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Mariah Carey, whose music has long rung in the festive season, has revealed that some of her all-time favourite Christmas memories were down to her gay uncles.
Today, Mariah’s Christmases are full of glamour and wonder, with butterscotch schnapps and family visits to a winter wonderland in Aspen. However, the festive season wasn’t always so full of joy.
Growing up, Christmases at the singer’s family home in Huntington, New York, were less than ideal.
In her memoir, The Meaning Of Mariah Carey, she writes that her mother, opera singer Patricia Carey, would invite her siblings for dinner. But by the end of the night “they would all explode in a torrent of verbal abuse”, leaving her pleading with them to stop arguing.
The experience made Mariah wish for a happier home environment, much like the one she had with her “guncles” Burt and Myron, two of her favourite people.
She puts her extroverted nature and showmanship down to their nurturing.
“I think my guncles would have embraced all of this,” she told NME, pointing to her Christmas albums, seasonal TV specials and general chokehold on the festivities.
“They loved me and made me feel like I wasn’t weird or different or other.”
Myron, a homemaker, made a long-lasting impression on Mariah with what she called his impeccable dress sense and well-styled hair. The pair of them were especially close.
The trio would stage Christmas-themed shoots, drawing on Burt’s work as a photographer.
Mariah wrote her classic 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas is You”, which recently returned to the top of the Billboard 100, on a Casio keyboard at the age of 24.
Carey has pointed out that this, too, was not the happiest time of her life. She was married at the time to Sony Music CEO, Tommy Mottola.
Mottola was 25 years older than her, and the marriage lasted five years. In her book, she alleges that their mansion was full of surveillance equipment that monitored her every move. She writes: “I created the fun and free girl in my videos so that I could watch a version of myself be alive, live vicariously through her – the girl I pretended to be, the girl I wished was me.”
Nevertheless, Mariah is able to curate her perfect holidays now. As she writes in her autobiography: “I live Christmas to Christmas”.