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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Mariah Carey

Aired December 19, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
(SINGING)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Mariah Carey, the best-selling female singer of all time, tells the real story of her breakdown last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: It was an emotional and physical collapse.

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KING: Reveals how it feels to be a tabloid target.

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CAREY: The problem was the parazzi was following me around and making up stories.

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(SINGING)

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KING: And even says she's never been in love.

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CAREY: I can't really trust people because you never know where their agenda -- what their agenda is.

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(SINGING)

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KING: Mariah Carey. Next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: We've looked forward to tonight for a long time. It's a great pleasure to welcome Mariah Carey to LARRY KING LIVE. She is the best-selling female recording star ever. She's had 15 No. 1 hits, the only artist to top the charts every year of the 90s, the winner of two Grammys, eight American Music Awards.

Her new album is "Charmbracelet," one word. As we tape, it's No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 list. It's a Hot Shot Debut. It's also No. 1 on R&B charts, No. 1 in Japan.

Why the title?

CAREY: Well, it's got a kind of personal significance. My father's mother had a charm bracelet, and I didn't know this. I'd been wearing this charm bracelet for awhile.

And this past summer my father was very ill, and so I sort of came together with a lot of people from his side of the family that I hadn't met or hadn't seen in a really long time. And one of my cousins was telling me a story about my Nana's charm bracelet and I thought that it was, you know, kind of nice. He actually -- he passed away this summer on the Fourth. And I wanted to do something because I was still kind of working on the album while, you know, we were going through...

KING: You write all your own stuff, right?

CAREY: Yes. I write all my own songs. And there's a song I wrote on the album for him called "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy."

But I wanted something that was sort of symbolic and represented his side of the family and...

KING: Is that it?

CAREY: This is the one I had. It's kind of like a jokey one, but then when I found out that my grandmother had one, I thought it was just an interesting parallel.

KING: There's no song called "Charmbracelet"?

CAREY: No.

KING: What is the song for your father?

CAREY: It's called "Sunflowers for Alfred Roy." It's very personal. It's kind of hard to talk about. We went through a really difficult time period, because it was just, like, an instant, kind of shocking thing that happened.

KING: His illness?

CAREY: Yes. I mean, he was the type of person who was very strong, like last summer he was climbing Mt. Washington and then suddenly, you know, I got this phone call. I was working on my album... KING: What'd he have?

CAREY: Cancer, a very rare form of cancer. But they misdiagnosed him at first. So I flew in and we spent some time together, and we -- my parents divorced when I was, like, 3, so, you know, it took us awhile to kind of understand each other and, you know, have a relationship...

KING: Your mother raised you?

CAREY: Yes, I was raised by my mom. But I also saw my father on, you know, every other Sunday and sometimes every Sunday.

And so we had just sort of reconnected about his doing his family tree, because I'm not sure if you know that I come from a...

KING: Mixed marriage.

CAREY: Mixed marriage, but also his lineage is all mixed all over the place.

KING: Really wild, right?

CAREY: Yes.

KING: He was black and...

CAREY: And slightly Venezuelan. We find out differed aspects of it all the time.

KING: And your mother?

CAREY: My mother is Irish-American. Yes, my father...

KING: That must have been an interesting marriage while it lasted.

CAREY: Hey, I guess it was. I missed most of it. I was, you know...

KING: Do you feel black or white or what?

CAREY: I don't feel white, because technically, I mean, there's this whole one drop rule. You know about that whole thing that was established during slavery...

KING: It's silly.

CAREY: It's very silly, of course. But it was something...

KING: Something like one drop, you're it?

CAREY: Well, that's what the slavery -- the slave days had this thing that they established. And technically, you know, that's what they say.

KING: So you consider yourself black? You were raised...

CAREY: I consider myself multiracial.

KING: Raised by a white woman, though.

CAREY: Yes...

KING: Mostly in a white culture?

CAREY: Actually, no. I moved around to different -- I lived in black neighborhoods sometimes. I lived in white neighborhoods sometimes.

KING: Where'd you grow up?

CAREY: Predominantly in Long Island, but sometimes -- my mom struggled a lot. She worked a lot of different jobs. She used to be a singer, but then that wasn't really paying the rent. And she kind of stopped when she had kids. I'm the youngest of three.

And so by the time, you know, I came around she was working a lot of jobs. We moved, like, 13 times. And she had, you know, we kind of grew up together.

KING: A lot of things to cover. Was the death painful for you?

CAREY: Very.

KING: You were very close, you'd gotten close to him?

CAREY: We had gotten very close, but also I was there with him, watching him go from -- it's almost like watching somebody deteriorate beofre your eyes. It's very, very painful...

KING: He went fast?

CAREY: No, not -- I mean, he held on longer than we thought.

KING: How old was he?

CAREY: He was 72, but he looked, like, 10 years younger than that, you know? And he was always this big, strong, handsome man, and...

KING: Is it difficult for you to sing that song?

