"I used to wish, hope and dream that someone would kidnap me." Mariah Carey couldn't help but dream of getting away from her toxic marriage.
A marriage is supposed to have respect, compassion, trust, and love. It is meant to bind together two independent people in passion. But for singer Mariah Carey, her first marriage to Tommy Mottola, it was anything but. In her own words, "You might want to picture a child bride,” she told Cosmopolitan. "...It was very controlled. There was no freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner."
When 23-year-old Carey married Mottola, the former chairman of Sony Music and 20 years her senior, in 1993, she was ready to share her love, her life, her joys, and her sorrows. However, her dream wedding, fashioned after Princess Diana and Prince Charles' nuptials, quickly turned into a nightmare. "No one saw me on the honeymoon, running down the beach, miserable, crying and alone," the award-winning singer told interviewer Aliya S. King, as reported by Business Wire.
Opening up about the toxicity of her married life, the All I Want For Christmas Is You crooner revealed on her E! reality series Mariah’s World what it was like when asked about the early stages of her music career. “I was with someone at the time that had a lot of control over my life. He was older than me by a lot and had a lot of power and he wanted me to remain away from most people, like sequestered.”
The singer also revealed that she “had to get permission to leave [the house],” a house she once believed that she would end up “haunting.” Soon enough, the house Mottola had built them in Bedford, New York, had become associated with his controlling ways, according to Parade. According to the Business Wire, she said, “Even though I owned that house, the only thing I felt like I owned was my pocketbook. He (Tommy) didn’t even know why I always had my bag with me. But in my mind I thought, ‘If something jumps off…I’m ready.’"
I lived like that for a long time. I used to wish, hope and dream that someone would kidnap me." Slowly breaking down, she knew something had to be done. And finally, after eight long years, she found the strength to leave him. But the trauma she had to survive in the relationship lasted far longer than that. “My relationship with my husband was not a physical relationship. It just wasn't.... that relationship shaped who I am. It beyond shaped me," the We Belong Together singer said, according to Stylist. "I still have nightmares about it."
This toxic marriage made her believe that she didn't actually deserve to be happy. "I grew up with such dysfunction that I was just used to it. I assumed that I didn’t have a right to be a happy in a personal life," the now 49-year-old told Parade. "If I had a career and all these other things, I thought, ‘you asked for it, you got it.’ But I look back at it now and I feel that part of that was my fault, for allowing the relationship to linger — or, dare I say, fester — for so long. I knew that I needed to be singing and expressing myself, or I never would have gotten through that period."
The mother-of-two never shed a tear though during the entirety of her marriage. "On my new album, the song ‘Side Effects’ says, ‘Kept my tears inside, ‘cause I knew if I started I’d keep crying for the rest of my life.’ It’s really true. At that point in my life [during my marriage] I didn’t cry because I had to be so emotionally cut off to deal with it.”
It took a while, but Carey did move past her pain and found love with actor Nick Cannon and even had her twins with him. Though they ended up getting a divorce in 2016, she knows who she is and refuses to let anyone do to her what Mottola did. She said, "I’ve faced my worst fears and come out of them okay. Everything is always going to be all right as long as I hang on to the person inside of me."