Mariah Carey reflects on 'extremely uncomfortable' moment on 'Ellen' in 2008

Carey commented on the moment, which has resurfaced on Twitter, in a new interview.
/ Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

There are dozens of reasons a mother-to-be would prefer not to discuss her pregnancy, particularly in front of millions of strangers on TV.

Yet in 2008, there was Mariah Carey, privately pregnant, sitting in front of Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," being coaxed into revealing that she was expecting a child. And as Carey recalls the moment today in New York Magazine, it was "extremely uncomfortable."

In the clip, which recently resurfaced on Twitter but is also available on the "Ellen" archive pages, DeGeneres addresses rumors at the time that the singer was pregnant, urging her to drink champagne to prove everyone wrong.

"I can't believe you did this to me, Ellen," says Carey in the clip. "This is peer pressure. You see what Ellen is doing? This is peer pressure."

"Let's toast to you not being pregnant," DeGeneres answers.

"Oh, my goodness. I can't believe her," Carey says. "Why would we toast to that?"

Eventually, Carey declares that it's "too early" to drink, then mimics taking a small sip of the drink.

"You're pregnant!" DeGeneres exclaims, and Carey denies it.

Mariah Carey and Ellen DeGeneres "share" a tipple on "Ellen" in 2008. Sort of.EllenTube

It's a typical "Ellen" exchange, in which the host tries to get a scoop out of a reluctant celebrity, and even today the show's website paints it with a smile and a wink; the caption for the video reads, "Ellen Can Tell That Mariah Carey's Pregnant" and "Mariah Carey won't respond to pregnancy rumors, but Ellen knows how to get an answer out of her without saying anything."

And it might all have been just an amusing anecdote, except that Carey was pregnant and miscarried shortly after the interview. This, on top of the fact that she'd miscarried in the past, and so was reluctant to speak publicly about a new pregnancy.

Now, 12 years later, Carey — who is promoting her "Rarities" album and forthcoming memoir, "The Meaning of Mariah Carey" — told New York Magazine, "I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say. And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath.

"I wasn't ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage," she continues, then refers to recent headlines in which "Ellen" show workers declared that working there was problematic. "I don't want to throw anyone that's already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn't enjoy that moment."

TODAY has reached out to Ellen's show for comment.

Carey and DeGeneres perform onstage at TNT's "Christmas in Washington 2010."Theo Wargo / WireImage

Asking a woman if she's pregnant is generally frowned upon. There have been some particularly horrible instances in which celebrities were asked about it, and some stars have developed good responses. When a fan asked on social media in June 2019 if Chrissy Teigen was expecting, she wrote back, "I know you didn't mean it to be rude, but think twice about asking this, there are people who have trouble conceiving and it hurts every time. I'm not pregnant but would be happy if I were. But I'm also happy not to be!"

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie responded to that sort of question in 2018 with an Instagram image indicating exactly when someone should ask a woman if she's pregnant (that is, never).

For the record, Teigen is now expecting her third child with husband John Legend. Carey has twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon: Moroccan and Monroe, who were born in 2011. Savannah has two children, Vale, 6, and Charley, 3.

Meanwhile, Carey adds that she hopes the situation simply won't come up again, and if it does, that the questioner thinks about it first. She explains that there's "an empathy that can be applied to those moments that I would have liked to have been implemented. But what am I supposed to do? It's like, (sings) 'What are you going to do?'"