CAREY: Yes. I have only -- I only did it once when I recorded it and did the backgrounds. And I don't think that's one I'll be doing live. But I felt like it was important to include it on the album. Because the album really takes you on, like, a personal journey, and...

KING: There's a theme through all the songs?

CAREY: It's not like I went in with an intentional, like, theme in mind. But I think the album is kind of like a hopeful celebration of life. But during that celebration, we have the ups and the downs, and the different songs. And the first single is called "Through the Rain." And we end on another version of "Through the Rain," which is like the...

KING: Home.

CAREY: Yes. So it's sort of like the story continues.

KING: Do you -- frankly, do you pinch yourself? I mean, come on.

CAREY: You know what?

KING: A kid growing up in Long Island under unusual parentage, moving around a lot. Right?

CAREY: Yes. Well, you know what? It was like, I was thinking about this today before I came here. I've always -- I think one of the reasons I pushed myself so hard and worked so hard is because I never felt special. Like, the one thing that made me feel special was my music.

I didn't feel pretty. I didn't feel like I fit in with other kids, because I really didn't. We didn't have a lot of money growing up at all. Sometimes I had to live with different friends of my mother, you know, when we didn't have a place to stay.

And the one thing that kept me focused and kept me going was this total belief in myself that I had to have in order to know, like, I'm going to get through this and I'm never going to...

KING: And that belief was in your work?

CAREY: In my work.

KING: And not anything else?

CAREY: In the singing, in the musicality.

KING: Did this come out -- did you know in high school you wanted to...?

CAREY: I've known I wanted to sing since I was 4. I've been singing since I was 4. My mother was an opera singer. She made her debut in (UNINTELLIGIBLE), she sang with the New York City opera, all before I was born.

And she came to New York from the Midwest, and then she ended up marrying my father, who had grown up in Harlem and who was pretty much like this gorgeous, amazing looking, you know, man that she -- she thought he was Yul Brynner, actually. She and her girlfriend were stalking...

KING: He was bald?

CAREY: Yes. Stalking Yul Brynner, and then she met my father in Brooklyn.

KING: Brooklyn.

CAREY: Brooklyn Heights, because it was the same neighborhood where Yul Brynner lived.

KING: Mariah, are you named after the song? "They Called the Wind Mariah"?

CAREY: Yes.

KING: One of my favorite songs.

CAREY: Yes. It is?

KING: From "Paint Your Wagon."

CAREY: Yes.

KING: "Way out here they've got a name for wind and..."

CAREY: "rain and fire."

KING: "The rain is test..."

CAREY: "The fire is Job."

KING: "And they call the wind Mariah."

CAREY: That's what they say.

KING: And we'll be back with Mariah Carey. The new CD is "Charmbracelet." It's already No. 3. Maybe when we -- by the time we're on, it's No. 1. Don't go away.

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(SINGING)

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Mariah Carey. Why in Mexico? Why did you tour in Mexico?

CAREY: Well, we went all over the world, actually.

KING: For the album?

CAREY: For the album, to create awareness and because a lot of people don't realize -- because was just put on that in America and they don't have to tour the world because certain genres of music don't cross into Asia and to Latin America and all over the place. But I've been fortunate enough to be able to have worldwide success, so I know that it's important to go to all these different territories.

And in Mexico, they were having a telethon which benefits -- it actually builds hospitals for the children in the different impoverished areas. So I felt like it was a really important cause. And I went to the facilities, which were incredible. Like, I'd never seen anything like it in America, I mean. And most of the people that work there are volunteers.

KING: The facilities are incredible in what way?

CAREY: They're just, I mean, they're run by volunteers. They're clean, they're amazing. They have, like, different rooms; the physical therapy areas are just, like, very advanced. The technology that they have is very advanced. They have...

KING: In Mexico City or all over?

CAREY: I haven't been to all of them, but the one I went to in Mexico City was just really amazing, and it really helped such a wide variety of kids. And you know, being that they don't have very many options, you know.

KING: This program is seen worldwide, as you know. We're all over the world now.

CAREY: Right. Everything is all over the world now.

KING: We are there.

Do you -- Are you surprised that your music is accepted in Japan?

CAREY: You know, it was always interesting to me when I would go to other countries and they would be singing my lyrics back to me. But if we tried to have a conversation, we couldn't because they don't speak the same language.

And I think that, as a multiracial person, that's one of the reasons why I'm so -- It's not surprise. It's something that really makes me feel a lot of gratification because it's like crossing boundaries, you know. Knowing that I wrote a song and somebody in Japan is singing that song back to me or however many people fill the Tokyo Dome.

KING: How do you explain it to yourself? You're singing words -- you're singing in English.

CAREY: Right.

KING: They don't understand what you're singing.

CAREY: You know what? I think that in a lot of places, they use -- actually, I know that they use songs that are sung in English to teach kids how to speak English. And so I've actually done some commercials for, like, Berlitz in Japan. I think that was the company that we worked with. And they really do use English.

