Mariah Carey isn’t known for being petty — she’s known for inventing being petty, like when she replied to a question about Jennifer Lopez by saying “I don’t know her.” Now, while that’s the kind of pettiness that makes us cackle, there’s another word for “petty” when the retribution you’re serving comes after a more serious offense: revenge. And with new memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the iconic singer seems to be hinting heavily to Oprah Winfrey that revenge — or, finally hitting back after against enemies who have “drawn blood first,” as she puts it — plays a major role in why she wrote what she did in her upcoming book. First up for having his foolishness exposed? Ex-husband and music executive Tommy Mottola, whose controlling, violent behavior is detailed more than ever before in Carey’s explosive memoir.
Carey sat down to discuss her memoir for Oprah’s Apple TV+ series The Oprah Conversation, a teaser of which was exclusively shared with Billboard. In it, host Oprah and a teaser of their asks the singer whether she was scared to reveal all that she did on paper — and Carey’s answer speaks volumes to how her memoir will be different from public statements in the past.
“Yes, but it’s not because I was worried about what they would think. It’s because I never would have spoken a word about anybody in my life,” she tells Winfrey. “I try to be very fair — but people have drawn first blood with me, historically.”
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I may not have known the words back then 🥴 but after 10 interviews together, I now know the FULL meaning of @mariahcarey. On this episode of @theoprahconversation, the world’s most fascinating star speaks her truth for the first time in her memoir #TheMeaningOfMariahCarey. We talk about the real meanings behind her songs, her famous marriages, and the lasting imprint her traumatic childhood has on her own life. Tap the link in my bio to watch it now on @appletv+ #TheOprahConversation
“When there are people connected to you as a person that achieves a certain level of success, you are a target, you’re vulnerable,” she continues. “But I wouldn’t have gone here if things hadn’t been done to me, if I hadn’t been dragged by certain people and treated as an ATM machine with a wig on.”
“Carey writes that their ensuing marriage effectively imprisoned her,” the Times details. “Sing Sing was her name for their sprawling estate in upstate New York, which Mottola decked out with security cameras and armed guards. Carey recounts Mottola’s constant surveillance, controlling nature, and ‘unpredictable’ rage. She writes that he held a butter knife to her face in front of a group of guests at their home, furious over her desire to break things off.”
Once Carey broke free of Mottola, she got back more control of her music as well, she writes — and she also tells Oprah how exactly she found the courage to lift herself out of that terrifying situation. Apparently, it was her meeting Derek Jeter that planted the first real seed in Carey’s head, and showed her things could be different.
“He was a catalyst that helped me get out of that relationship [with Mottola],” she explains, “because I believed that there was somebody else.”
This is Mariah Carey we’re talking about here, and Mottola will only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of her untold stories. For a star who’s spent so much time making it clear what she won’t talk about, this memoir sounds exceptionally unfiltered, and we can’t wait to see what else it has in store.
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