mirror.co.uk2001: She is dropped by her record company, has a nervous breakdown and loses her lover
2005: She sells 7.5m albums, equals Elvis's 17 number 1s and gets a hot new boyfriend.
AS comebacks go, it is nothing short of spectacular. The former queen of pop had hit rock bottom with a clang - humiliatingly dropped by her record label and hospitalised after a nervous breakdown. But in 2005, Mariah Carey emerged triumphant to reclaim her crown.
Her current album, The Emancipation Of Mimi, sold 7.5 million copies, and with her latest single, Don't Forget About Us, she equalled Elvis Presley's record of 17 US No 1s - only The Beatles have had more.
The pop diva, worth £173million, also made a memorable appearance at last summer's Live 8 extravaganza in London.
And she capped off her remarkable year by welcoming in 2006 with an historic live performance in New York's Times Square.
"It's been pretty incredible," says 35-year-old Mariah, pouring the first of several glasses of pink champagne, as she curls her legs underneath her on a worn blue sofa in her suite at London's posh Claridge's Hotel.
"And the best thing about it is I've been successful by being me this time. Previously people have tried to control every aspect of my image and told me that I shouldn't sing this type of song and that I shouldn't dress too sexy. And you know what? I was right all along."
It's a remarkable turnaround for Mariah, who got a £16million pay-off from EMI in 2002 because they wanted to release her from a contract signed just one year earlier.
"I've learned now that I can't place too much importance on good reviews," she says.
"Much as I'd like to read something nice and be like, 'OK, I've validated my existence', if someone writes something negative then I have to believe that. I have to stay oblivious, see some nice things and take in criticism when I think it's valid. That's the only way to keep a balance."
Someone said to be helping Mariah achieve that balance in her personal life is male model Christian Monzon. (pics here Christian Monzon [Model] )
They met during the filming of her Don't Forget About Us video, in which they writhe seminaked in a pool. Since then they have been spotted dining out near Mariah's home in Los Angeles.
Yet romance is one area of her life that she is a little uncomfortable discussing.
"Erm, how do we play this?" she says, averting her gaze and twirling a lock of hair around a French manicured finger.
"OK, he's a very nice guy, he's been in a fabulous Dolce & Gabbana advert - did you see it? - and we've had some nice conversations and, um, a nice time. OK, I'll say he definitely did a very good job in the video.
ANYWAY men tend to go off me when they find out I'm a prude. They either turn into my big brother or else they stop talking to me. Luckily, I have a lot of male friends who have gone way, way past that whole sexual thing."
She clearly feels on much safer territory recounting a night out with US rapper Cam'ron.
"We're always hanging out but we really are just friends," she insists. "Anyway, he turned up at my apartment one night in his blue Lamborghini. My security guys were really worried about me going with him, so they were just figuring out a way to follow us when Cam took off at 150mph down the street.
"They must have been freaking but we just took off, went out and had fun. I was like, 'You can't keep up with a Lamborghini! Goodbye!'. I know they're only looking after my best interests, but the truth is I'm a free spirit."
Her old classmates back at school in New York would agree with that.
Mariah's nickname was Mirage because she hardly ever turned up to lessons. She left school at 16 and had a number of dead-end jobs before finally finding work as a backing singer.
She met Tommy Mottola - then head of Sony Records - at a party in 1988 and handed him a demo tape. He was so impressed he signed her to Sony with an eight-album deal.
He also left his wife and children for her. They got married in 1993 - when she was 23 and he was 44 - but got divorced 5 years later. These days Mariah won't even say his name.
At the time, she was one of the biggest names in pop. Her 1990 debut album, Mariah Carey, sold 5 million copies and spawned four US No.1s.
More albums followed, but after the breakdown of her marriage, cracks began to appear in her career.
Sony seemed less interested in her and she signed an illadvised record contract with EMI's Virgin Records. Meanwhile in her personal life she got entangled in a series of messy relationships - including one with Eminem.
Mariah hit rock bottom in July 2001. Bizarre, rambling messages on her website prompted speculation as to the state of her mental health. She wrote: "So basically, all I really wanna say is I don't know what's going on with life, and I hope all the fans are good, and I just want you to know I'm trying to understand things in life right now, and so I really don't feel that I should be doing music right now.
"What I'd like to do is take a little break, or at least get one night of sleep."
DAYS later Mariah was in hospital, under psychiatric care, suffering an emotional and physical breakdown.
The end of a romance with pop star Luis Miguel had, along with tough promotional rounds for her flop film Glitter and its accompanying album, proved the last straw for the fragile singer.
Her spell in hospital was short, but her reputation suffered and her next album, 2002's Charmbracelet, fared poorly.
Mariah's amazing comeback only began when she found a new manager and producer and signed with Island Records. Her incredibly successful The Emancipation Of Mimi album was the result.
One thing she has learned from her past troubles is to take life easy.
"I love my sleep," she says, "I'm so excited to get in bed, watch movies and eat. I joke that I require a bib 'cos I'm such a messy eater.
"At a restaurant people are looking at you so when I'm in private I eat like a 2-yearold. I forget that I'm famous sometimes, so I'll be like, 'Why are those people staring at me?'"
Her relaxation also includes days of complete "vocal rest", prescribed by her throat doctor to preserve her unique five-octave range.
"For a few days before a performance I can't talk to anyone at all," she explains. "Friends will be like, 'Hey, we'll come over'. And I'll be like, 'No you don't understand. When I'm on vocal rest I don't do my hair, I'm in my pyjamas - I'm not ready to be seen!' And then they come over and I'm so tempted to talk. I end up writing notes to them and it's so tedious."
IF one thing would make Mariah's life complete right now, it would be to finally move back into her lavish New York apartment, which was flooded last April.
"It's been soooo many months," she groans. "I've been on radio stations saying, 'If you're a builder please hurry up and finish'. I plan to get a hot tub on my roof terrace. Hopefully next summer it'll be the place to hang out, although I'm worried that my dog, Jack, will miss the space he had to run about in in LA.
"I adore him, he's so much fun. I still take him for walks 'cos he won't go with a dog walker. Although last time he decided to relieve himself in front of all the paparazzi."
As the Mirror revealed last year, Mariah is also planning a move to the UK.
"I'm thinking of buying a hotel in London," she says. "It would have the best nail and hair place for the girls and a separate salon for the guys. And the lighting would be fantastic - everyone would look a billion dollars!". Suite dreams indeed.
Last edited by MaryJane; January 4th, 2006 at 07:43 AM.
Awww I like her more now because she loves her doggy!!
I've always liked Mariah's voice. I like her old music and I'm also in to most of her new stuff too.
I would like to have one little rant though. My mum bought me her greatest hits album for xmas and being in the festive mood I decided to put on my No.1most favouritest christmas song of all time - all I want for christmas. Saying I was disappointed when I switched it on was an understatement. She's only gone and recorded some crappy tacky dirgey version of it with jermaine dupri. Its total rubbish. No sleigh bells, no up beat christmassy feel to it. Totally ruined it!
No man is worth your tears, but once you find one that is, he won't make you cry
G_ F_CK Y__RS_LF - Would you like to buy a vowel??
although i am confused as to what Jermaine Dupri ACTUALLY does???
except talk over records goin 'Uh Uh J D Y'all' that seems pretty much it to me haha!!
I highly doubt there is a second in time where she forgets she's famous. And I'm shocked no one has commented on her sloppy eating yet. Please people, don't turn to the dark side!
Good for her. I started listening to her because my voice teacher made me, to work on my melisma, yet for some unfathomable reason, I liked it. Keep on drinking that champagne though...that'll do your throat a lot of good.
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