Mariah Carey Was Almost Placed in a Conservatorship Years Before Britney Spears

Mariah Carey has had a career that spans decades and touched the lives of countless people around the world. She was a solo female singer at a time when there were few in the music industry who had a platform as large as hers, and in many ways served as a blueprint for several artists’ careers after her.

There’s one part of Carey’s life and career that eerily mirrors another pop star’s current situation: Britney Spears’ years-long battle over her father’s conservatorship.

Mariah Carey is honored with Hand and Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Mariah Carey is honored with Hand and Footprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Mariah Carey’s family members have mistreated her for years

Carey has not been quiet over the years about her family’s dysfunction on how they treat her. As a child, she watched as her brother, sister, and parents frequently got in verbal and physical blowouts that often ended with the police being called.

Her 2020 memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey reveals more details about her life than have ever been divulged, and Carey didn’t mince any words about them.

“I knew for a long time that to my family, I’d been an ‘ATM machine with a wig on,'” the “Fantasy” singer said. She noted how her white mother never hesitated to call the police on her Black children or ex-husband, and claimed everyone in her family saw her as nothing more than a walking bank.

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey attends Variety’s 2019 Power of Women: Los Angeles presented by Lifetime at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 11, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

Mariah Carey was pushed to the edge by the people around her

In 2001, Carey was being worked into the ground by the people around her — including her family. At one point, between filming music videos and recording music, Carey had gone six days with only two hours of sleep.

Carey snuck off to her mother’s house that she’d bought for her to try to steal some sleep. But before she knew it, she was woken up by her mother who was telling her the record label was looking for her and that she needed to get back to work.

“That was the last straw,” Carey said. She got into a verbal altercation with her mother, and before long, the police were called and Carey was escorted out of the home. Not long after that, her brother Morgan — someone she felt she had gotten close to once again at the time — recommended she go to a spa in Los Angeles to relax. What she didn’t know was that she was being committed to a “hard-core detox and rehab center.”

Mariah Carey at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards | Todd Williamson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Mariah Carey at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards | Todd Williamson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Mariah Carey was committed against her will

Carey soon realized that her family was trying to take advantage of her in a vulnerable state. “If they could prove I was unstable, they certainly could have believed they would become the executors of my affairs,” she said of their thought process.

“I was so wrapped up in the childhood history, the betrayal, the love I had once had for everyone involved that I was blind to motive,” she recalled. “It was no coincidence that my mother and brother were working on the side of the record company instead of protecting me and advocating for my well-being, and that they just happened to claim I was unstable to try to institutionalize me immediately after I had signed the biggest cash record deal for a solo artist in history.”

Carey spoke with Oprah Winfrey about the situation in a September 2020 interview on The Oprah Conversation.

“People push artists to the edge, and then they wonder why most people are gone too soon,” she said honestly. “And then we have this culture of the paparazzi being like vultures… but it’s just indicative of my family — sorry — but it’s indicative of the nature of the beast. Like, ‘Oh, here’s a scam. Here’s a scheme. Let’s make this happen in order to make unlimited money and resources for ourselves rather than have her make this huge deal and be in control of it. Why not just take it over?'”