Mariah Carey says miscarriage happened after Ellen DeGeneres needled her about pregnancy

Martha Ross
Mercury News

Mariah Carey shares in a new interview that “be kind” advocate Ellen DeGeneres violated the common courtesy and “empathy” that’s granted to women who worry about miscarriage in the early months of their pregnancies.

This courtesy acknowledges that many pregnant women are reluctant to share their news until they reach their second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage falls.

Carey, 50, told Vulture that DeGeneres left her feeling “extremely uncomfortable” when she needled the singer to prematurely reveal her pregnancy on her nationally televised talk show in 2008. Carey said her discomfort was due to the fact that the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage soon after her appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

“I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say,” Carey said in an interview with Vulture. “And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath.”

Mariah Carey

While DeGeneres has enjoyed a reputation of being extremely solicitous towards celebrities, she nonetheless pushed Carey to confirm or deny tabloid rumors that she and then-husband Nick Cannon were expecting.

Carey tried to laughed off the questions and change the subject, but DeGeneres persisted. She tried to push Carey to say she was pregnant by offering her a glass of champagne.

“I can’t believe you did this to me, Ellen,” Mariah said at the time. “This is peer pressure. What Ellen is doing, this is peer pressure.”

“Let’s toast to you not being pregnant,” Ellen replied. Carey took a very small sip of the sparkling wine, which prompted DeGeneres to say, “You’re pregnant!”

Carey confirmed that she was pregnant at the time of the interview, but miscarried soon after, People reported.

“I wasn’t ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage,” Carey told Vulture.

Three years later, Carey and Cannon became parents to twins Monroe and Moroccan, now 9, in 2011.

Carey alluded to DeGeneres’s current troubles when she explained to Vulture: “I don’t want to throw anyone that’s already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn’t enjoy that moment.”

DeGeneres, 62, is fighting for the future of her talk show and her reputation. Over the past couple months, multiple employees have alleged in news reports that her eponymous show fostered a toxic work culture, rife with sexual misconduct, racist incidents and demeaning treatment of employees, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. These allegations gained traction due to longstanding rumors that DeGeneres is not really the nice, generous person her “be kind” facade would have people believe.

The employees offered different takes on the extent to which DeGeneres herself was complicit. DeGeneres has professed ignorance of any malfeasance and has apologized in an email and a virtual meeting with employees – details of which have been leaked to the media, but critics have called DeGeneres’ apologies insincere and unconvincing because she didn’t fully accept responsibility for her own behavior or what was happening behind-the-scenes on the show bearing her name.

Atlantic writer Spencer Kornhaber wrote that DeGeneres’ cultivated “niceness” may make it difficult for her to overcome the scandal. Certainly, there is nothing new in the idea that a popular TV star is rude to staff or presides over a problematic workplace, but DeGeneres “may be held to a different standard than other entertainers.”

Kornhaber noted that DeGeneres has long shown a tendency to needle her celebrity guests with mockery on her talk show. She also hounds guests – including Carey – for personal details they’re not willing to give. It appears that this is DeGeneres’ way of showing that she has a “healthy irreverence” for her guests’ fame. But these instances have also led to awkward moments that have gone viral in recent months.

“To look back over her career now is to wonder whether the secret, bitter ingredient in her success has been revealed,” Korhaber continued.

Carey told Vulture that she wished DeGeneres had employed her famous “empathy” with her when she was on her show. “But what am I supposed to do?” Carey said. “It’s like, ‘What are you going to do?’”