Mariah Carey: Your Classic Hypergamous Diva

With Mariah Carey’s engagement to Australian businessman billionaire James Packer last January 21, all the world sees now – aside from her ginormous engagement ring – is how she’s definitely marrying up.

Carey constantly gushes about her new fiancée. She calls him an “exceptional person” and says that there is really nothing else she could ask for at this point in her life. Recently, the famous hitmaker cemented her hypergamous tendencies with a new engagement.

Before detailing her previous marriages, it is quite helpful to understand how Mariah Carey can be characterized as hypergamous.

Hypergamy has been practiced all throughout history, notably in India, modern and Imperial China, Ancient Greece, and even during the Ottoman Empire and feudal Europe. By definition, hypergamy is a term that is used to describe the act of marrying someone who is far wealthier or of a higher social status. To put it simply and to fit modern times, hypergamy is when someone decides to “marry up.”

Prior to the businessman billionaire, the “Hero” singer was first married to music executive Tommy Mottola back in the 1990s. He was head of Sony Music Entertainment for nearly 15 years and is now co-owner of Casablanca Records, a joint venture with the Universal Music Group. His music mogul status was certainly a big plus for young Mariah Carey back in 1993, when they tied the knot.

With the end of her first marriage, the singer became hot news once again in 2008 when she married Nick Cannon. Their Bahamas wedding wasn’t the main thing people talked about, but rather the glaring age gap between the two former lovebirds. With Mariah more than 10 years older than Nick, questions of compatibility were put on pause after announcements of the diva’s pregnancy went public. Her marriage to Nick could be seen as a step down from her first marriage, but after getting pregnant to the much younger actor/comedian, people speculated that she had a case of “ticking biological clock” and simply had baby rabies. After six years of marriage and twin babies, the couple split up in a not-so-amicable divorce.

The diva seems to be back to her old ways of marrying up, especially after her constant gushing about her £8 million engagement ring. In one of Mariah’s interviews, she happily talked about how amazing the engagement is and that she is overwhelmed with excitement.

It is hard to think of the 45-year-old diva as one who marries for money or social status, since she has more than enough of both. As such, it is important to note that she has successfully put out hits since 1990 and made quite a name for herself as well.

Mariah’s hypergamous inclinations can be looked at from beyond the money and fame. In reality, hypergamy is also deeply rooted to the very nature of sexuality. It can come from something one finds attractive in men from a psychosexual standpoint.

For Mariah Carey, James Packer and his businessman mogul status can translate into some form of superiority or male dominance that she finds attractive. That fact that he is also a billionaire could just be an added bonus. Either way, her 35-carat diamond engagement ring and the idea of walking down the aisle again in a splendid dress could be what’s making her giddy nowadays.

Amid this happy engagement news, a pressing issue right now for this mother-of-two is reassuring her 4-year-old twins with former husband Nick Cannon of this new change in her personal life. She’s been quoted as saying that she has tried talking to Moroccan and Monroe about her new husband-to-be, but since they’re still very young, all she can do right now is reassure them that their lives are not going to change.

[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]