Mary Wilson also faced one of the biggest tragedies as a mom when she lost her child, who was only 14, in a car crash.
For some people, including celebrities, it might take years before they are able to talk about their difficult life experiences. While celebrities today are not shunned for revealing their personal lives to the world, it was a different scenario a few decades ago. Many Hollywood stars tried to keep their personal lives out of the media since they didn't want to be adversely judged. Even if they were the victim of abuse.
Mary Wilson, who was part of the R&B band The Supremes, died at the age of 76 on February 9, 2021. Wilson "passed away suddenly," according to a statement from her longtime friend and publicist, Jay Schwartz, to CNN. She is survived by her daughter, son, several grandchildren, a sister, and brother.
Wilson did not have a significant partner, at least not known in the media, since her divorce from Pedro Ferrer, who was the road manager for The Supremes during the 1960s and '70s. Wilson was known for her incredible voice, and also as a pioneer. She carved out her solo career after leaving the band. However, while her public life soared, her personal life was shrouded in mystery until many years after her divorce.
Ferrer and Wilson got married in Las Vegas in 1974 and they went on to have three kids. Wilson also adopted her cousin’s 7-year-old son, Willie. However, they called it quits in 1981, as per Daily Express. They were unhappy together and Ferrer was reportedly abusive.
"Music helped me get through my unhappy marriage," Wilson noted. "I would say that my career really saved my sanity," she said. She never got married again even though she remained friends with her ex, singer Tom Jones, from before her marriage.
She took her time to talk about what she had been through in her marriage. She first wrote about it later in the decade in her memoir, Supreme Faith, published in 1989, where she decided to lay it bare. However, she was disappointed in how people ignored her courageous effort to expose her ex-partner.
"No one picked up on it, no one talked about it; I was really surprised. I was wide open for it, but no one dared mention it, and now I have people calling me left and right to do lectures on that situation. I don't mind it at all; we need to talk about it," she told The Chicago Tribune.
She said that the abuse was an open secret but "in the olden days you were taught never to get into anybody else’s problem, but because it is such a huge problem that has gone unattended, people should try to get in there and offer some help." She added, "When a woman is in that type of situation she most likely does not have the nerve or the energy to get out of it. She’s frightened, and so, therefore, you do need help to get out of it. You need to know that if you walk you won’t be walking alone. You’re afraid that you’ll be killed; I know I was."
For her, talking about it was the first step to finding a solution out of that toxic situation. "It not only helps to get things out of yourself, it helps other people to understand that there is a problem and to get some kind of legal thing happening for this type of situation," she said.
Despite how her marriage ended, she had dreams about a happy marriage and loved being a mom. “I always wanted to be married and have children and I love being pregnant,” she told Time magazine, according to Closer Weekly. “I had some of my stage dresses turned into maternity gowns because I worked into my ninth month."
However, she faced one of the biggest tragedies as a parent when she lost her son in 1994. She had fallen asleep while driving her Jeep and it crashed killing her youngest son Raphael at the age of 14. "It will be with me all my life," she told Daily Express.