KING: What was your break?

CAREY: Well, I felt like I had a lot of them, but...

KING: What was your...

CAREY: I was a backup singer. I started singing...

KING: For?

CAREY: For Brenda K. Starr, right out of high school.

KING: Even though you're a seven octave singer, right? Is that true?

CAREY: Well, I don't know what. I mean...

KING: Someone told me you were a seven octave singer.

CAREY: They say this to me, but like, today I probably have less than one. Because I didn't have much sleep and I have a cold.

But you know, I don't know technical stuff. My mom is so technical that I went the other way. Like, that's why I like...

KING: You were singing backup.

CAREY: Singing backup. And I was -- I'd been doing that since I was 13, different sessions and people like that. And I was just this kid on the Upper West Side that a lot of musicians came to know as somebody who could sing.

And one day, one of Brenda's backup singers quit or got sick or something, and one of the guys recommended me to go and try out for her. So I went, and she said to me, "What, are you trying to steal my job?" And then she hired me.

And then she was, like, she tutored me...

KING: How did you get a first record? How did you?

CAREY: OK, so after that she took -- I had a demo tape which I'd been working on while in high school, writing songs, going into the city, working until 3 a.m. It was a tape that ended up having, like, three number one songs on it. Little did I know.

But -- And it was just my demo tape, and she would try to give it to people. But most people in the industry are like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tape, whatever." I mean, why pay any attention?

So she brought me to a party which was for WTG Records, which was Walter, Tommy and Gerry (ph). Walter Yetnakov (ph), Tommy Mottola, and Gerry Greenberg (ph). And she went -- these guys were all looking at me. I didn't really understand why. I was just this little teenage girl. I'd borrowed her clothes. I didn't have anything to wear. The only thing I couldn't borrow were her shoes, because my feet were too big. So I had sneakers on and this little dress. And there was this group of men, and she walks over and she goes to Gerry Greenberg, she says, "This is my friend Mariah, you know. She writes all her own songs, she's this, she's that." Goes to hand Gerry (ph) the tape, and Tommy Mottola grabbed it out of his hand. And the story is that people think I went up and boldly said, "Here, here's my tape." I didn't even know who he was.

And so he had the tape. I said, "Oh." And then she told me who he was, and I said, OK. This guy is never going to listen to my tape. So he went out, left the party, listened to it in his limo.

I left. I'd already had a deal on the table with Warner Brothers, which I was about to sign through a producer I'd been signed to. So I almost didn't go to that party. So Tommy heard the tape, came back to find me. But I was gone. And he located me through Brenda.

KING: And you recorded then?

CAREY: Yes. Eventually. He located me through her manager, because I didn't have a lawyer. I didn't have anything. And I ended up signing there instead of going with Warner Brothers because I felt that he understood my vision.

KING: And ended up marrying him.

CAREY: Yes, indeed.

KING: What was your first hit?

CAREY: "Vision of Love."

KING: Were you surprised that it took off so fast?

CAREY: I was surprised about "Vision of Love," because to me it was not what was going on musically at the time.

It was a ballad. It was very kind of R&B influenced. It wasn't, like, a cute little pop ditty. So I was surprised at that.

And I also didn't understand the whole chart system. I didn't know, like, about the charts or Grammys or...

KING: How old were you when you first hit?

CAREY: I think that summer I was 19.

KING: Is there -- sometimes they say too much, too soon. Was that ever a problem for you?

CAREY: The interesting thing is I didn't feel famous until, like, last year. Because -- seriously. Because...

KING: You're weird, you know.

CAREY: I know. Hey, we've established that. But I was so kind of sequestered, you know, away from the world. And I think there was a conscious effort for me not to feel famous, for me not to get full of myself and not...

KING: Conscious on your part?

CAREY: On everybody else.

KING: Let's not let her...

CAREY: Yes. Management, lawyers, all those people who all were kind of like one unit. You know what I mean? It wasn't like I had outside parties. They were all together, kind of in control of me.

And that's difficult because I grew up with such a free spirit, and to kind of have to be in such a confining thing is really hard.

KING: What broke you loose?

CAREY: It got to a point where I had to go.

KING: We'll pick right up in a minute. Mariah Carey. The new CD is "Charmbracelet." Just another -- rolling along hits. We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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(SINGING)

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KING: We're back with Mariah Carey. The new CD is "Charmbracelet."

OK, what happened? What caused your illness, the black out? There were all these stories, nervous breakdown. What happened?

CAREY: OK. Well, it was an emotional and physical collapse. That's what it was.

KING: And this was last year?

CAREY: This was -- I guess at this point, like a year and a half ago.

KING: July of last year.

CAREY: Yes. Not this past July, but the one before. KING: Last July your father died.

CAREY: Right.

So -- and this is something that really only required, like, two weeks of rest. Basically, I was working 22-hour days literally.

