The 14 most fascinating details in Mariah Carey’s revealing new book
In Mariah Carey’s new memoir, the Grammy-winning artist makes one thing clear: She sees “no benefit to protect people who didn’t protect me.”
Throughout “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” which is out Tuesday, Carey writes about the people in her life who have challenged her at best or traumatized her at worst. She also takes time to honor her great loves and special moments on the road to becoming a history-making artist. Here are some key takeaways from her book.
‘The Meaning of Mariah Carey,’ the pop star’s tell-some memoir, sparkles and entertains and explains its subject, despite a few too many I-don’t-know-hers.
As a kid, Carey didn’t believe she “was worthy of being alive.”
She writes, “I was too young to contemplate ending my life but just old enough to know I hadn’t begun living nor found where I belonged.” Music, however, gave her a reason to exist.
There’s an origin story behind Carey’s insistence that she’s “eternally 12.”
Carey writes that when she was 12 and weighed only 80 pounds, her sister Alison drugged her with Valium, offered her cocaine and cigarettes, gave her third-degree burns and “tried to sell me out to a pimp.” During that period, Carey writes, she sometimes had to talk Alison down from suicidal, “drug-induced hysteria,” then get up a few hours later for school. After nearly four decades, she is “still struggling through that time” and continues to relive it in nightmares.
Carey encountered “violent” men and situations as a girl.
Carey describes her brother Morgan as violent, often getting into fistfights with their father and once knocking their mother out cold. When a cop found Mariah crying on the floor after one incident, he muttered, “If this kid makes it, it’ll be a miracle.”
Her sister’s adult boyfriend, whom she later calls a “pimp,” took Carey to a drive-in movie. He “pushed in closer and forced a hard kiss on me,” Carey writes, while a gun sat on his lap. A bystander, a “prayer in person,” noticed what was happening, so her sister’s boyfriend backed off and drove her home in silence.
In high school, she and her boyfriend, the “scariest dude in town,” got into a “physical altercation” in public, while some girls stood around watching.
Her mother was no picnic either.
Carey describes her mother, Patricia, a Juilliard-trained opera singer, as a dangerously negligent caretaker. One time, Carey writes, she was left alone with her mom’s drugged, shotgun-carrying boyfriend; she adds that at age 7 she almost drowned while her mother sunbathed obliviously.
Once Carey’s career took off, money and jealousy tore them apart.
Also, Carey’s mother was a Karen.
She writes that her mother, who is white, would often call the cops on family members, “even when she didn’t feel threatened.” She remembers a moment when “the only thing the cops saw was a scared white woman in a big house full of nonwhite people.”
The only thing the cops saw was a scared white woman in a big house full of nonwhite people
She describes ex-husband Tommy Mottola as an abuser and a racist.
Carey says she developed “hives-like breakouts” and “somatization” as the result of Mottola’s controlling and “abusive” behavior, which she says included holding a knife up to her cheek. She also calls him “blatantly racist” for a comment about Sean Combs (“Puffy will be shining my shoes”), and equates his resistance to her pursuing R&B with trying “to wash the ‘urban’ (translation: Black) off.”
Derek Jeter was “a love of her life” and so much more.
The former professional baseball player was “the catalyst I needed to get out from under Tommy’s crippling control,” helping her process her relationship to her estranged family. Carey spent time with his biracial family, who showed her that a mixed-race household can be healthy. Carey confirms that “The Roof,” “My All” and “Crybaby” are all about Jeter.
While they kissed before her divorce, Carey insists there was “nothing salacious” about it, as they waited until she was legally free of Mottola for “the night of our consummation.”
We could have had a #FreeMariah moment, a la #FreeBritney.
That 2001 breakdown around the time of “Glitter,” during which she crashed MTV’s “TRL” set? Carey insists she was just “broken down.” She believes her mother and brother took advantage of her in this vulnerable state, making her appear unstable in an attempt to become executors of her affairs.
There was a time in my early childhood when I didn’t believe that I was worthy of being alive.
Carey recorded an alternative album while making 1995’s “Daydream.”
She was “playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time.” The album cover for this “anger release project” features a Polaroid picture Mottola took of a cockroach in Italy.
Mottola later created a boutique label for Carey, which she named “Crave” after a song on the album (though the song was renamed “Demented”). The label shut down in 1998, when their marriage fell apart.
Carey says racism was behind her being denied Barbra Streisand’s penthouse.
She writes that the “conservative” board of the co-op where she wanted to move in didn’t want “too many rappers, and their entourages, aka big black men, milling about” the Central Park West penthouse.
Earlier racist encounters include a traumatic moment when a white friend met Carey’s Black father for the first time and instantly burst into tears. A group of young girls at school later cornered her during a sleepover and chanted, “You’re a [N-word].”
She and Bill Clinton have something in common.
Carey says that while recording “Boy (I Need You)” in Capri, Italy, Cam’ron snuck in “some of that purple (cannabis).” Though she describes late nights of “clubbing, cocktails, you know, that whole thing,” she makes it clear, “I don’t inhale directly — the vocal cords, (dahling).”
She explains what went wrong with Nick Cannon.
Carey writes about miscarrying a child at 10 weeks, gaining 100-plus pounds, experiencing poisonous edema and gestational diabetes. And when she did finally bear a child, “Nick didn’t comprehend pregnancy.” Making adjustments to being “working parents in entertainment” ultimately took its toll.
Without naming Jennifer Lopez, Carey still gets sassy.
She writes that a “female entertainer on [Sony’s] label (whom I don’t know)” ended up using the same sample on a song that Carey had already licensed. Enter the “Loverboy” vs. “I’m Real” showdown, which is still best summarized by a viral moment. Carey also lists the lyrics of her “Loverboy” remix just to make her thoughts crystal clear:
Hate on me as much as you want to
You can’t do what the f— I do
Bitches be emulating me daily...
That infamous New York City show? She doesn’t know her.
In light of the many trials and traumas Carey describes in the book, the performance that helped ring in 2017 — when she appeared to be lip-syncing — was one small blip. “I was a lot of things in that fleeting moment in the cold, but I knew the thing I certainly was not. I was not broken. Not even close. ... All debacles are not created equal, dahhhhling.”
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