As the fragile diva enjoys her biggest success in years with "The Emancipation of Mimi," she's become the butt of a running gag on Eminem's Anger Management tour.
The New York Post says Mariah is "angry and hurt" that Em has been playing personal voicemails she supposedly left for him a few years back, when they were still on friendly terms. Just how peeved is the chanteuse? She's thinking about siccing her legal pitbulls on the problem.
In the biting onstage bit, the butt-baring rapper reportedly pretends to chew out the DJ when Carey's "We Belong Together" begins to play as he's chatting up the crowd. Soon, Mariah's purported messages cue up.
"I heard you were getting back with your ex-wife," a Mariah-esque voice says. "Why won't you see me? Why won't you call me? You're not calling me ... "
Eminem, always a master of subtlety, then feigns tossing his cookies into a handy onstage toilet before he starts into his moving number, "Puke."
According to the paper, the chart-toppers' long-simmering animosity can be traced back to 2001, when Mariah got in touch with Eminem to work his magic on her "Charmbracelet" album. He later hinted this led to schmoochies; she has adamantly denied they were involved.
When asked by Rolling Stone in 2002 whether they were "almost boyfriend-girlfriend," the erstwhile Marshall Mathers conceded, "There's truth to that ... but on the whole personal level, I'm not really feeling it. I just don't like her as a person. I gotta be honest; I learned a lesson from it: Don't believe the hype. I have respect for her, but she doesn't really have it all together. I'll just say that and that she's a beautiful woman."
A year after this attack, the pop powerhouse was chagrined to learn Eminem was thinking about sampling her voicemails in a song (his rep denied it). "I don't know what the hell he's doing," she complained to the New York Daily News at the time. "It's a little excessive ... If somebody has nothing better to do than sit around listening to old phone messages, I'm a little concerned about that."
Now, with this latest salvo, Mariah is taking aim with the best weapons at her disposal, namely an anonymous friend and a paid mouthpiece.
"First of all, that is not her voice on the 'messages' played in the concert -- it is an imposter!" a Carey insider rails to the paper. "She is considering suing him for defamation. They did hang out, but it was Eminem who followed heraround ... She never slept with him and he felt rejected and scorned and got very angry."
Mariah's manager, Benny Medina, is slightly more diplomatic, although he hits Em where it hurts, telling the Post, "While we appreciate Eminem as an artist, lately his work has seemed tasteless and unnecessarily mean-spirited. The public seems to agree -- just look at his declining record and concert-ticket sales."
Eminem's ticket sales, by the by, took a major hit on Tuesday, when it was announced he was ditching the dates on the European leg of his tour due to "exhaustion, complicated by other medical issues." Something tells us he won't be getting a "get well soon" card from the big-lunged singer.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of "issues," Mariah had more than a few when she was married to music mogul Tommy Mottola. She tells the September issue of Allure that she used to daydream about being spirited away from her sheltered existence -- and she didn't much care by whom.
"I used to fantasize about that," she admits to the magazine. "A lot. I used to think that maybe there could be a kidnapper who could rescue me, and he wouldn't be that mean. I'd have my pocketbook with me at all times in case I had to make an escape."