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Mariah Carey's candid marriage confession: 'I was locked away'

The Hero hitmaker was married to Tommy Mottola for five years

mariah carey
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Mariah Carey has been married twice, but she has spoken candidly about her first marriage to Tommy Mottola, during which she felt "locked away."

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Mariah, then 23, married Sony Music CEO Tommy, then 44, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on 5 June 1993. Reportedly inspired by Princess Diana and Prince Charles's wedding, Mariah said 'I do' in front of the likes of Barbra Streisand and Ozzy Osbourne wearing an off-the-shoulder puff-sleeve Vera Wang gown, with a ten-foot veil and a 27-foot train. Just four years later, the couple called it quits and filed for divorce.

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During a chat with the Duchess of Sussex on her Archetypes podcast, the Hero hitmaker discussed key moments in her childhood, her personal life and her career that led her to have the "diva" label.

Meghan pointed out that the music for Mariah's song Honey – which saw a young girl held hostage in a mansion break free by jumping from the second floor into a pool below – symbolised her liberation from her marriage.

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mariah tommy wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Mariah and Tommy on their wedding day in 1993

"In her memoir, Mariah talks about how the marriage 'nearly smothered her to death' and has talked openly about it feeling 'stifling,'" began Meghan.

"You could argue this was Mariah's moment of transformation. With this music video, the message was crystal clear, she was breaking free."

Mariah continued: "My first marriage, I was very much…what's the word, locked away. I was given the rules and had to stick with them."

She added that she lived in an impressive property known as Storybook Manor with her ex-husband, and although she insisted she paid half for the "massive mansion", some people still had the assumption that she was a "kept woman."

meghan markle podcast

The Duchess of Sussex chatted to Mariah about her former marriage in her podcast Archetypes

Mariah explained that being financially independent was really important to her, and her ambition was ignited by her childhood problems.

"I started working hard at six years old, having to be the saviour when somebody would knock somebody else out in my house. I would have to remember the number…I was calling my mum's friends to come and help her out, and she's been knocked out and I watched that happen. 

"I saw that and I thought, 'Here's what we're not going to do.' My ambition came from that," she told Duchess Meghan.

Mariah went on to marry her second husband Nick Cannon on 30 April 2008 after a whirlwind six-week relationship. They tied the knot on the beach at Mariah's Bahamian estate, with the bride looking beautiful in a Nile Cmylo slip dress. They welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan, now 11, before divorcing in 2018.

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