She just turned 36 on Monday, and Mariah Carey has already been celebrated as one of the world's best-selling recording artists. So don't call her latest album, the Grammy-winning The Emancipation of Mimi, a comeback.
Her career is a string of firsts. During the 1990s, the Long Island, N.Y., native created eight smash albums and a string of hit singles, and she also won two Grammy Awards. Carey was the first artist to top the charts in each year of that decade. She beat the Beatles by spending the most cumulative weeks in front of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart — only Elvis has been in the number-one slot longer.
But Carey was less successful in her personal life. After five years of marriage, she split with record mogul Tommy Mottola, the man who helped spark her career. In 2001, Carey's very public emotional breakdown was followed by a professional collapse — her debut movie Glitter, along with the film's soundtrack, were commercial disappointments.
But four years later, the resilient pop diva surprised her critics and thrilled her fans with The Emancipation of Mimi.