KING: Recording or...?

CAREY: No, promoting. Traveling around the world, doing sometimes 20 interviews a day. So the focus it requires to just sit here and talk to you, I'd have to do that, like, 20 times a day with people from all over the world that would fly in. And it's so depleting and exhausting.

And then they say, "Now we have a photo shoot. Go take pictures." And then we've got to do this video...

KING: And that was new to you, you hadn't had this...?

CAREY: No, I'd had it before, but I was on a new label because I had finally gotten away from the first label where I was, which was -- I had a lot of success there, but it was very difficult to have those personal ties. It got to a point where it was like, gotta go.

KING: You married that label, literally.

CAREY: And then divorced. And while divorced, being there was very, very difficult, because people that worked there didn't know whether they were supposed to be nice to me...

KING: Or not.

CAREY: Whether they were supposed to like my music or they were supposed to hate me.

KING: Pressure is building.

CAREY: Pressure had been building for a very long time, and I just -- my whole thing is you hit it dead on and you keep going.

But at a certain point, when you're also with a new label and a new situation. And I was working a soundtrack, which is something different than an album. You know what I mean? You have all these other deadlines that you have to deal with with the movie companies...

KING: You mean, for a movie?

CAREY: Yes. And so I'm dealing with that, and I was dealing with so much business stuff that I hadn't had to do before. The people at that company didn't really understand me as an artist or how to support me. Plus, I didn't have a personal assistant with me at the time to say, "OK. Now she needs a five-minute break to eat something."

KING: You had no personal assistant? CAREY: My personal assistant had to go and deal with something. And she's from a different country. She had to go home and deal with family things, so...

KING: You were kind of one your own?

CAREY: I was on my own, because everybody else was dealing with other things.

KING: Well, what happened when you collapsed?

CAREY: Well, what happened was...

KING: What physically happened?

CAREY: I physically collapsed in my mother's house. I said one day -- we were supposed to shoot the second single, the video for the second single, and I said, "You know what? I've been working too hard."

My doctor had already told me, "You're working too hard." Because I have low blood sugar. I need to kind of take care of myself in a specific way, which wasn't happening because I was just doing too much.

It's really hard to explain to people from the outside who don't live in this world, because they see you on TV and they're, like, "What's so hard? You're doing nothing. You're sitting there talking." But when you're doing it and you're focused, and it's over and over and over.

KING: And your hair has to look nice.

CAREY: Everything's got to look good and that alone is draining.

But seriously, it's like, you know, days they would wake me up at 5 in the morning to do an Australian phone interview and then expect me to go back to sleep, wake up and do...

KING: But you were doing it for the new label and that was required of you.

CAREY: Right. And I had said, "I'm the hardest working person you'll ever meet." And they still say that about me, even though I've taken my schedule and basically cut it in half. Because I feel, and I understand the importance of promotion.

KING: Right. What physically happened?

CAREY: OK.

KING: Did you faint?

CAREY: Basically, yes. I was totally dehydrated. I went up to my mother's house, because when I said I wouldn't do the video, everybody who worked with me was, like, "What do you mean? She's saying no?"

I had never learned how to say no.

KING: It's hard to say.

CAREY: It's hard to say no. I thought if I said no everything would crumble around me and then it would be my fault if something didn't succeed. You know what I mean?

So I tried to, you know, get away from everybody and say, "Look, no. I need some time for me." And they just didn't get that because it was so out of character for me.

So I went to my mom's, and usually when I go to my mother's, I'm there bearing gifts. I'm there as kind of the caretaker. Let's all have a good time. And I was there in need, you know what I mean?

And when I collapsed, she freaked out and called 911. Now if we were dealing with a celebrity machine of the way to do things, when that happens to celebrities, it would have been somebody would have come in, probably would have given me a sedative or whatever and said, "Lie down and go to sleep. You'll be fine in a couple days."

But we weren't. We were dealing with my mom, a regular citizen of the world, concerned about her daughter. And so I went. And I said, "You know what? Maybe if I check into a hospital; I'm exhausted..."

KING: Did an ambulance come?

CAREY: Excuse me? Yes.

And I said, "You know, maybe if I go people will understand that I'm a human being and I need a break."

KING: What do you make of all the -- there were suicide rumors...

CAREY: That was the thing that really upset me the most.

KING: No kidding?

CAREY: Because there are kids who are such fans that they emulate almost every thing that I do. So the last thing I would want them to think is, oh, you go through something or, you know, you're having a personal problem or whatever, you go and try to commit suicide. That was what bothered me the most.

The rest of the rumors: she's in a rehab, she's in this...

KING: Where were you?

CAREY: It was just a hospital that I think there was a rehab on the premises, but I didn't go there.

KING: And then you were treated for what? Fatigue? CAREY: Yes.

KING: Not a nervous breakdown?

CAREY: No, not a nervous breakdown.

KING: Didn't need psychiatric aid?

