The 50-year-old singer started seeing baseball star Jeter while she was still married to Tommy Mottola, 71, who was the music executive who first discovered her.
Mariah has spoken out on an upcoming edition of Oprah Conversations in which she said that some of her songs were even inspired by her secret relationship with Jeter.
She continued: “We met and I’ve written songs about it, and honestly, I don’t think it was like: ‘Oh my gosh, he was the love of my li-‘ like, at the time I did, because I didn’t think I would ever meet anybody who wouldn’t, what’s the word?
“Not look down on, but feel superior to me for – because of the fact that I’m not one way or the other in most people’s minds, and they have preconceived notions, whatever.”
Speaking about how it affected her marriage, Mariah added: “But he was a catalyst, and I think that it was beautiful, and his family was a healthy family and they changed my viewpoint that: ‘Oh, it’s because of the biracial situation that my family’s so screwed up,’ as opposed to: ‘It’s them.”
Mariah said that the exposure she got to another world helped her. She said: “Yes, those things did play a huge part in their dysfunction, but it was healthy for me to see a functional family, that, you know, basically kind of looked like mine but didn’t feel like mine.