Mariah Carey Says Being Married to Tommy Mottola Was ‘Like Being a Prisoner’

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Mariah Carey candidly opened up about her marriage to music executive Tommy Mottola in a new Cosmopolitan interview. The two were married in 1993 when Carey was 23 years old and Mottola was 44, or a period of Carey’s life that still conjures unpleasant memories for her. “You might want to picture a child bride,” she put it bluntly.

Carey and Mottola began their relationship in 1991, when he was head of Sony Music. Carey had recently graduated high school when he promised to make her a worldwide star. Carey told Cosmopolitan that she constantly felt trapped by Mottola, saying: “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.” In 1999, Carey spoke of the marriage to Interview magazine, stating that she “always felt like the rug could be pulled out from under me. [With Tommy] I felt safe and I felt a sense of family. It just didn’t work out because it became too suffocating.”

In his 2013 memoir, Hitmaker: The Man and His Music, Mottola admits that the relationship was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate.” But he nevertheless credits himself for her success, writing: “If it seemed like I was controlling, I apologize. Was I obsessive? Yes. But that was also part of the reason for her success.” In his memoir, Mottola also notes that his therapist actively told him not to pursue Carey, but he persisted anyway.

Mariah Carey Felt Like a ‘Prisoner’ With Tommy Mottola