CAREY: You know what? I did go to therapy, you know. I believe in therapy; I don't think that that's anything to be...

KING: But they're all in it (ph)?

CAREY: Exactly. But in some people who don't grow up with that type of philosophy, they look at it like, oh, a therapist. And I'm like, great, therapy, you know what I mean?

KING: Wasn't it hard to make that change from yes to a no-girl and from 90 percent worker to a 40 percent worker?

CAREY: It was a 99 percent worker. And now I'm about a 75 percent worker.

Basically, that hospital thing was not a good choice, because you don't sleep in hospitals. And so when I left, I went and that's when I got my rest and my peace of mind. And I went with...

KING: Where'd you do that?

CAREY: I went different places. Like I went to the Caribbean, I went to Puerto Rico. I went with friends. And the problem was the paparazzi was following me around and making up stories. They were saying I was in some hospital in England, where I never was. I was here, I was there. And all my friends are sitting with me, going, "Why don't you sue these people?"

KING: How do you deal with -- Why don't you, by the way?

CAREY: Because it's too much trouble. It's too much hassle. And it is what it is. They're doing it to sell newspapers. And at a certain point, once somebody's read, like, 5,000 stories about me, like, you know, she's having her 59th breakdown. It's like, wouldn't I be broken by now? Like, come on.

But I wasn't going to go on a tirade about it...

KING: Do you ever get used to it? Reading lies?

CAREY: You know what? At a certain point it started to amuse me.

KING: Really?

CAREY: At a certain point when it got so ridiculous, it was like, she went to a fat farm and she had a breakdown and she forced all of the people that work with her to go on this special diet with her, but they were sneaking off and getting cheeseburgers. And then they had to get breath mints because she loves cheeseburgers so much.

I was like, I don't even eat cheeseburgers.

KING: Couple of others bases I want to cover...

CAREY: OK.

KING: Total -- some days -- For a period of time there after all this weirdness, there was weird postings on your Web Site.

CAREY: Yes.

KING: Some sad, plaintive phone messages from you. What was...?

CAREY: Actually, that was -- that was the same day that I...

KING: Collapsed?

CAREY: Collapsed. That's when I left that message, because what I was trying to say was, I was trying to get a hold of somebody at the manager company. Nobody was answering the phone. I was trying to call the label. Nobody was there with the phone number.

I post a lot of messages on my Web Site, because I have a very personal relationship with my fans. To me they, like, fulfill something in me that I've never felt. And so I'll just called them up and had, like, a conversational kind of message that I leave on the machine. And while I was doing that -- basically, I think I did it, you know, to let people know this is it. I'm not doing this right now, you know what I mean? I need a break. And that's what's going to happen.

That was the end of the posting for that day. But people then started listening and going, "What is she talking about? Rainbows and this and that?" They don't understand that, like, my fans -- I have an album called "Rainbow." I have an album called "Butterfly." It's not like I suddenly was like, oh, rainbows and butterflies. It's like these are things that my fans...

KING: You are here tonight to say you're not wacko?

CAREY: I'm not wacko. But my point is already made. I mean, we're all a little wacko sometimes, and if we think we're not, maybe we are more than we know.

But my point was, these things are, like, personal sort of messages to my fans, and they understand it. I don't expect, like, you know, whatever talk show host to understand my little lingo with my fans, you know what I mean, so.

KING: In other words, "whatever" is me, right? Is that what you're saying? That I wouldn't understand?

CAREY: I don't mean you. I mean, I think if I explained it to you, you could clearly get it.

KING: I would understand.

CAREY: But I don't think we have the time on this show.

KING: We'll be right back don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAREY: I just want you know that I am trying to understand things in life right now. And so I don't really fell that I should doing right now. I just can't trust anybody any more right now. Because I don't understand whats going on.

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KING: We're back with the incredibly talented Mariah Carey. She has had her ups and downs mostly up though. You (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when you look at man. Life has been pretty good.

CAREY: I am very blessed. I am so grateful for my life and for everything that I have. It's like what everybody goes though difficult times. You had them. I had them. We've all had them. It's life. Unfornently when people see it on tabloidm covers and it's sensationalived. And then you go though and you're, and you know, the joke on whatever talk show, you know. It's like, Ok, be the fall guy for moment. It's all right.

KING: Frank Sentra told me once that they only that the only thing that he owes the public is his best proformance. Anything else is a plus.

CAREY: Yes, that's right.

KING: But you do more then that, you go out of your way to be nice.

CAREY: I try.

KING: You try to cooperate on ways beyond onstage?

CAREY: Right. Like I was -- I'm very much a people pleaser. Even when it's just, like, work related, I never, like I said, I never had boundaries. I never knew how to say no. And that's somewhat because that's what my family didn't have very many boundaries.

KING: Do you have someone now who says no for you?

CAREY: Me? No, I have to be the one who does it.

KING: Because if they get to you, your tendency is to say yes?

