Mariah Carey reveals her “dysfunctional family” ruined Christmas for her

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Mariah Carey performs at Madison Square Garden in New York in December 2019 as part of her All I Want for Christmas Is You tour. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Mariah Carey performs at Madison Square Garden in New York in December 2019 as part of her All I Want for Christmas Is You tour. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Mariah Carey is as synonymous with Christmas as Santa Claus and mistletoe. Her festive chart-toppers are on high rotation in malls, homes and on radios and sound systems across the globe every year. 

Yet while she makes every effort to make Christmas an unforgettable occasion for her own children, Mimi did not have it so good growing up. In a candid interview with The Mirror, the 52-year-old superstar says Christmas was a disaster in her childhood home.

“I always wanted Christmas to be perfect and looked forward to the holidays, but I had this incredibly dysfunctional family that would ruin it. Not my mom – she would try to make it fun. 

“But we didn’t have a lot of money, so sometimes she'd wrap up fruit because it was all she could afford. I was like, ‘When I grow up, I'm never going to let that happen. I'm going to make Christmas perfect, every year’.”

In a candid chat with Oprah Winfrey last year for Apple TV+ series The Oprah Conversation, Mariah opened up about her childhood, saying her parents divorced when she was three, her mother neglected he and that she lived in constant fear of her siblings.

She says her brother, Morgan (now 61), was “extremely violent” and her sister, Alison (58), who later struggled with drugs and was a prostitute, was “troubled and traumatised”.

“When I was 12 years old, my sister drugged me with Valium, offered me a pinkie nail full of cocaine, inflicted me with third-degree burns and tried to sell me out to a pimp," she wrote in her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey.

She told Oprah her relationship with her mother, Patricia (83), is still “really difficult”, adding, “I think it’s really a tough job to be a mother, so I literally try to make my kids’ lives amazing.”

She has 10-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, with ex-husband Nick Cannon.

Mariah says she loves to visit Aspen, Colorado, at Christmas as “there’s guaranteed to be snow”, and a recent post on her Instagram page showed her boarding a private plane to the popular ski resort with her boyfriend, Bryan Tanaka.

It's certainly a time for celebration for Mimi as she's just reached No 1 on the Billboard 100 Chart with her new single, Fall in Love at Christmas.

Earlier this week in a shout-out to her fans, whom she calls her lambily (a combination of lambs and family), she wrote, “The kids woke me up with the great news, I'm so thankful to everyone, especially my lambily, I love you so much!”

Speaking to The Mirror on how her new festive track compares with her iconic hit All I Want for Christmas Is You, she says, “It’s not a battle or anything like that. All I Want for Christmas Is You is the first Christmas song I ever wrote. Is it my favourite? Maybe, but I love all Christmas songs. I just love music and making music.”

Sources:,, Instagram

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