Mariah Carey opens up about her tough upbringing, tumultuous relationships, and more in her new interview with The Guardian.
Carey, 50, is doing a promotional tour for her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. During an interview with The Guardian, the singer-songwriter discussed a wide variety of topics, including her experience growing up in a “dysfunctional family.” The singer said she would stay up all night out of fear of her home environment.
“I think my staying up all night started from having such a dysfunctional family. Oftentimes, whoever was in the house was doing whatever it was that they were doing, and that felt kinda unsafe to me, so I started staying up.” Carey went on to say that her hit song “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” was a creation inspired by her traumatic childhood. In fact, in her book, the singer said that Christmases were so unhappy that she wanted “to write a song that would make me feel like a carefree young girl at Christmas.”
Carey said she also received mistreatment from girls at school over her biracial identity, with white girls calling her the N-word. But, having a non-Black mother also made life a bit more difficult for Carey, as she revealed her hair was often matted because her mother didn’t know how to take care of it. “I can’t help that I’m ambiguous-looking,” she said, as she opened up about how colorism affected her life and career. “Most people would assume that it’s been to my benefit, and maybe it has in some ways. But it’s also been a lifelong quest to feel like I belong to any specific group. It shouldn’t have to be such a freaking thing – and please edit out the fact that I said ‘freaking.’ I’m not very eloquent right now.”
In her memoir, Carey also divulged her emotionally abusive relationship with her ex-husband Tommy Mottola. The singer said Mottola was controlling, would often spy on her, and made her a prisoner in their own home. She said writing about that time in her life was difficult. “Yes, it was traumatic, but was it harder than some of the other things I’ve gone through? Maybe yeah, actually. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully recover from the damage of that emotional abuse. But in my school of thought, you have to be a forgiving person,” Carey said.
Despite her decision to open up about her ex-husband, Carey said she won’t be mentioning every relationship in her memoir, and if she doesn’t, that means it never happened. “If it was a relationship that mattered, it’s in the book. If not, it didn’t occur,” she said. While she does confirm the rumored fling with Derek Jeter, she doesn’t touch on her marriage with Australian billionaire James Packer. “We didn’t have a physical relationship, to be honest with you,” she said.
But, when it comes to her stereotype of being a “diva” and “high-maintenance,” Carey couldn’t care less. “You know what? I don’t give a shit. I fucking am high-maintenance because I deserve to be at this point. That may sound arrogant, but I hope you frame it within the context of coming from nothing. If I can’t be high-maintenance after working my ass off my entire life, oh, I’m sorry – I didn’t realize we all had to be low-maintenance. Hell, no! I was always high-maintenance; it’s just I didn’t have anyone to do the maintenance when I was growing up!” she said.
“No! Who the fuck cares?” she continued, when asked if she cared about being called a diva. “Honestly! ‘Oh my God, they’re calling me a diva – I think I’m going to cry!’ You think in the grand scheme of things in my life that really matters to me, being called a diva? I am, bitches, that’s right!”