CAREY: Yes, and you know, I've told people, "You guys have got to say no, because when it gets to the point where they try and they try and they try. And then I have to politely say, these are the reasons why I can't do this."

KING: What was it like having your love life in -- reading about it?

CAREY: Well, half of it were lies, so that was...

KING: Did they have you with guys you weren't with?

CAREY: Oh, yes. Yes. Every -- almost every time you turn around. And it's funny, because I'm very -- I'm a very friendly person, and especially when, like, I feel like I can connect with somebody who's an artist or whatever and we talk. And I guess I sort of have, like, the spirit of an eighth grade girl, so I can tend to be...

KING: What do you want to be when you grow up, Mariah, is what you're saying, right?

CAREY: Exactly. You know, and I can tend to be, I guess, flirtatious, but I don't even know that I'm doing it. So you know, sometimes it works against me because then the people get the wrong idea and...

KING: She loves me.

CAREY: Exactly. Or what everybody -- I'm standing next to somebody and they take a picture and they're like, that's your new boyfriend.

KING: But if you do date someone who's famous...

CAREY: Right.

KING: I'm thinking of Derek Jeter...

CAREY: Right.

KING: Was that double problems?

CAREY: Yes, because people -- I think it's very difficult for sports stars, as well, because the fans are so much a part of their...

KING: Derek is mobbed, isn't he?

CAREY: Yes, but...

KING: When the two of you went together?

CAREY: Well, it would depend on what type of situation we were in. It's like if we were in something that was more his world, there would be people that came up to me, as well. But me and him, if we were in another type of situation or in another, you know, place where baseball isn't the thing they would come to me.

And I welcomed somebody else getting the attention. I'm, like, whoah! Good for you, you know what I mean? And he's very close to his family; it's fantastic. You know, I loved to spend time with his mother and sister and father.

KING: Why didn't you stay together?

CAREY: It just didn't work out.

KING: But you like him just as much as before?

CAREY: I think he's a great guy, I really do. And I really, really love his family. They really taught me something special, because coming from an interracial background, you know, you had the same type of background exactly.

KING: Right.

CAREY: And I never saw an interracial family that had stayed together and stuck it out that way, and I learned a nice lesson from them.

KING: And now you're -- Are you involved with Mexican balladeer Luis Miguel?

CAREY: I was.

KING: I don't know.

CAREY: Right, OK. I was involved with him for longer than I should have been. The relationship dragged on a little too long, and it was a mutual ending. And people wanted to blame what happened to me last year on breaking up with...

KING: On him.

CAREY: Yes, on breaking up with him. And thinking that, like, he dumped me and I was all forlorn. And I'm like, well, I know it's convenient for society to believe that women, you know, get dumped by men and then they go into this nervous breakdown and you know, they want to jump off the face of the earth. Which is not what happened.

So I wish nothing but the best for him. He's very talented. But it's like, yet again, two famous people. If we were to go to, let's say, Argentina or Mexico or anywhere in Latin America, he would get mobbed more than me. Or, you know, it would be equal. And it was fine, you know?

KING: Speaking of mobbed, how about Eminem?

CAREY: What about him?

KING: Did you date him?

CAREY: No. KING: Then where was that printed?

CAREY: That was printed everywhere.

KING: And you didn't date him at all?

CAREY: I hung out with him, I spoke to him on the phone. I think I was probably with him a total of four times. And I don't consider that dating somebody.

KING: Any talent?

CAREY: I think he's talented, yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How do you explain that popularity of the kind of music he sings?

CAREY: Well, first of all, I'm a fan of hip-hop music and I have been since I was a little kid. You know, hip-hop has been around for 20 years. It's just now that the masses are understanding, and it's becoming a worldwide thing. And I think that he's very accessible to people who might have a problem with other black artists.

KING: Because he's white.

CAREY: Well, I mean it's more -- that's more acceptable to some people, you know?

KING: How do you explain your talent? The writing ability, where did that come from?

CAREY: I consider anything like that to be a gift from God. Anybody...

KING: And you write words and music?

CAREY: Yes. And I heard the melodies in my head, and I hear the chords in my head, and I just sing out the chords to the people. Because I quit my piano lessons at 6.

KING: You don't read music?

CAREY: I don't read music. And my mom is this classically trained person, and I went the other way. And I think it's helped me write songs that I wouldn't have written if I were going at the technical way. Because they go, "Oh, you can't go from this chord to that chord. It's not the way you're supposed to do it."

KING: Irving Berlin couldn't read music.

CAREY: Right.

KING: Wrote some songs -- And you break rules that way.

CAREY: Right. That's the thing. So if I ever do -- I mean, I play sometimes, but my melodies come to me so quickly that I can't keep up with it on the piano. Certain songs like "Vision of Love" I wrote on the piano, or "All I Want for Christmas" I started on the piano. But that's, like, really basic. So I prefer to work with somebody that's great, and collaborate.

