The untold truth of Mariah Carey

Singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the most celebrated names in the music industry, boasting a career that's lasted for more than three decades and a host of accolades to her name. Known for her ability to crank out hit singles with her stunning, five-octave range, Carey skyrocketed to the top of the charts in 1990 and never looked back, as noted by The Guardian. From her humble beginnings to her status as the Christmas queen, Carey has become an icon to her legions of fans, transforming the entertainment landscape.

But despite the fact that Carey is indeed American pop culture royalty, she's also a mere mortal, with flaws and weaknesses just like everyone else. And while tabloids have certainly had plenty to say about the pop diva over the years, Carey isn't fazed and isn't ashamed of her own humanity. Nor should she be!

So what else is there to know about Carey beyond the ballads and re-circulated gossip? What makes her tick, and what are her hopes for the future? And are all of those crazy rumors about her really true? This is the untold truth of Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey bathes in this to stay beautiful

There have been plenty of rumors circulated about Mariah Carey over the years: She once wanted 100 doves and 20 kittens as part of her rider, she requests that a new toilet seat be installed in her hotel rooms, and she only bathes in French mineral water, to name a few. And while none of those are true, according to Carey, she does have an interesting bathing habit. "I bathe in milk," she revealed to The Guardian. "Yes, sometimes I use milk as a beauty treatment." Cold milk, specifically. She didn't elaborate further, however, as she didn't want to give away all of her beauty secrets.

As to whether Carey would ever consider bathing in the fancy French water? "Well, I guess if there's no clean water and I had to use mineral water, maybe I would," she continued. That certainly beats not being able to bathe at all, though the carbonation might tickle a bit.

Carey also denied that she asks hotels to install golden taps in her rooms. What would be the point in that anyway?

Mariah Carey's mother was an opera singer

Part of the reason that there are rumors about Mariah Carey is because she's known for being a bit of a diva. At least, she owns up to having diva moments, something that she attributes to her DNA. "I guess it's a little intense, because I come from a true diva: my mother is an opera singer," she shared in an interview with Paper. "And that's a real diva, you know — Juilliard diva." She does have a fair point!

To that end, Carey has leaned in a bit to the diva label, though she will school anyone who lays claim to it unfairly. "And so other people that are like, 'I'm a diva,' it's like, 'Honey, you don't know what a diva is, you didn't grow up with my mom,'" she continued. She added that she truly means that as a compliment, however, as she wouldn't be the person she is today without her mother's influence.

Guess what job Mariah Carey had before she made it big

While Mariah Carey is quite wealthy now — according to Celebrity Net Worth, the singer has a cool $320 million to her name — when she was just striking out on her own, she was anything but rich. She even had a regular old job (if you can even picture such a thing!) to help pay the bills. "By 18, I had left home and was living in the city. Waitressing at the South Street Seaport," she recalled to Pitchfork. "I ended up staying with one girl on the Upper West Side." It wasn't just the two of them, either, as the girl already had two roommates.

The apartment where Carey and her roomies lived wasn't exactly spacious, either. In fact, Carey said it was so small that she had to get a bit acrobatic in order to make living there possible. "I had to climb up on the kitchen counter to get in the loft," she continued. "I still paid $500 a month for that little space." That sounds like Manhattan for you!

Mariah Carey said her career was "bleak" in the beginning

When Mariah Carey burst onto the music scene in 1990, you couldn't escape her. Her first album alone had four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, as noted by Billboard, which is quite the remarkable feat. But despite these landmark accomplishments, Carey wasn't able to truly enjoy her fame. "The beginning of my career was bleak, because I was surrounded by everybody who was so much older than me, and I wasn't really allowed to have fun," she explained in an interview with Pitchfork. "The big boys were always in control."

Part of that was due to her marriage to Sony record bigwig Tommy Mottola, who didn't let Carey stray too far either personally or creatively. "I was cloistered," she continued. "I was like a Rapunzel in a castle kept away from the world, so I didn't get to feel famous."

