Mariah Carey just opened up about her painful childhood and troubled relationship with her family like never before.
In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, the singer reflected on her experiences growing up as a biracial child with a family she never felt she fit into from the get-go. Not only did Carey touch up the “trauma” and “violence” she underwent at the hands of her older siblings, but she also went into detail about her complicated relationship with her mother.
The singer even set the record straight on where her dynamic with her relatives stands today.
Mariah Carey opened up to Oprah Winfrey about her traumatic childhood
On Sept. 24, Carey sat down with Winfrey on Apple TV +’s The Oprah Conversation to discuss her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, and her relationships with her immediate family.
The “Always Be My Baby” singer was born in Huntington, New York, to a black father, Alfred Roy Carey, and a white mother, Patricia. Carey was the youngest of three kids (she has a brother, Morgan, 60, and sister, Allison, 57), and her parents divorced when she was just three years old.
During the interview, Carey recalled feeling immediate resentment from her older siblings over having lighter skin and hair.
She also described her brother as “extremely violent” and her sister as “troubled” and “traumatized” while opening up about her difficult childhood.
“I tried to be thoughtful about that, although, I don’t know that the same courtesy has been extended to me from anybody that caused certain traumatic events in my life,” she said, alleging that both her brother and sister had put her on “the chopping block” over the years.
Winfrey then read a passage from Carey’s book in which the singer claimed Alison, who is eight years older, drugged her with Vicodin, gave her cocaine, inflicted her with third-degree burns, and tried to sell her out to a pimp before she was even a teenager.
After reading the passage, Winfrey asked Carey how she felt toward her siblings today, and the singer didn’t hold anything back.
“We don’t even really know each other … we didn’t grow up together, but we did. Like, they were on their journeys, by the time I got into the world, they had already been damaged, in my opinion,” she explains.
Mariah Carey says she has a “really difficult” relationship with her mother
Like her siblings, Carey also has a strained relationship with her mother — who she calls “Patricia” instead of “mom.”
During the interview, the singer opened up about how she felt neglected by her mother growing up. From the beginning, Carey says she felt there was a “huge role reversal” in their relationship.
“I’ll always take care of her. There’s been a huge role reversal in our relationship since the beginning, since I first started [singing] I’ve been the go-to, that matriarch person, even as the youngest child in the family,” she shared. “Not everybody gets it. That’s a lot of pressure because also with that, with the expectations come resentment as well, or envy. It’s really a tough place to be.”
Carey even recalled one memory involving her mother that she will never forget and had “never spoken about” until now. The singer revealed that back in 2001, she experienced an emotional crisis amid the pressures of her success and the impending release of her movie, Glitter.
According to Carey, she was physically and emotionally exhausted and sought refuge at her mother’s Long Island home, which the singer had purchased. It was she had an emotional breakdown while frantically washing dishes and was taken to a facility after her mother called the police.
“Bottom line is, there was a code-switching that happened and a power shift that was immediate. It was immediate and she was in charge,” Carey explained. “And rather than say, ‘You know what, we’re OK, I am here, taking care of my daughter, she’s tired, somebody called the cops by mistake, whatever,’ it was like, ‘No, because you defied me, this is what is going to happen.’”
Mariah Carey now receives unconditional love from her twins
As for where her relationship with her mother stands today, Carey described it as a “work in progress.”
When it comes to her current dynamic with her siblings, Carey calls them her ex-brother and ex-sister, suggesting she will likely never have a relationship with them.
The only two people the singer has a loving relationship with are her 9-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, whom she shares with ex-husband Nick Cannon.
According to Carey, her kids keep her going and provide her with the unconditional love she’s always wanted.
“They help to heal me every day,” Carey told Oprah. “Every time we have a moment that feels real and authentic and genuine and it’s them loving me unconditionally.”
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