KING: Mariah Carey's our special guest. Her new CD, rising on the charts, No. 3, it's probably going to go higher. It's "Charmbracelet." We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: By the way, the album is No. 3 overall. On R&B charts, rhythm and blues, it is No. 1.

These charts are important, right? They are indeed.

CAREY: They are. And you know what's really...

KING: Are you an R&B artist?

CAREY: I consider myself to be an R&B artist. I can write pop songs. My heart is more with R&B, you know what I mean? And, you know, we were talking about rap music before. I love doing collaborations with different rap artists, because it's, you know, an art form that I really enjoy, that I grew up, you know, loving.

And I think it's been really cool for me to be able to cross boundaries, like the adult contemporary charts, pop charts and the urban chart.

KING: Do you appreciate songs like Cole Porter songs, "Night and Day"? Do you appreciate...

CAREY: Yes. My mother sang jazz as well, and...

KING: You like that?

CAREY: Yes. I used to sing; I'd sit in with musicians when I was a little kid and sing, like, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and...

KING: What do you think of doing an album of just nice standards? Or do you have to sing what you write?

CAREY: Well, writing for me is almost more important than singing. It's hard to sing, particularly with this album because I had so much that I had gone through and I just put it all into the writing of the music, the lyrics and the melodies and things like that.

But I -- I mean, I love interpreting other songs, as well.

KING: You've got an amazing voice.

CAREY: Thank you.

KING: I mean, that's a God instrument, right, given?

CAREY: I believe that when you get the gift of music, it is a God-given talent.

KING: Do you regard Tommy Mottola as a mistake?

CAREY: I don't really think...

KING: Or is it progress along the road?

CAREY: Progress along the road. I mean, I was very, very young when I first became involved with him, and I didn't have, like, that overprotective parent there saying, "What's going on? You know, maybe it's safer for you not to get involved in this relationship."

But I have to say there were some very good times and there were some very, very, very difficult times. And that's what it is. And we both benefited a lot from the relationship.

KING: How long did it last?

CAREY: See, I consider the marriage part of it the end. That was the end of the situation. It really was.

KING: Was it really?

CAREY: Yes. Because I mean, I don't want to go into it because I respect him and I want the best for him and I hope he's happy in his life now. And -- but it's difficult. It's difficult to take somebody like me and try to make me be a different way than what I am.

KING: You can't be controlled.

CAREY: I allowed myself to be controlled, but every time I got a chance, and I let myself go and had some fun, it was almost like, you know, a dark cloud would come over and we'd all have to go, "OK. Let's not have so much fun now."

KING: You want children? CAREY: I don't know. I'm not really sure. I want a husband if I'm going to have children. I want the right person to be there.

KING: You're not going to have something out of wedlock?

CAREY: I don't think so. I mean that's not...

KING: You're not sure you want children?

CAREY: It's not that I'm not sure. I -- if I have children, I want to have the man first, the marriage first, the whole thing right.

KING: No fussing with it.

CAREY: And grandchildren, yes.

KING: But you're not -- In other words, if I told you you would never have children, that wouldn't...

CAREY: If somebody, God forbid, said that I couldn't, then I think there are enough children in need around the world.

KING: You'd adopt?

CAREY: Well, I'd probably adopt or I'd just, you know, do what -- I work with a lot of children's charities, as well, and that's something that's, you know, really important.

KING: This program had a relationship with you before we met, because we followed you around after 9/11. You went on a tour.

CAREY: Yes.

KING: We followed you, and three different times at the end of our program was when we were featuring music. I guess you know this.

CAREY: I saw it.

KING: You closed all the programs.

CAREY: Yes.

KING: Where were you on 9/11?

CAREY: On 9/11, well, you know, I live in Tribeca. And I was in L.A. at the time, and I heard about it and it was...

KING: Were you sleeping, I guess? It was early in the morning.

CAREY: Yes. And I woke up, and I looked at the TV and couldn't believe it. And when I -- and then they did the "Tribute to Heroes," and I was out in L.A., so they called me and asked me to be involved in that television show, which you know, everybody was there.

KING: Great show. CAREY: Yes. And, you know, I had just gone through this whirlwind of rumors, and craziness and drama, you know. And it was important for me to come out and support. But it was strange when I went home and I looked out my window and it just wasn't -- they just weren't there. Just a bunch of smoke and...

KING: They were part of your scenery. They were your culture.

CAREY: Part of my culture, part of my life, part of all the memories I've ever had.

KING: You went -- where did you go? We were following you. Where were you going?

CAREY: You saw me in Kosovo, right? And I was there with the troops performing for Christmas.

KING: What was that like?

CAREY: It was great. It was really nice. It -- it feels good to be able to be a part of kind of uplifting people's spirits, because it's cold and it's not the nicest place in the world, and it's not the nicest feeling in the world to be there, I'm sure. But they themselves, you know, the people in the service there were full of...

KING: Well, once you get on, it's got to be something, though, right?

