By 2001, Mariah Carey‘s star was so big it was destined to burst, but who knew the diva would spur her own implosion?! Maybe the endless #1 hits drove her mad, or her divorce from Tommy Mottola. Maybe her heels were just too high that day. Regardless, Mimi showed up on MTV’s TRL in July 2001 pushing an ice-cream cart — and managed to be the only thing to melt down.
Sporting little more than a T-shirt, Mariah handed out popsicles to the baffled crowd as she began a bizarre striptease (supposedly to promote her soon-to-be flop film Glitter), yanking off her tee to reveal a skimpy tank and booty shorts. “I just want one day off when I can go swimming and eat ice cream and look at rainbows,” she slurred as she sexed up the teenaged crowd. She followed this strange display with rambling voicemails on her website revealing she was “a little too paranoid about life. … What I’d like to do is just a take a little break or at least get one night of sleep … guess what, I don’t take care of myself.” Later that month she got her wish when she was hospitalized for “exhaustion.” After switching labels and taking some time off, Mariah reclaimed her status with the hit albums The Emancipation of Mimi and E=MC2 and her marriage to the much-younger hottie Nick Cannon — proving in the end that a little bit of craziness never hurts.
In 2007, she opened up about her ordeal, telling Interview, “I consider the breakdown a breakthrough. I needed to hit rock bottom. … But was I out of control at that moment? Yes.”