blige used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of her personal life at the beginning of her career, revealing she was "spinning" out of control.

The Family Affair singer is now clean and sober and even gave up the occasional glass of champagne following her friend Whitney Houston's death - but there was a time she was "struggling to survive" as she tried to balance her professional career with her out-of-control personal life.

In a candid new interview with the Bbc, she explains, "I was singing for my life. I was singing to get my family out of the projects. I can't really say I was having fun... All I remember was being onstage, singing hard and moving fast.

"Early on, I don't remember what was going on... I was just there singing. Everything was wrong. There was no support; I was a deer in the headlights. I was just spinning and trying to survive.

"That included everything - alcohol, drugs, anything to keep myself numb from seeing what the truth was, which is nobody cared."