How old is Mariah Carey? You probably don't know, which is normal. What's not normal is that no one else does, either. Google it -- you'll only find a deep rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, Freedom of Information Act requests, and dodgy answers from her publicist. Even Wikipedia lists her birth year as "1969" or "1970," depending on the edit, and you'd better believe there's a heated talk page about it.
It's not like she started lying about her age as she got older -- that would be easy to verify since she's been in the public eye since she was barely out of high school. Even then, publicity materials from her record label were consistent with a 1970 birth year. Still, some magazines reported her as being 21 in January 1991, which would place her birth squarely in the year of Woodstock. As a terrifyingly in-depth Yahoo! report points out, Carey's team had every reason to age her up at that point, as she'd very publicly begun dating the much older head of her label. Maybe they started backtracking? In a 1994 interview, she stumbles when she talks about her age even though her answer would make her a 1970 baby, which in this scenario would be the truth.
But it goes much deeper, and there's compelling evidence on all sides. Unless she was a supergenius who graduated high school a year early, and by her own account she wasn't ...
... she must have been born in 1969. A supposed photo of her passport and statement from People magazine purporting to have verified her driver's license and school records also support the 1969 hypothesis, but any evidence of People's statement has been lost to time, and many suspect the passport photo is fake. On the other hand, her own mother told Oprah that she was born in 1970, which is also listed as her birth year on her children's birth certificates. This shit goes all the way to the Library of Congress, which lists her early songs as being recorded by "Carey, Mariah (1969-)."
And don't think Carey is going to be any more help; her answers about her age are always vague and extremely Mariah Carey-y nonsense. In 2014, she said, "I don't count years, but I definitely rebuke them -- I have anniversaries, not birthdays, because I celebrate life, darling." What? In 2020, photos of her, um, anniversary cake showed 12 candles because she says she's "eternally 12." When asked directly about her birth year in 2017, her publicist said they were "not sure offhand, sorry," which feels like an important thing for a publicist to know. We probably never will. Yahoo! tried to get copies of her birth, school, and driving records, but apparently, celebrity gossip is "not a good reason" to hand out private legal documents.
Top image: Epic Records, Columbia Records, SKS2K6/Wikimedia Commons