updated 11/05/2009 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/07/2009 AT 4:25 PM ET
While Mo’Nique may be known for her sassy stand-up comedy and larger-than-life personality, at her home just outside of Atlanta she is simply “Mommy.”
“When we’re at home it ain’t ‘action and cut’,” says the mom of 4-year-old twins, Jonathan and David, and a 19-year-old son, Shalon. “It’s just like a playground in our house – nothing but fun and love.”
But when she took on the role of an abusive mother in the film Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire, the actress set her current contentment aside and recalled a much harder time in her life. In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Mo’Nique opens up about the sexual abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her eldest brother – and how she channeled that experience onscreen.