In his new book, former Sony Music CEO Tommy Mottola claims his ex-wife Mariah Carey should be grateful for his hand in her success.
In his new memoir, Hitmaker, Mottola writes: “If it seemed like I was controlling, I apologize. Was I obsessive? Yes. But that was also part of the reason for her success.”
While half admitting the controlling behavior that characterized their stormy May/December romance (they married when he was 43 and Carey 23), Mottola still sees himself as instrumental to Carey’s discovery. Mottola met Carey at an industry party for recording artist Brenda K. Starr (for whom Carey sang backup in the late 1980s), and Starr handed him Carey’s demo tape.
“An unbelievable energy was running though me,” Mottola writes, “screaming, ‘Turn the car around! That may be the best voice you’ve ever heard in your life!’”
Mottola continues that everyone from his children to his shrink persuaded him not to get entangled romantically with Carey as he mentored her career. In Hitmaker, he recalls he would scream at his shrink “You don’t understand! Mariah is going to be the biggest star in the world. She’s going to be as big as Michael Jackson.”
While Mottola’s prediction came true, the relationship became too much for Carey, who grew tired of Mottola trying to dictate her every move, both personal and professional. In an MTV interview several years ago, Carey noted “For me, to really get out was difficult,” she said. “[It] was not only a marriage, but a business thing where the person was in control of my life.”
Even Mottola admits an incident where Carey asked for a break after her second album. “My feeling was that there’d be plenty of time for Mariah to celebrate just a little ways down the road,” he writes. “I’m not talking 10 years, just a few.”
Clearly, Mariah got impatient waiting, because the pair divorced just a few years later in 1997. Hitmaker hits shelves, Kindles and iPads on January 15–one day before Carey is set to debut as a judge on American Idol.