Oprah Winfrey interviewed Mariah Carey about her upcoming memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, where she discusses her personal journey, the struggles she faced growing up biracial and finding unconditional love. The Oprah Conversation episode premieres on Thursday at midnight via Apple TV+.
In a clip from the interview, Oprah asked her about how her hair “was a flaw in your identity for yourself.” Carey, whose mother is of Irish descent and father was African-American and African-Venezuelan, explained how she had unkempt, matted hair growing up because no one in her family could relate and that having lighter colored hair was also an issue. “So, on both sides of the spectrum I feel like I was hated on by certain people in my family for having the lighter hair,” she said. “But then if they only realized, like no, actually, I have like matted hair, which is frizzy and curly.”
Carey also opened up about her relationship with Derek Jeter, whom she dated in the late Nineties. “Before you divorced Tommy Mottola, you met Yankee baseball player Derek Jeter. And you say he served a very high purpose in your life,” Oprah said. “What was it about Derek?”
Carey called Jeter a “catalyst” for helping her get out of that relationship and that seeing someone who had similar roots, but a stable family life helped her. “It was the racial situation – his mom is Irish, his dad is black – but he was also very ambiguous looking to me. I didn’t know who he was,” she said, later adding, “But he was a catalyst and I think that it was beautiful and his family was a healthy family and they changed my viewpoint that ‘Oh it’s because of the biracial situation that my family’s so screwed up’ as opposed to ‘it’s them.’
“And yes, those things did play a huge part in their dysfunction, but it was healthy for me to see a functional family that basically kind of looked like mine, but didn’t feel like mine. And he was also living his dream job and doing his dream job and stuff. I believe we connected in that way.”
Carey also discussed how her children and fans have taught her about unconditional love and helped her move on from the wounds of the past.
“They help to heal me every day,” Carey said of her twins Moroccan and Monroe. “Every time we have a moment that feels real and authentic and genuine and it’s them loving me unconditionally.” She added that another essential in her life beyond her twins comes from her connection to her audience. “My fans have been the only ones that I felt I got unconditional love from … I had this connection in a way that people feel like that they know you, my fans really feel like they’re the only ones who have ever know me. I feel that way.”
The Meaning of Mariah Carey arrives on September 29th. Find the book here.