the meaning of mariah carey

Mariah Carey Calls Derek Jeter the ‘Catalyst’ for Her Split From Tommy Mottola

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

After confirming that it was him on the rooftop in that rainy night, Mariah Carey is revealing more details about her relationship with Yankees player Derek Jeter. Talking with Oprah Winfrey for The Oprah Conversation on Apple TV+ about her new memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, Carey called Jeter the “catalyst” for her 1997 split from label executive Tommy Mottola. “I believed that there was somebody else,” she said. “It was the racial situation — that his mom is Irish, his dad is Black, but he was also very ambiguous looking to me. I didn’t know who he was.” Carey, whose parents are also Irish and Black, added, “I didn’t think I would ever meet anybody who wouldn’t … feel superior to me … because of the fact that I’m not one way or another in most people’s minds, and they have preconceived notions whatever.” And meeting Jeter’s family, she said, showed her “a functional family that basically looked like mine but didn’t feel like mine.”

In New York’s August 31 cover story with Carey, she talked about meeting Jeter at the end of her strict marriage to Mottola, and writing songs “My All” and “The Roof” about him. “I can never forget that moment,” she said of her first kiss with Jeter, one rainy night the roof of his apartment. “I mean, it’s not like it was some intensely deep, intellectually stimulating — again, it was a great moment, and it happened in a divine way because it helped me get past living there, in Sing Sing, under those rules and regulations.” (She refers to the compound where she lived with Mottola, 20 years her senior, as “Sing Sing,” for the control he exerted over her.)

As for Mottola, he’s ready for Carey’s memoir. “I am deeply gratified to have played that role in Mariah’s well-deserved and remarkable success, and continue to wish her and her family only the very best,” he told “Page Six” in a statement. In his own 2013 memoir Hitmaker, he previously responded to Carey’s allegations of being controlling. “Was I obsessive? Yes. But that was also part of the reason for her success,” he wrote. “The problem was that I was the chairman of Sony and her husband at the same time.” Talking with Oprah, Carey also explained why she chose to discuss certain relationships in her memoir. “I would never have spoken a word about anybody in my life, and I tried to be very fair, but people have drawn first blood with me historically,” she said. “When there are people that are, you know, in any way connected to you as a person that achieves a certain level of success, you are a target, you are vulnerable. But I wouldn’t have gone here if things hadn’t been done to me.”

Mariah Carey Calls Derek Jeter a ‘Catalyst’ for Her Divorce