A Preview of Barbara Walters' Oscar Special


Carey's closet is bigger than most people's living rooms and still, Mariah says she has nothing to wear.

Through another door, it gets personal, where a "memory room" holds Carey's life in photos.

Inside are memories of a mother disowned by her family for marrying a black man. Memories of her parents' divorce and a life of transience and turmoil. Living in an interracial family caused a lot of the turmoil in her childhood, she says. Mariah's older sister was a prostitute and although Mariah wasn't supposed to know about it, she says she did.

"I wasn't supposed to know things that were going on -- ever -- in my childhood," Mariah says. "But I was inquisitive, and I was intelligent, and I knew. I knew things that I wasn't necessarily supposed to know."

The fireplace in her special room is from her own divorce; it's the only piece she kept from her marriage to Tommy Mottola. He was her boss, her mentor and, eventually, her husband. When their marriage was finished, many believed she was too.

Carey hasn't spoken to Mottola since the breakup. But she says she has learned one important life lesson from the relationship: forgiveness.

"I have had to learn that forgiveness is one of the most important things in life," Carey says. "And so, you know, I hope that he forgives me for anything that I did that hurt him. And I forgive him." But Carey's wildly successful latest album, "The Emancipation of Mimi," is the validation of her talent.

It was last year's best-selling CD -- six times platinum and, for the record, Carey just tied Elvis with 17 No. 1 singles.

To that she has added three Grammys and a performance at the recent ceremony that's being called one of the greatest of her career.

Carey tells Walters she was happy with her Grammys, even though she did not win for album of the year or song of the year.

"You know, it actually means more to me to win the R&B category," Carey says. "I promise you, I am not lying to you. Yes, of course I wanted album of the year. Who didn't want that? And I felt I deserved it. Yeah, that would have been great. But you know what? I am blessed to have gotten the three that I got."

Five years ago, Carey was in a more difficult place. She had an emotional meltdown and went into rehab for a couple of weeks.

"It was a long, long time of being exhausted, and finally just having the straw that broke the camel's back come in and break it," she says.

Carey says she had to hit bottom in order to remind herself of what was important to her.

"What matters is, I am blessed with a gift to make music," Carey says.

As bad as it got for Mariah, she says she never considered suicide. Most of all, she says, she is a survivor.

And the success of her album is even sweeter because of her setbacks. In fact, she says, her CD could just as well have been called, "The Vindication of Mariah Carey."

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