Monique Angela Hicks, better known as Mo'Nique, has made her mark in the world of comedy and acting with her charismatic performances and unapologetic authenticity. Born on December 11, 1967, Mo'Nique's journey to stardom wasn't always glittering with Oscar awards and applause.
In fact, her family dynamic growing up made Mo'Nique face a lot of difficult challenges.
Behind her success lies the influence of two individuals who played key roles in her upbringing — her parents, Alice Imes and Steven Imes Jr.
Let's take a closer look at Mo'Nique's parents and siblings to see how her family dynamic shaped this star into the comedian we all know (and love) today.
Mo'Nique's parents weren't great growing up, according to the comedian.
Mo'Nique, a powerhouse of talent and courage in the entertainment industry, has often spoken about her challenging upbringing. The award-winning actress and comedian has used her platform to openly discuss the harsh realities that marked her early life, providing a raw and unfiltered look at the struggles many families face.
Her mother, Alice Ime, wrestled with a gambling addiction. This is a serious issue that can lead to financial instability, and emotional stress, and can disrupt family dynamics.
Her father, Steven Imes Jr., battled alcoholism. Living with an alcoholic parent can create an unpredictable and often turbulent home environment.
In 2023, Mo'Nique opened up about how she felt betrayed by Oprah Winfrey when she invited her parents on her talk show without her permission.
We never talked about my mother being there," Mo'Nique told The Hollywood Reporter of the situation. "Oprah and I had a private conversation about our mothers. This is the part people don't know."
She continued, "I shared with Oprah Winfrey what we were going through and how I felt," she added. "But you don't tell me you have my mother and my father on your show, and you think that that's just OK?"
Mo'Nique has a unique relationship with her siblings.
Mo'Nique's relationships with her brothers, Gerald and Steve, aren't any healthier. Growing up, Mo'Nique faced unimaginable pain at the hands of Gerald, who sexually abused her. "I'm sorry, Mo'Nique. I'm sorry. I betrayed everybody's trust. I broke that trust. I broke that bond," Gerald said on The Oprah Winfrey Show per ABC News.
Mo'Nique's relationship with her other brother, Steve, is tainted by deception and betrayal. Steve crossed the line when he tried to commit fraud under her name, a violation that shook their sibling relationship to its core.
Yet, amidst these challenging familial experiences, Mo'Nique stands tall as a beacon of strength and resilience. She has risen above her past and uses her journey as a source of inspiration for others facing similar struggles.
Mo'Nique stayed quiet about her sexual orientation to not disappoint her grandmother.
Mo'Nique has shared that her grandmother, a deeply religious woman, believed she had failed because she raised a child who was gay. According to The Huffington Post, Mo'Nique herself grappled with her sexual orientation, experiencing attraction to women.
She admitted to feeling a sense of guilt when her grandmother passed away because she never revealed this part of her identity to her grandmother or her immediate family.
She chose to keep this a secret for years, not wanting to disrupt the love and admiration she received from her grandmother. In her grandmother's eyes, she was the "prize," and Mo'Nique wanted to preserve that cherished feeling.
Despite the trials she faced within her family and the struggles with her own identity, she has managed to rise above and use these experiences as fuel for her personal growth.
Her story serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, it's possible to preserve love and respect while staying true to oneself.