Mariah Carey Said Her Mother’s Hurtful Jealous Comment Stuck With Her and Impacted the Way She Raises Her Children

Mariah Carey has a successful career and a legion of adoring fans, but she said she didn’t always have her own mother’s support. In an interview with CBS This Morning, she opened up about how her mother harbored jealousy about her success and recalled how her mom’s painful criticism informed how she raises her own children.

Mariah Carey at the 2018 American Music Awards
Mariah Carey | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Mariah Carey’s new book gives a glimpse into her dysfunctional upbringing

Carey is opening up about her life’s struggles in her new memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey, including how her mother was jealous of the singer and offered up one critical comment that she has never been able to shake.

In an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, Carey shared the details of how she had to overcome “dysfunction and mess” as she pursued her dreams. Carey explained how writing the book was about “emancipating my inner child, the little girl that never really felt seen or heard.”

Carey said she “struggled with race and identity” and trying to find acceptance, which said left her feeling “scared.” She noted, “There was a lot of unrest in my household -— if there was a household -— and I had difficulty with having come from such a dysfunctional family.”

“I needed to kind of heal myself and heal that inner child that I tried to keep alive through all of the dysfunction and mess,” Carey added.

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Her mom’s critical words were devastating

Carey explained how part of her upbringing involved a lack of support and jealousy from her mother, Patricia Carey, who was an opera singer who attended The Julliard School.

King addressed that Carey’s “family life was complicated” and that Patricia’s jealousy was “painful” for the singer. “It’s such a complicated relationship,” Carey said.

In the book, Carey explains that Patricia told her, “You should only hope that you could be half the singer that I am.”

“It definitely had an effect on me,” Carey said. “I don’t even know that she would even remember that. That one statement did live with me for the rest of my life though, so you have to be so careful what you say.”

“That’s why, with my kids, I really try to acknowledge their talent and acknowledge when they draw a picture for me or sing or dance or anything that they do,” the singer explained. “I want them to know that it’s also all about them and their happiness.”

Mariah Carey wants to be a different mother to her children

Carey touched on the way that her mother’s criticism has impacted her own journey as a “different kind of mother.”

“For me, it’s very important that the kids always feel safe and that feel seen and heard and that they know that they are loved unconditionally and that no matter what, I’ll be there for them,” Carey shared.

She continued, “That is very important to me because growing up and being alone in the house or alone in these dangerous situations was traumatizing.”