Mariah Carey, who plays the mother of the title character in "Lee Daniels' The Butler," says a scene in which a black woman in 1960 is spit on by a racist stirred up strong memories of a similar incident while growing up as a biracial child on Long Island.
The music star -- whose white Irish-American mother and African-American/Venezuelan father divorced when she was 3 -- said at the movie's Manhattan news conference this week, "That actually happened to me."
In the movie, a black college student played by Yaya Alafia is spit on by a white woman in North Carolina during a Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in.
As Yahoo! Movies reported, Carey, 44, who was raised in Greenlawn, told reporters, "I know people would be in shock and not really want to believe or accept that, but it did . . . That right there, that was almost the deepest thing to me in the movie because I know what she went through -- and it happened to be a bus as well. It was a school bus."
"Where somebody spit on you?" asked fellow panelist Oprah Winfrey, who stars as the wife of Forest Whitaker's title character, Cecil Gaines, a White House butler based on the real-life Eugene Allen.
"Yeah. In the face and in the same way," Carey replied.
Carey did not specify if the incident occurred when she was attending Oldfield Middle School or Harborfields High School. Her representative did not respond to a Newsday request for comment.
In the film, being released next Friday, Carey plays Hattie Pearl, a sexually abused Georgia sharecropper who is the mother of Whitaker's character as a child.