Queen Latifah always looks like she has everything under control, but revealed she has struggled with alcoholism and was molested as a child.
Latifah is proud that she has managed to win a Grammy and a Golden Globe without compromising her personal ideals.
"There's probably no reason I should be here as an African-American girl from Newark," Latifah told Good Housekeeping. "I was not born a size two. I'm not skinny, period. I'm not willing to sleep with the director or step on somebody else's neck to get the job."
Queen Latifah said her faith in God, her close relationship with her mom, and a positive attitude have fueled her success. "[My philosophy is] accentuating the positive and eliminating as much negative as possible," she said.
Latifah, who embraces her curves, learned to be happy with her looks after struggling with a negative body image for years.
I think I got to that place by not being happy with the other side — hating your body and criticizing yourself all the time. When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, You're either going to love yourself or hate yourself. And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things."
Latifah got breast-reduction surgery in 2003 to relieve her chronic back and shoulder pain, but aside from that, is completely natural.
Latifah said she self-medicated with alcohol after her brother died in a motorcycle accident in 1992 (on the motorcycle she had bought for him). Three years later, a close friend was shot and nearly died in her arms.
The tragic incidents threw Queen Latifah into a dark depression. "Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself [was how I coped]," she said. "Every day I would be faded, like a painting that's just not vibrant, whose edges are dull. I wasn't living my full life."
In 1996, Latifah was arrested for driving with marijuana and a loaded handgun, and sought therapy to regain control of her life. She revealed to her therapist that she had been molested by her babysitter when she was five years old and had kept the incident a secret for decades.
Latifah overcame the shame and guilt about her sexual abuse after realizing she was not at fault. "What set me free was looking at it from a different perspective," she says.
"I was five, manipulated and afraid. You have to say something. The power of those who perpetrate the abuse is your fear and your shame. And that's unacceptable."
Now strengthened by her past struggles, Latifah is stronger than ever and appreciates the small things in life. "My New Year's resolution is to stay humble and be joyous," she said. "Whether that's spending time with family, hiking, driving around, listening to music, or playing with my dog. It's so important to take care of ourselves that way."
Queen Latifah reveals how she overcame the odds on her road to fame and fortune in her book Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom.