Mariah Carey Talks Marriage to Tommy Mottola: ''It Was Almost like Being a Prisoner'

Oyin Balogun
Jul 13, 2019
11:20 A.M.
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Mariah Carey says she has only been with five men in her life. She speaks on her first marriage to Tommy Mottola and says she felt almost like a prisoner' throughout the eight years they were married.


Having entered the music business as an innocent teenager thirty years ago, Mariah has more than earned her right to be called a musical icon.


The pop artist has broken tons of records and has more number one Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other female artist in known history.

In a recent interview with "Cosmopolitan," the singer-songwriter discusses an array of topics including her childhood, her multiracial identity, her beginnings in the music industry and the influence she has had on pop music so far.


The iconic musician who grew up on Long Island outside New York City talks about herself growing up as a biracial girl (a mix of African-American, Venezuelan, and Irish) with divorced parents and lots of financial challenges.

Her shaky childhood is one of the reasons she loves Christmas so much. She recounts:

“As a kid, I always hoped for great Christmases, and we didn’t have them.”

“My brother and sister would come back to wherever I was with my mom, and they’d be fighting and ruining the holiday. I would still be like, You know what? I just want to have the best time.”


In another portion of the interview, she discusses her first marriage where she compared herself to a “child-bride.”

Carey met her husband Tommy Mottola when she sent in her demo tape at a time when she was waitressing to make ends meet and writing songs in her free time.

The Sony Music boss was then known as the titan of the industry having worked with Michael Jackson and Céline Dion.

The CEO and Mariah developed a relationship, which quickly turned romantic despite him being 20 years older. The two married soon after Mariah Carey's eponymous debut album became the best-selling record of 1991. 


She characterized her marriage to the mogul as controlling, comparing her experiences to "being a prisoner.”  She told the news outlet:

"You might want to picture a child bride,”

She added:

“There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American, whatever that means, girl. It was very controlled. There was no freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner.”


Motolla eventually called their marriage “wrong and inappropriate,” and the couple later split after eight years.

Mariah Carey, whose precise age has been a subject of debate on the internet for years, talked briefly about her preference for younger men (she’s currently in a relationship with her former backup dancer and choreographer, Bryan Tanaka.)

The songstress who also briefly dated  Australian billionaire James Packer, claims she has only been with "five men" throughout her life.  She revealed:

“I haven’t had that many, but there has been a variety pack. 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.”


The American singer has since managed to create 6 number one albums and 18 number one singles (most of which she co-wrote,) win five Grammy awards and dominate the entertainment world with her unique five-octave vocal range.

Recently, Carey joined the Bottle Cap challenge and quite literally took it up a notch by delivering a high note popping off the cap of the bottle instead of a round kick.