Carey eventually divorced Mottola, and she celebrated her artistic freedom with the 1997 album Butterfly. Our girl was too strong to be held down like that for long!

Mariah Carey felt like a "prisoner" in her first marriage

Mariah Carey's now-ex-husband Tommy Mottola gave the singer her big break, after he received a demo tape and realized he had a star on his hands. Despite the fact that he was 20 years her senior, the two were married not long after they met. And while many folks have described these events as a Cinderella story, Carey said it was anything but. "You might want to picture a child bride," she told Cosmopolitan. "There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American, whatever that means, girl."

Rather than let Carey live her life and do the things she wanted to do, Mottola restricted her movements, as he felt he knew what was best for her. "It was very ­controlled," she continued. "There was no ­freedom for me as a human being." She added that the experience was like being kept "prisoner."

Early on, Mariah Carey pledged that she'd never be beholden to a man

While Tommy Mottola may have discovered Mariah Carey and helped to make her a star, he wasn't her benefactor or financial support system. In fact, because Carey was so thoroughly surrounded by powerful men in the beginning of her career, she made a pledge to herself that she's always kept. "I made a decision early on that I never wanted to be beholden to a man," she proclaimed in an interview with Vulture. "I didn't want to be a kept woman." Considering that Carey was a hit machine from the start, she certainly didn't have to be.

So if people thought Carey was just with Mottola for the money, they were sorely mistaken. "Most people have the misconception that I was," she continued. "I paid for half of every single bit of that gigantic mansion in Bedford. I paid for the lights, everything down to the water because I said I wanted to do that." We are 100 percent here for this!

This is why Mariah Carey loves Christmas so much

Mariah Carey has become the undisputed queen of Christmas. It's a day that she starts thinking about months in advance, and the reason for that is partially born out of the disappointing holidays of her youth. "When I was little ... I always wanted Christmas to be perfect and so special," she confessed to Variety. "And my elder siblings, who I no longer communicate with, would ruin it every single time." Fortunately, no one can steal Carey's Christmas cheer now, as she's as much a part of the day as Santa Claus is.

The main reason Carey rules Christmas is due to the success of her holiday song "All I Want for Christmas." Released in 1994, it's become the best-selling Christmas song recorded by a female artist, as noted by Forbes. And while the song is wildly popular in the commercial sector, Carey said it comes from a special part of her. "It's really coming from the place of a kid, just loving Christmas so much," she continued. "There's just no greater feeling or emotion than having that day."

Mariah Carey is open about her struggle with bipolar disorder

Like many celebs, Mariah Carey has not escaped the attention of the tabloids over the years. In her case, some less-than-scrupulous journalists have reported on Carey's occasional mental lapses, which are as a result of her bipolar disorder. That diagnosis is something that she only came to terms with in 2018, after years of struggling. "I was working and working and working," she explained in an interview with People. "I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania." She added that eventually she'd "hit a wall" and fall into a deep depression, which made her feel "lonely and sad."

Fortunately, Carey is comfortable talking about her bipolar disorder now, and she has had great results with both therapy and medication. "I'm hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone," she continued. "It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

Curious if you may have bipolar disorder? While only a doctor can diagnose you, it may be worth learning the signs you may have bipolar disorder.

When Mariah Carey hits those famous high notes, this is how it feels

If you're familiar with Mariah Carey's early jams, you've heard her hit notes so insanely high that she's in the whistle register. That's an experience that Carey describes as very physical, depending on how she's feeling that day. "If I slept a good amount, had some days off, been in the humidity, and go out and really perform with strength and a full chest voice, that's one feeling," she shared in a chat with Pitchfork. "There's a lot of energy and a lot of power that that has."

