LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The brother of actress Mo‘Nique, who won an Oscar for her role as an abusive mother in “Precious,” apologized on Monday for molesting his sister over a period of about two years when they were both children.
Gerald Imes told Oprah Winfrey in an appearance on her TV talk show that the abuse began when Mo‘Nique was about 7 years old and he was 13, but that he had denied it for decades.
“I‘m here today to first acknowledge what I’ve been in denial for 37 years, and that is I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her,” Imes said. “And for that, I apologize and I‘m humbly sorry that those actions had taken place.”
Mo‘Nique has previously spoken about the abuse, saying she drew on the pain inflicted by her brother to portray the vicious mother Mary Jones in the harrowing movie “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”
She swept the board in the Hollywood awards season this year for her performance, and dedicated her Golden Globe for best supporting actress to victims of abuse.
The movie also brought an Academy Award nomination for actress Gabourey Sidibe, who plays an obese teen twice impregnated by her father.
“I knew very well who that monster was. I knew Mary Jones,” Mo‘Nique told Winfrey in an earlier interview.
Imes said the fact that he was fuel for Mo‘Nique’s performance makes him feel like “a piece of crap.”
He said he has an especially hard time watching the last scene in the movie, in which Mary explains that the reason she hates her daughter is that Precious’ father chose her over Mary.
“That scene was Mo‘Nique going to my mother saying, ‘My brother did this to me,’ and my mother asking me, did I do this, and I said no. I saw her pain and my pain right then and there,” Imes said.
Mo‘Nique’s mother, Alice Imes, told Winfrey she hoped the role of Mary Jones had helped her daughter.
“I only hope with doing this, this can cleanse her heart. This can make her feel better about herself. Okay, it took until she was 42 to do this. I don’t care how long it took. I‘m just happy it happened,” Alice Imes said.
Mo‘Nique, who has not seen her brother for more than 10 years, declined to appear on the show.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Dean Goodman