Mariah Carey and James Packer never got married, but their break-slash-breakup is feeling and sounding like an ugly divorce. A report on Monday had the two in the middle of contentious settlement talks involving money, a mansion and claims that another woman and another man are involved, though not in the ways you might imagine.
Another report said Carey only learned her engagement was officially over through the media, like everyone else — and unnamed sources on both sides of the split have been very chatty in the last week or so, dropping blame grenades left and right.
“They split a couple of weeks ago,” a source close to Packer told People on Thursday. “It’s possible they will get back together. They are still talking, but James needed a break.”
Alas, the “talking” may not have amounted to much. E! News, whose parent company also owns the network handling Carey’s upcoming reality show, said the couple had a loud falling-out during a vacation in Greece but were going to meet last week in L.A. “to talk through everything like adults.” That meeting never happened, the outlet said.
The diva and the billionaire hit it off in Aspen in 2014 and got engaged in January, with a $10-million, 35-carat diamond ring marking the occasion.
On Friday, TMZ said Carey was demanding $50 million from Packer as part of a split settlement because he reportedly made various financial promises to her, and she had uprooted her family from New York so the twice-married father of three could be near his kids. On Monday, a mansion in L.A. was added to the list of demands, according to TMZ.
Confirmation that the romance was off came shortly after Aussie magazine Woman’s Day broke the news of the split and blamed it entirely on Carey: her upcoming reality show — the Australian billionaire apparently wanted nothing to do with it — her failure to connect with his family, her allegedly extravagant spending sprees. (“James is very generous but Mariah takes it to the next level,” a supposedly close friend told the outlet.)
The same day, a source close to Carey told TMZ that “something really bad” had gone down between Packer and one of Carey’s people on the tycoon’s yacht during a vacation off the coast of Greece. Whatever it was, the website said the incident was bad enough that Mimi took her toys and went home.
Then on Friday, Woman’s Day called Carey’s manager, Stella Bulochnikov, “the other woman” in the relationship. And no, not that kind of other woman.
“He cannot tolerate her dictator style,” an “insider” told the magazine, saying that Bulochnikov was constantly around and could be “very abrasive.”
Apparently Carey had had enough. She took a shot at the magazine on social media Sunday, captioning an Instagram shot of herself getting a hug from manager Stella Bulochnivov with the words, “#realfriends who don’t read Woman’s Day #wedontknowyou.”
And then there’s the “other man.” According to TMZ, Carey is blaming the split on Packer’s renewed association with Tommy Davis, who’d been Scientology’s chief spokesman from 2005 to 2011.
The website’s sources presented a couple of takes: Either Packer sought Davis’ assistance in part to help him curb wasteful spending, which happened to include gifts Packer had lavished on his fiancee, or Davis poisoned the relationship by telling Packer that Carey was spending too much of his money.
Or, a Carey insider told Page Six, Davis was pulling Packer back into the church, which the businessman had been a part of from 2002 to 2006.
“In August, everything was fine, [Packer] was saying she was his soulmate, and he couldn’t wait to marry her,” the Carey source told the newspaper. “Then suddenly he changed. In September, James suddenly seemed not like himself at all. Mariah is suspicious of Tommy, who has been managing James’ finances, and she suspects he is controlling him.”
Whatever Davis’ role has been, Bulochnikov allegedly had a big problem with it, according to TMZ. And Carey, according to E! News, is “devastated” by the breakup.
Packer was a no-show at Carey’s star-studded Halloween party for her twins and attended by former husband Nick Cannon, who rocked a Super Mario Bros. vibe with his son while their daughter did the princess thing. At the time, TMZ speculated that Halloween festivities simply weren’t the absent Packer’s cup of tea, but now it looks like it was something else entirely.
(Incidentally, Carey and Cannon split in 2014, but the divorce hasn’t been finalized. “I wish it was that easy where you can just sign something and say, ‘Oh, I’m done,’ but it’s a lot of things that go with that that are beyond my control,” the “America’s Got Talent” host told “Entertainment Tonight” in July.)
Last Tuesday, Carey canceled shows in South America that were to have happened at the end of October and beginning of November. Problems with the promoter were blamed for the Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour’s five-show trim, E! News said, while TMZ had tied it to Mimi’s personal woes.
“She really wanted this to work,” E!’s source said the relationship. “And then, completely out of the blue, it imploded.”
A report that Carey had been romantically involved with one of her backup dancers was “an exaggeration” of a platonic friendship that felt “like a convenient ploy to make this whole mess look like her fault.”
Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ.