Monique Imes, professionally known as Mo’Nique, was born Dec. 11, 1967, in Woodlawn, Maryland. The actress got her start in comedy when her brother dared her to perform at a comedy club’s open mic night. In the late ’90s, she got her big break playing Nikki Parker on Moesha and its spinoff, The Parkers.
The comedian continued to act in several other films and television shows over the years in supporting roles. In 2007, she hosted VH1’s Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, where she helped out-of-control reality contestants reshape their lives.
In Oct. 2009, she debuted The Mo’Nique Show on BET, making her the first African American woman to host her own late night show since 1993. Later that year, she drew enormous critical praise for her dramatic portrayal of an abusive mother in Precious, alongside newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, which won her an Oscar.
Mo’Nique has been married twice and has three sons. She and first husband, Mark Jackson, split in 2001. Mo’Nique is currently in an open marriage with Sidney Hicks, whom she wed in 2006.