The “monster” Mo’Nique says she channeled in her Oscar-winning turn as Mary Jones in Precious hits the Oprah Winfrey Show today, reports the AP. The actress’ brother Gerald Imes says he molested Mo’Nique when they were kids, beginning when she was about 7 and he was 13. Imes, who has long been estranged from Mo’Nique, says he apologized to “bring back some family unity.”
“I’m here today to first acknowledge what I’ve been in denial for for 37 years, and that is I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her,” Imes says. “And for that, I apologize and I’m humbly sorry that those actions had taken place.”
Imes wanted to appear on the Oprah show to publicly apologize to Mo’Nique in the hopes of bringing their family back together.
“Hopefully somewhere, somehow, as siblings we can come back together as brother and sister,” he said.
‘I THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL’
Gerald reveals he himself was molested as a child and began doing drugs and alcohol when he was 11 to cope with the abuse. While Mo’Nique’s brother doesn’t excuse his actions, he says he thought it was normal behavior.
“I accepted it as being the norm,” he says. “I started using cocaine, heroine, alcohol at the age of 11. I used these drugs to hide my own pain. Fear at that age kept me from acknowledging my own abuse.”
He adds: “The drugs weren’t an excuse. They just allowed me the opportunity to do the things that were in the back of my mind as a kid that I always wanted to do.”
Ironically, Mo’Nique previously revealed to Oprah that she was able to draw on her tragic past to portray Mary Jones, the abusive mother in the film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, the role that earned her an Academy Award.
“I knew very well who that monster was,” said Mo’Nique, 42. “I knew Mary Jones. So when [the director] would say, ‘Action,’ that’s the monster that I became.”
YEARS OF DENIAL
For decades, Gerald denied his sister’s allegations and refused all interview requests. He says he hasn’t spoke to Mo’Nique in years but is finally ready to tell the truth.
“I’m here today to first acknowledge what I’ve been in denial for for 37 years, and that is, I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her,” says Imes. “And for that, I apologize and I’m humbly sorry that those actions had taken place.”
Mo’Nique’s parents, who also appeared on the show April 19, looked sad and shell-shocked. “It was such a heartbreaking thing to accept,” says her mother, Alice Imes. Mo’Nique’s dad, Gerald Imes, Sr., was stunned the sexual abuse had occurred under his own roof.
“You think of behaviors like this, and you accord them to other people, other families,” he says. “When it comes on your doorstep, when it comes into your household, there was a total state of confusion.”