The Real Reason Behind Mariah Carey And Jennifer Lopez's Decades-Long Feud

Photo: Tinseltown / Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock
Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez

If you remember that infamous meme of Mariah Carey telling an interviewer, “I don’t know her” when asked about a certain celebrity you'll know that Carey is no stranger to drama.  

However, what you might have forgotten is that Carey was actually talking about Jennifer Lopez, leading many people to hone in on the two pop stars' apparent beef.

The feud between Carey and Lopez dates back to the 90s when both singers were just coming into their careers, and to this day the two women have not reconciled.

During that infamous early-2000s interview, Carey was asked to give her opinion on other female singers in the industry with her.

After saying Beyoncé as “nice” and “a good writer,” the “It’s Like That” singer was then asked her opinion on Lopez to which she gave the infamous quote of “I don’t know her.”

In Carey’s 2020 memoir, ‘The Meaning of Mariah Carey’ she alludes to her long-time feud with Lopez, never mentioning her by name in the book.

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Instead, Carey refers to Lopez as “another female entertainer on [Sony] whom I don’t know.”

Why does Mariah Carey dislike Jennifer Lopez? 

It turns out that the root of the two singers’ beef starts with Mariah Carey’s ex-husband, Tommy Mottola.

In her memoir, Carey reveals that she had been working on the film "Glitter" when she had secured a sample from Yellow Magic Orchestra's 1978 song "Firecracker," which she was going to use for her single, "Loverboy."

Mottola, who had been the head of Sony Music at the time and seemingly bitter over his and Carey’s messy divorce, heard about the sample being used in the new song and took action.

Tommy Mottola allegedly tried to give the sample Mariah Carey used to Jennifer Lopez.

“After hearing my new song, using the same sample I used, Sony rushed to make a single for another female entertainer on their label (whom I don't know)," Carey wrote.

If that wasn’t a snub to Lopez, Carey went even further, dropping more shade that had fans absolutely positive Carey was referring to Jennifer Lopez.

“After all that s**t, 'Loverboy' ended up being the best-selling single of 2001 in the United States,” Carey stated. “I'm real.”

Mariah Carey has taken several swipes at JLo.

The feud only seemed to continue on Carey’s end during a 2002 appearance on "Larry King Live," in which King asks Carey if there are any conflicts in the industry, and then between her and Lopez.

“There are rivalries, but I don't think she has anything to do with me,” Carey admitted. 

“My whole thing is singing, writing songs ... I've been doing this my whole life, singing is first and foremost. It's a God-given talent that I'm grateful for. Her thing is something different,” she continued, referring to Jennifer Lopez.

Jennifer Lopez has also addressed her feud with Mariah Carey.

During an appearance on ‘Watch What Happens Live’ Andy Cohen directly asked Lopez if she had any problems with the ‘All I Want For Christmas Is For You’ singer.

“I don't have a feud against her at all. I know from back in the day, I've read things that she's said about me that were not the greatest. But we have never met. We don’t know each other,” Lopez clarified.

Lopez was even a bit hopeful that she’d get to meet Carey, saying, “I would love to meet her and I would love to be friends with her.”

Though, it seemed maybe Lopez was still a bit bitter as fans caught the “Let’s Get Loud” singer scrolling casually on her phone while Mariah Carey was performing at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.

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In 2015, while promoting her film ‘The Boy Next Door,’ Lopez made an appearance on ‘Watch What Happens Live’ in which she played a game of Plead The Fifth with Andy Cohen.

At the time, rumors had started of Lopez potentially getting her own residency in Las Vegas, joining Britney Spears, Celine Dion, and Shania Twain, who were also performing in Vegas through their own residencies.

When asked which singer she’d go watch if she only had one night in Vegas, Mariah Carey or Britney Spears, Lopez quickly answered, “Britney, [because] she dances.”

It’s a simple and rather innocent answer, but knowing the feud that pertains between the two, it’s hard not to read between the lines.

Jennifer Lopez called Mariah Carey ‘forgetful’ during an interview.

While doing an interview on ‘The Wendy Williams Show,’ Lopez had been casually listing off all of the performers she had watched in Vegas prior to getting her residency.

The singer noted that she had watched Britney Spears, Shania Twain, “and a bunch of [other] shows.” 

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Lopez made a comment that Mariah Carey wasn’t performing at the time to which Williams interjected, “who?” 

It was seemingly a jab at the “I don’t know her" moment and Lopez laughed it off, joking, “She does say that. She’s forgetful, I guess. I don’t know. We’ve met many times.”

Mariah Carey seemed to catch wind of this comment because during an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live" and addresses the incident.

“Apparently, I'm forgetful because I don't remember the fact that it was just, 'Hi, I'm so and so,' and then move on,” Carey said, explaining that her interactions with Lopez have been brief.

During a moment in 2016, TMZ caught Carey coming out of a hotel in which she was in the middle of signing an autograph for a fan when she was asked about the infamous “I don’t know her” quote.

“I still don’t know her,” Carey responded before walking to her SUV.

It was in a 2018 interview with Pitchfork that Carey gave a bit more insight into the comment, saying she had been trying to appear nice.

“I really was trying to say something nice or say nothing at all. I really was,” Carey insisted.

It seems that there is nothing that can be done that can bring a reconciliation between Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey.

At this point we’re all just waiting for JLo’s tell-all book to hear her side of the long-standing feud.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.