Mary Wilson is a true survivor.

After a poor upbringing in Detroit, she attained stardom as one-third of the ultimate ’60s girl group The Supremes.

“We were the girl group that was giving everyone a run for their money,” recalls Mary to ‘Closer.’

the supremes

Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong of ‘The Supremes’ in January 1960.

But the harmony among founding members Mary, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross didn’t last, and The Supremes, after several changes in the lineup, disbanded in 1977.

Related Story: Diana Ross Returns to Las Vegas For a Nine-Show Residency

“It was hardest when Flo left the group. For me, that ended the dream,” says Mary, whose personal life also weathered many upheavals, including an abusive marriage and the car accident death of her teenage son, Rafael, in 1994.

mary wilson

Mary performing in August 2014.

“Losing him still hurts to this day. He was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Mary shares. “But I became a stronger and better person.”

The still-glamorous 70-year-old singer admits that the love of her children, daughter Turkessa, 39, and sons Pedro Jr., 38, and Willie, 56, gave her the strength to carry on. She’s since succeeded as an author, U.S. cultural ambassador and solo singer.

She confides, “It has taken me thirty-some years to get to a level where I’m proud and confident to be Mary Wilson.”

To read the full story on Mary, pick up the new issue of ‘Closer Weekly,’ on newsstands now!