Belting out those impossible notes is something that was nurtured by the late producer David Cole, who Carey trusted enough to have in the studio while she recorded. "He would push me in different areas where he could actually sing it to me and I would be like, 'Oh, this is cool. I like that,'" she continued. However, 50 percent of the time she would end up losing her voice after one of those studio sessions, as Cole would often push her just a little too hard.

Mariah Carey had a rough childhood

You could say that Mariah Carey is living the dream. With plenty of wealth, a host of awards, beautiful children, and a still-thriving career, Carey really has it made. But all of that is because of her seriously hard work and enduring perseverance, as her childhood was not nearly as pleasant. "It was very difficult," she told Pitchfork. "People don't really know about it because I've always been pretty vague, but I've alluded to it in certain songs." She cited "Close My Eyes" from Butterfly as one example, which is a heavy song about growing up too soon.

So unless you've walked a mile in Carey's shoes, you're not going to understand just how much her formative years shaped her experience. "A lot of intense stuff happened to me when I was a kid," she continued, "that people who grew up with money or with families that weren't fully dysfunctional will never quite understand."

Being biracial made Mariah Carey feel alienated when she was young

In addition to having a tough childhood, Mariah Carey also struggled when she was young because she's biracial; her father was Black and her mother is white. Unfortunately, some folks sowed confusion in her because of that fact. "When I was growing up, for me, it was very much: 'You're one or the other. Which are you?'" she recalled in a chat with Variety. "And it's very wrong to do that to a kid." Understandably, being asked that so often took its toll on Carey.

Carey also felt lonely because she didn't feel that she fit in anywhere. "I felt so different from everybody else growing up, because I was biracial," she explained to The Guardian. "I was so ambiguous-looking." Carey added that she had to go through a lot before she felt like she was worthy of existing.

Mariah Carey admitted that she's a bit of a prude

Other than her first marriage to Sony exec Tommy Mottola, Mariah Carey has had a few high-profile romances. Most notably, there was her 2008 marriage to Nick Cannon, who's also the father to their twin children. And though they split up permanently in 2016, Cannon and Carey are still friends, as noted by Variety.

Carey also notably started a relationship with backup dancer Bryan Tanaka, according to People, after she split with ex-fiancé James Packer, as reported by The Blast. And while there have been a few other flames here and there, Carey isn't exactly a player. "I haven't had that many, but there has been a variety pack," she revealed in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I've only been with five people in my life, so I'm kind of a prude, honestly, compared to most others in the field." Perhaps Carey just has better things to do?

This is what Mariah Carey says she eats every day

In addition to being insanely talented, Mariah Carey is, and has always been, gorgeous. Not only has she aged amazingly well, but she also has a killer bod that she's not afraid to flaunt. So what does she eat to stay in such good shape? "It's really hard. My diet, you would hate it," she explained in a chat with E! News. "All you eat is Norwegian salmon and capers every day. That's it." That's... it?

You're not alone if you have a lot of questions about if that's literally all that Carey is eating every day. Fortunately, someone close to the singer provided some elaboration in another interview. "She has cut out chocolate and other sweets and when she has cravings, she eats a little piece of fruit, like some blueberries or [mangoes]," a source told Hollywood Life. "She is also working out regularly and eating clean, whole foods with a focus on vegetables."

Carey does have one guilty pleasure, according to the source, and that is a little bit of wine

Mariah Carey writes her own music

One thing that you might not know about Mariah Carey is that she's more than just a singer — she's also had a heavy hand in writing almost all of the songs that she sings. In fact, she was once presented with an opportunity to sell her songs instead of sing them. "I had always written songs and, when I was around 18, I was offered $5,000 for all my music and I was like, 'No,'" she recalled in an interview with Pitchfork. "All these songs that ended up becoming No. 1 songs later, after I got my deal."

Part of the reason Carey knew she should hold onto to her music was seeing other musicians get sold short. "I had seen documentaries about the Beatles selling their publishing, or having it stolen," she continued. Boy was she smart not to take the money and run!