Inside Mariah Carey and Eminem's 20-Year Feud

The longstanding feud between Eminem and Mariah Carey might surprise some fans. From different genres with different fan bases, one could be forgiven for wondering just what these two have to fight about. But an exploration of their history reveals they’ve found plenty to fuel the fire. 

Mariah Carey is a pop legend

Carey is a legendary pop singer whose albums repeatedly racked up top accolades and whose singles climbed the charts again and again.

The star has managed to amass an astounding net worth of around $300 million through her albums, live performances, and even a lucrative breakup. When Carey got engaged to Australian billionaire James Packer, she claimed he made considerable financial promises that he didn’t keep. She asked for $50 million in compensation, and while she didn’t get the whole amount, she did end up with a settlement that helped pad her already substantial earnings. 

Carey’s rise to fame has been punctuated by huge successes and moments of tragedy. A recent memoir shed even more light on some of Carey’s moments of struggle, including her divorces and her childhood. However, there are some significant gaps in Carey’s retelling of her own life. The singer skipped over details about her bipolar disorder diagnosis, most of her marriage to Nick Cannon, and her infamously bad live performance on New Year’s Eve in 2016. 

Her memoir also made no mention of her alleged former relationship with Eminem. 

Eminem is a Detroit-born rapper 

Born Marshall Mathers, Eminem rose to fame in the late 1990s with expletive-laden lyrics that pushed the social envelope while showcasing his creative and verbal talents.

The rapper’s career has seen its ups and downs with many of his private struggles used as inspiration for his own lyrical material — including his fights with his ex and mother of his daughter, who he has even murdered in song. At times, Eminem has faded from the limelight, but he tends to reemerge time and again. 

In 2003, he won an Oscar for his song “Lose Yourself,” but he skipped the ceremony. In 2020, he showed up for a do-over and apologized for being a little late — by close to two decades. While the height of his fame might be behind him, Eminem is one of the richest and most successful rappers in the world, and he continues to make new music and perform live for his significant fan base.

What’s behind Eminem and Mariah Carey’s feud?  

Carey and Eminem may both be musicians, but they operate in different worlds, so what put them at odds with one another? It wasn’t rivalry over the same set of fans — something that has fueled many industry feuds. Instead, it was a he-said, she-said dispute. 

Eminem has said he and Carey dated back in the early 2000s. Carey said that never happened. According to BestLife, Carey went so far as to have a man who is clearly designed to look like Eminem in her video “Obsessed.” The lyrics include the line: “Finally found a girl that you couldn’t impress. Last man on the Earth, still couldn’t get this.” Then, the Eminem lookalike is struck by a bus. Ouch. 

The feud has been going on for nearly two decades, and neither party has swayed from their account of the events. According to Complex, Carey did admit to spending time with the rapper and even showed up by name in his third album. “I hung out with him, I spoke to him on the phone,” she told Larry King. “I think I was probably with him a total of four times. And I don’t consider that dating somebody.”

Maybe it’s just a difference of interpretation, with Eminem seeing their time together as more meaningful than Carey did. But the resulting battle has been brutal. 

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