Mariah Carey is being sued by her older sister for “emotional distress” stemming from the singer’s 2020 memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey.
Alison Carey’s lawsuit was filed with the New York County supreme court last Monday, and calls for at least $1.25m (£1.1m) in damages. Alison accuses Mariah of “heartless, vicious, vindictive, despicable and totally unnecessary public humiliation” via the book.
The lawsuit adds that Alison, who is representing herself in the legal action, is “severely depressed and uncharacteristically tearful since the publication of defendant’s book and now struggles, after a long time clean, with alcohol abuse”.
Alison is heavily criticised by Mariah in her memoir. She alleges that Alison would “barter her body for money or drugs”; that she drugged a 12-year-old Mariah with Valium, and offered her cocaine; and that she caused Mariah third-degree burns by throwing a cup of boiling tea on to her back. “It took years before I could accept a simple pat on the back, as most of my skin had to completely renew and repair itself,” Mariah writes.
Mariah also recounts being left alone with Alison’s boyfriend when she was 12, who allegedly forces Mariah to kiss him, the incident ending after he is seen by a passerby. “Big sisters are supposed to protect you – not pimp you out,” Mariah writes.
Alison is described as “brilliant and broken … she chose to take up permanent residence in ‘Victimland’. The promise of her life was squandered in a tragic series of cheap bargains rather than being redeemed through the difficult, lifelong work of recovery and rebuilding oneself.”
Alison claims the memoir contains “cruel and outrageous allegations”, and that Mariah “used her status as a public figure to attack her penniless sister, generating sensational headlines describing her lurid claims to promote sales of her book”.
Mariah has not yet responded to the lawsuit. The Guardian has contacted her US representatives for comment.