Blige was quickly dubbed ‘the Queen of hip-hop soul’, ushering in a new era of R&B.

Her second album, My Life, released two years later, and brimming with songs of pain and poverty, cemented her reputation and has been named one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

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Blige filed for divorce from her estranged husband, 48, and former manager last year, and recently accused him of spending $420,000 on the unnamed girl while claiming it was a business expense.

Sources told Page Six that 'everyone knew' about the affair with Starshell, whose real name is La Neah Menzies.'Mary was the last to know, but it’s like, how do you not know? Blige signed Starshell to her own Matriarch Entertainment record label, and even allowed her co-write a couple of her tracks.

But over by the window, the 42-year-old singer sat serenely sipping green tea, with a dressing gown draped over her lap.

‘I’m probably the happiest that I’ve ever been,’ she says.

‘Because I’ve accepted everything about myself: things that are good, things that are bad, and I don’t beat myself up any more about the things that I can’t change.’ In quantifiable terms, she is, she says, an eight out of ten on the happiness scale, compared to a five a decade ago, and ‘probably a zero’ 15 years ago.

‘The way I was living, I should have been dead,’ she says of the decade she spent ‘spinning out of control’ in an alcohol- and cocaine-fuelled fog.She often brought her to red carpet events to build her profile; indeed many of the photos on her website are of the two together. He wants her to do well.'Daily reached out to Blige's reps for comment.'It was more like one of those things where you end up believing what you want to believe. Last week TMZ reported the singer has been fighting off demands from her ex for 0,000 a month in spousal support.During the drugs-and-drinking years, she once threatened to punch a female journalist in an interview, and was sent for etiquette lessons by her record label.In short, the worst kind of diva, and dangerous with it.She lets out a snort: ‘It’s definitely worse.’ When I mention Miley Cyrus, and Sinéad O’Connor’s open letter warning her against allowing the music industry to ‘prostitute her’, she raises an eyebrow and puts a teacup to her lips.