Being in a relationship should not be like owning or being owned by anyone, says Mo'Nique, who has an open marriage with her husband, Sidney Hicks.
The 47-year-old Oscar-winning actress told The New York Times in 2007 that the two have an agreement to "always be honest," adding, "If sex happens with another person, that's not a deal breaker for us, that's not something where we'll say, 'Oh my God, we've got to go to divorce court, and you cheated on me.' Because we don't cheat.'' She made similar comments on Barbara Walters' 2010 Oscars special.
"Often times people cheat because of something they're not getting. But when you have open and honest dialogue and you say, 'We're just human beings' and all these people on the face of the earth, do you think my eyes won't ever say, 'He's fine' or 'She's attractive'?" she said in an audio interview with True Exclusives, published on Tuesday, when asked about people in relationships having a "free pass to cheat."
"Now if you wanna go further with it, let's be honest enough to have those conversations. 'What is it about that person that you find that you wanna sleep with?'" she said. "Because they may give you something that I'm simply not willing to do. And if that's the case, how could I be mad? Because I'm not gonna do it. Should I deprive you of not having it? That's when the relationship is real real."
Mo'Nique and Hicks have been married since 2006 and share twin 10-year-old sons. She also has an older son from a previous marriage.
According to the "Precious" actress, the idea of cheating being "the end" of a relationship is a Western idea and is part of a culture of ownership in relationships.
"See, we've been taught to have ownership. That's the Western way to do it," she told True Exclusives. "I originate from this place called Africa and what I know of African kings – tell me about one of them that just had one wife. Do you know any of them? I don't. That's where I originate from. So, when we came here, we adopted other people's ways and that's called ownership.
"I don't want to be owned anymore. I want to love you so much...I don't want to have ownership over anyone," she added. "We've been there before. Because we've been taught and conditioned to believe that if you should sleep with somebody else, that's the damnedest of sins, that's adultery, that's the [most] horrible thing ever. We're human, guys, that's all...do what works for you. What works for your mom and daddy might not work for you and your man."