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Mariah Carey calls Derek Jeter a 'catalyst' for leaving Tommy Mottola

Mariah Carey's interview with Oprah Winfrey comes before

Mariah Carey's interview with Oprah Winfrey comes before the release of her memoir, "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," on Sept. 29. Credit: Getty Images / Jamie McCarthy

In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, singer Mariah Carey says that Yankees great Derek Jeter was a "catalyst" who played into her decision to divorce her first husband, record producer Tommy Mottola.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's release of her memoir, "The Meaning of Mariah Carey," the Huntington-born and Greenlawn-raised Grammy Award winner told Winfrey that she and Jeter connected on many levels.

"He was a catalyst that helped me get out of that relationship because I believed that there was somebody else." Carey, who is biracial, said their similar ethnic backgrounds played a role in their relationship.

"It was the racial situation, his mom is Irish, his dad is Black. But he was also very ambiguous looking to me. I didn't know who he was. We met and I've written songs about it," she said in a preview clip of the interview, which kicks off the Apple TV Plus series "The Oprah Conversation" on Thursday.

"And honestly," Carey continued, "I don't think it was like, 'Oh my gosh, he was the love of my life.' Like, at the time I did, because I didn't think I would ever meet anybody who wouldn't — what's the word? I used the word, I just thought about this last night. Not looked down on but feel superior to me because of the fact that I'm not one way or another in most people's minds, and they have preconceived notions, whatever."

Carey, 51, also said that she was heartened by the "healthy" and "functional" dynamics of Jeter's family. "And they changed my viewpoint that 'Oh, it's because of the biracial situation that my family is so screwed up,' as opposed to 'it's them.' And yes, those things did play a huge part in their dysfunction," she said. "But it was healthy for me to see a functional family that basically kind of looked like mine, but didn't feel like mine."

At the end of the clip, Carey said that she and Jeter were also doing their dream jobs: "I believe we connected in that way."

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