Surviving the Glare: Prevailing After Scandal

"I never took a break. I never learned how to just put myself before my career. I just didn't," she told my colleagues and me on The View. "You can't do that, you know, with everybody pulling you in different directions … I was exhausted. And sleep-deprived. And that's what happened. And now, I feel better than I've felt, because I finally got a chance to take time from me, and I learned a lesson."

Carey, who voluntarily stepped back into the glare after Sept. 11, realized that her spirit is as extraordinary as her voice. "I think that this happened so that I could see that I don't have to be perfect, that nobody is perfect," she said. "No matter what happens, I can pull through it."

Last winter, Carey went overseas to entertain American troops in Kosovo, and she gave patriotism a new voice with her rendition of the national anthem.

"Music has always been my saving grace," she says. "It's always been what has made me feel special when I didn't feel special or I felt like I didn't belong."

Part of why she felt like an outcast, she says, was because she is the child of a white mother and a black father. "I didn't feel I had anybody to identify with," she told me in a 1998 interview. "I felt like I always had something to prove because of that. I think that's one of the things that made me who I am."

Now 32 and divorced from her former manager, Tommy Mottola, Carey has literally built herself a new life, starting with a new Manhattan apartment. She's now recording the first album under her own record label. And on the movie front, she has moved beyond the disappointments of Glitter. Her new movie, Wise Girls, premiered to excellent reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be seen on HBO in November.

Asked what her ultimate ambition is, she says, "Hopefully, continue to be successful and to find happiness, too. Because I'm still looking for that. And I don't like to say that. Because I don't want to seem ungrateful. I know what I have. But still, inside, I don't feel like there's anyone who necessarily truly and fully understands me or who I can trust completely."

back to top

Greg Louganis

On the diving board, Olympic champion Greg Louganis was absolute perfection. But he was hiding a terrible secret.

Seven years ago, he chose to tell me first on 20/20 that he has AIDS. The news shocked the world — especially because at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, he had hit his head on the diving board, spilling blood into the pool.

In his 1995 autobiography, Louganis details a life of depression, an abusive relationship, and coming to terms with his homosexuality.

"The gold medals are wonderful. It gave me a platform," he says. "But the book, Breaking the Surface, my autobiography, is the thing that I'm most proud of. Because it seemed to make a difference … people said that I saved their lives … Because I was out there and doing, and not giving up."

He retired from diving, but continued living in the glare by pursuing acting, appearing in off-Broadway plays. Now, he is concentrating on another passion: his love of dogs. He teaches agility and obedience classes in California, and he recently wrote a book called For the Life of Your Dog.

His own dogs, he says, helped save his life, by giving him a reason to wake up in the morning, especially when the side effects from his treatments were severe.

"I had to get up and take care of them and feed them. Otherwise," he says, "I would have stayed in bed, pulled the covers over my head."

Louganis is also giving motivational speeches to colleges and corporations. "The primary message," he says, "is to love yourself enough to protect yourselves and those that you're with. Because the growing HIV communities are young people, and what it's coming down to is self-esteem issues."

What he most wants people to know about him, he says, is: "I care. I care about people. I care about animals … As a diver, I want to be remembered as being strong and graceful. As a person I want to be remembered as having made a difference."

back to top

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...