March 5, 2010 — -- For the actress Mo'Nique, the road to the Academy Awards was a long one.
Born Monique Imes in Woodlawn, Md., the future star worked as a bank teller, a chicken restaurant employee and a supervisor at a phone sex line before she first took the stage at a Baltimore comedy club and proved that she could knock 'em dead.
An incredibly versatile performer, Mo'Nique has gone on to conquer pretty much every stage she stepped onto.
The actress made a name for herself on the UPN series "The Parkers." She has a lucrative movie career, starring in films such as "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" and "Soul Plane." She hosted the first season of "Charm School" on VH1 and currently stars in her own talk show, "The Mo'Nique Show," on BET.
Now Mo'Nique, 42, is poised to take home her biggest trophy yet: a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of an abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." The star already has won a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Golden Globe Award and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for her performance.
In the final "Barbara Walters Oscars Special," Mo'Nique sat down with Walters to talk about her life, her career and her plans for the future.
Watch "The Barbara Walters Oscar Special" before the Academy Awards Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Walters and Mo'Nique discussed potentially prickly topics, including her unorthodox personal grooming habits: Was it true that she does not believe in shaving her legs?
"No ma'am," said Mo'Nique. "If you have seen my legs, Barbara, now I'm 42, and I'm very hairy.
"Now, the older you get, your hair drops off, right?" she said. "So, as a younger woman, I was even hairier. I tried shaving one time. It was so uncomfortable and so painful, and when it grew back, it grew back even thicker, and more of it. I said never again would I do that to myself."
And how, Walters asked, does her husband, Sidney Hicks, feel about that?
"He loves the hairy legs," said Mo'Nique.
"Well," said Walters, "what else matters, then?"
Mo'Nique's 'Open Marriage'
On her almost-four-year marriage to Hicks, Mo'Nique told Walters she's in an open marriage, which she defined as having "no secrets."
"Open means, you know what, let me tell you my every secret, my fantasies, my thoughts, so that way there are no surprises," Mo'Nique said.
"Do you and Sid have sex outside of the marriage?" Walters asked.
"Let me say this," Mo'Nique replied. "I have not had sex outside of my marriage with Sidney. Could I have sex outside of my marriage with Sidney? Yes. Could Sid have sex outside of his marriage with me? Yes. That's not a deal-breaker."
Walters pressed: What if it happened more than once?
"What if it's 20 times?" asked Mo'Nique, who has twin boys with Hicks and a son from an earlier marriage. "That's not something that ... would make us say, 'Pack your things and let's end the marriage.' Because, we've been best friends for ... is it over 25 years? And we truly know who we are. Truly.
"Oftentimes, people get into marriages, and they don't know who they're laying next to," she said. "I'm very comfortable and secure with my husband."
For the rest of Barbara Walters' interview with Mo'Nique, watch "The Barbara Walters Oscars Special" at 7 p.m. ET.