Mariah Carey feels her troubled first marriage and turbulent childhood may have contributed to her bipolar disorder.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian released Tuesday, Carey, 48, revealed she experienced sexual harassment throughout her career but noted it “had less of an impact on my life than being in a completely controlling relationship.”
The “I Don’t” singer was married to Sony Music exec Tommy Mottola from 1993 until 1997, during which she previously claimed she suffered emotional and mental abuse. Mottola, 20 years her senior, was married with two children when they met and later admitted that pursuing a romance with his ingenue was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate,” referring to himself as “obsessive” and taking credit for the majority of her success.
While she said the marriage strengthened her in the long run, she admitted, “It also wounded me. When you have to control your own emotions constantly and be aware of every move you make and pretty much ask permission to exist, it affects your life.”
Carey also believes that struggling with being biracial contributed to the condition.
Carey’s mother, Patricia, is Irish American, and her father Alfred was African American and Afro-Venezuelan.
The singer recalled an incident from her childhood when a friend saw Carey’s father for the first time and “burst into tears” because “she had never seen a black person.”
“I had to go through so much in my childhood just to feel accepted and feel worthy of existing on Earth because I felt so different from everybody else growing up, because I was biracial, because I was so ambiguous-looking and because we didn’t have the money to escape whatever the everyday realities of life were.”
Her parents divorced when she was three years old, at which point she and her older brother, Morgan, resided with Patricia, while her older sister, Alison, lived with Alfred.
In 2005, Alison was arrested for prostitution twice within a 10-week span. Carey paid for rehab. But as recently as 2016, Alison was busted using her superstar sister’s lyrics to advertise her own illicit services.
“[Alison’s troubles] turned me into a very guarded person, and a very prudish person on a lot of levels,” she said, but said she doesn’t feel guilty for how differently her own life turned out from her sister’s. “I don’t think it’s for me to feel guilty about decisions that other people made with their lives. I do as much, privately, as anybody would do for people who have not been very considerate of me, to put it mildly.”
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