CAREY: It's great. It really was.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Mariah Carey. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with the wonderful, talented Mariah Carey. Cover -- another base I want to cover.

What do you make of Michael Jackson and all that's gone on with him? Are you friends with him?

CAREY: I know him. I think that he's amazingly talented. He's somebody that I grew up admiring enormously. Very gifted person.

KING: Were you surprised when he attacked your ex-husband?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: Tommy Motolla made some very racist remarks. What they did was really terrible. And not just to me but some of their other artists too. You know, from George Michael to Mariah Carey to, you know, the people -- yes...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAREY: I was surprised in the way that he did it. But I wasn't necessarily surprised in some of the things that he said. But you know, a lot of artists are unhappy with the music business.

KING: Does all the attention Jennifer Lopez gets, does that bother -- Is there rivalries, by the way, in this business?

CAREY: There are rivalries, but I don't think she has anything to do with me. I mean, my whole thing is singing, writing songs...

KING: She's an actress.

CAREY: Yes. And you know, I've been doing this, you know, my whole life. Singing is first and foremost, a God-given talent that I'm grateful for. Her thing is something different.

KING: Do you ever fear the talent -- you know, when you're songwriting, there's a term songwriters have or used to have -- maybe they don't say that -- going dry.

CAREY: Right. I did fear that.

KING: I can't write anything.

CAREY: I did fear that. I did fear that last year. And then suddenly, I just had, like, this flood of ideas and songs. And for this album, "Charmbracelet," I wrote, like 21 songs, and I had to narrow it down to 15. So I think...

KING: Do they just flood into your head?

CAREY: Well, it's like I just kept having idea after idea after idea. And I think it was because sometimes you have to go through painful things to get to that sweet spot, to get to the place where you really need to be. You know what I mean?

KING: Want to do Broadway?

CAREY: People ask me that a lot. I wouldn't want to do Broadway where I had to sing the same way every night. But something funny, some type of comedic thing would be cool, like an off Broadway thing.

KING: What about acting?

CAREY: Yes. I mean, people -- I just did a movie with Mira Sorvino, a fun, independent film called "Wisegirls." And it was -- It was really a great experience, because it was just like roughing it. It was an indie movie where I played a Mafia girl who is a drug dealer and a waitress and kind of out there, which is really cool. And it was a great learning experience for me.

And it taught me that, you know, you go and do things that are going to be creatively challenging. Not get caught up in the world that you don't know much about.

KING: Are you romantic?

CAREY: I think so. I think I have to be romantic to write the kind of songs that I write.

KING: You sure do. Therefore, do you miss -- If you're not in love now, do you miss being in love?

CAREY: I don't know that I've ever actually really been in love.

KING: What?

CAREY: Yes, I don't really.

KING: And you write all these beautiful, fantastic songs, and you've never experienced it? You know what you mean by "in love." In love means gaga.

CAREY: Right.

KING: It means, if he doesn't call me, I'm going crazy.

CAREY: Is that a crush or is that love? I don't know. Do you know what I mean?

KING: Well, have you had it where if the guy said, "I'm going to call you" and he didn't call you, you would go crazy?

CAREY: I'd not go crazy, but I'd be, like, you know, "Oh, screw him, he didn't call." And be mad.

KING: That's not in love.

CAREY: Does that mean you're in love?

KING: No, no, That's the opposite.

CAREY: I don't mean that I didn't care. I just -- I mean, I didn't like flip out. If I said I was crazy, it would have been like, "She's crazy."

KING: You don't have a hunger to be in love?

CAREY: You know what? I think it would be nice. But you know, my problem is I can't really trust people, because you never know where their agenda -- what their agenda is. It's like you befriend somebody, you listen to all their problems, you know. They talk about their stuff, you talk about yours. The next thing you know, they're lying to the world, saying that you had an affair and had a relationship with them.

And it's like, you know, for me at this point I'm not sure that that's -- anything's worth it unless somebody, like, spectacular comes along, or you know...

KING: And that could happen tomorrow.

CAREY: You never know.

KING: But it's hard with you, isn't it? Don't you think you're intimidating to guys? A guy has to be pretty secure.

CAREY: I don't think I am, but I guess.

KING: You're a worldwide star.

CAREY: But...

KING: I mean, Joe Flake the insurance salesman from Astoria is not going to meet you.

CAREY: He could be a really cool, fun guy. You never know.

KING: Joe. There's hope for Joe.

CAREY: Joe Flake. Get him on the horn.

KING: Joe, she likes you.

Mariah, thank you so much.

CAREY: Thank you so much, Larry. It's great to be here.

Mariah Carey, it's great finally meeting her. The best selling female recording star ever. Her newest is "Charmbracelet," No. 1 R&B, No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200, No. 1 in Japan. She's No. 1.

Mariah Carey, thank you very much for joining us. "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next. From New York, I'm Larry King with Mariah Carey. Good night.

(MUSIC)

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