Last week Mariah Carey finally released her long-awaited memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey (unfortunately she used the better title, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, for her 2009 album). In it, Mazza Cazza puts the record straight on everything from family betrayal to her marriage to Nick Cannon, as well as revealing the inspiration behind her late-90s banger My All: a steamy, boozy, illicit night with the baseball player Derek Jeter. Over Mariah’s 30-year pop career, she has been dogged by rumours of being, well, a bit of a diva – not helped by her reality show, which showed the singer insisting that restaurants only played her music, wearing sunglasses indoors and being carried around by topless backing dancers. So is Mariah really a huge diva? We investigate the myths about the singer and settle them once and for all …
Mariah only bathes in mineral water
As anyone who has seen Mariah’s episode of MTV Cribs knows, she is perfectly happy to strip off and get into a bubble bath in front of an entire camera crew (she kept the towel on). Even more eye-openingly, according to reports on a leaked tour rider from the early 2010s, she only washes herself with bottled water. However, in an interview with the Guardian in 2018, Mariah revealed she prefers to bathe in cold milk “as a beauty treatment”, adding: “I guess if there’s no clean water and I had to use mineral water maybe I would.” She is nothing if not practical.
Mariah will only be photographed from her right side
In her seminal (read: completely wild) E! reality show, Mariah’s World, the singer revealed that when she was 19, a label boss told her that her right side was her “good side” and she should “only let people photograph you from your good side, ever”. She writes in her autobiography that “to this day, I unconsciously turn to the ‘flattering side’ if there’s a camera around – it’s a thing”. Two years ago, she bravely blessed Instagram with a photo “she actually likes” featuring her “bad side”. We clap on our doorsteps for her at 8pm on Thursdays.
Mariah demands kittens to play with during interviews
There is nothing more boring than talking to a journalist: just ask my boyfriend, or the pop star who, midway through an interview with me, silently put down the phone and went to the toilet without so much as an “excuse me”. In that context, the rumour that Mariah requested 20 white kittens (kittens! Not fully grown cats, don’t be gross!) to amuse her while being interviewed about turning Westfield London’s Christmas lights on is quite understandable. Is it true, though? No, dah-ling, Mariah insists: she’s a dog person.
Mariah ‘doesn’t do stairs’
This rumour was kicked off by Alan Carr who, following Carey’s appearance on Channel 4’s The Friday Night Project in 2008, claimed that she demanded a “staircase assistant”, explaining, helpfully, that their one job was “to check the stairs for her to see whether she could walk down them”. Further fuel for the fire came in the form of a famous paparazzi photo of Mariah stacking it down the steps of her former fiance James Packer’s yacht in six-inch heels. Perhaps then, her caution is understandable: less a diva move, more a health and safety precaution.
Mariah ‘doesn’t know’ who Jennifer Lopez is
Ever since the much-memed early-00s interview in which Mimi responds to a question about J-Lo with the shadiest reply of all time – “I don’t know her” – Mariah has repeatedly claimed she is unaware of one of the most famous women in the world. Despite Jen insisting that they have met several times (“She’s just forgetful, I guess”), Mariah spent almost 20 years denying her existence. In her memoir, she does not mention Lopez by name but refers slyly to a “female entertainer (whom I don’t know)”. So what’s happening there? In 2018, Carey finally admitted: “I really was trying to say something nice or say nothing at all. I really was.” Ha! So you do know her? No further questions, your honour!
The Meaning of Mariah Carey is out now (Pan Macmillan)