Chart-topping living legend Mariah Carey shared intimate details about her parents in her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. Written with Michaela Angela Davis, the book explores Mariah's familial tensions and upbringing as a biracial woman in New York.
Though her childhood was challenging, Mariah says it helped shape her into the woman she is today. Even more, her parents inadvertently pushed her to become the songbird supreme whom everyone worships. Let's discuss Mariah's parents and their relationship.
Who are Mariah Carey's parents? Details on their background and ethnicity.
Mariah Carey is the youngest daughter of parents Alfred Carey and Patricia Carey (née Hickey).
Per Hollywood Life, Mariah's father Alfred "was an aeronautical engineer of African American and Afro Venezuelan descent." As an immigrant, Mariah's paternal grandfather "changed his surname from Nuñez to Carey to sound more American/Eurocentric" to evade racism.
Unfortunately, racism played a prominent role in Mariah's life and upbringing, and it started when her parents were married. Patricia, who has Irish lineage, and Alfred faced discrimination and were ostracized from others while living and being together as a biracial couple.
In her memoir, Mariah, wrote, "My father identified as a Black man. No one asked him because he was clearly Black. But people always ask me. If we were together, people would look at us in a really strange way. As a little girl, I had blonde hair and they’d look at me, look at him, and be disgusted."
"I understand people want to hold on to their roots," she continued. "But for me, I was a complete nonentity because of it. Maybe that was part of my drive to succeed. I’ll become accepted."
Alfred and Patricia divorced when Mariah was 3 years old. Mariah stayed with her mother, Patricia. As for her siblings, Alison and Morgan, they moved in with their father.
Mariah didn't communicate much with her father after the divorce, and he passed away in 2002. As for her relationship with her mother, this is where it gets even more difficult for the singer.
Mariah and her mother, Patricia, had a competitive relationship.
As a former opera singer, Patricia instilled a passion for music in Mariah. However, as Mariah rose to stardom and her career reached higher levels every year, her mother grew jealous.
"Jealousy comes with the territory when you are famous. But when it comes from your own mother, it is very painful," Mariah wrote in her memoir. She then recalled how her mother once told her, "You should only hope that you could be half the singer that I am."
In her book, Mariah summarized her and her mother's relationship:
"Ours is a story of betrayal and beauty. Of love and abandonment. Of sacrifice and survival," she wrote. "I’ve emancipated myself from bondage several times, but there is a cloud of sadness that I suspect will always hang over me, not simply because of my mother but because of our complicated journey together."
Thankfully, Mariah and her mother seem to have mended some of their relationship as they've gotten older, and Mariah has posted numerous birthday and Mother's Day tributes to her mom over the years.
Mariah Carey seems determined to have a different relationship with her own daughter.
While Mariah's relationship with her mom may have been fraught with jealousy, the singer's relationship with her own daughter couldn't be more different. Not only is Monroe Cannon (11) an excellent singer in her own right, but Mariah supports and encourages her daughter's talent. Mariah even included Monroe in her 2022 CBS holiday special, Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!
"Introducing… Miss Monroe!" Mariah wrote on Instagram the day before the event aired. "Don’t miss our first ever duet!"