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Tommy Mottola unapologetic about 'obsessive' mentoring of Mariah Carey

11:40 AM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) - There are many elements that go into the making of a superstar, and with a talent like Mariah Carey's, some special handling is often needed. In the case of Tommy Mottola, the former Sony Music Entertainment executive who mentored the current "American Idol" judge as she rose up the charts, that included marrying her.

Their five-year union was rocky, and she's since been quoted as calling him "controlling" and "a Svengali." But Mottola, who joined TODAY's Matt Lauer Tuesday to discuss his new book "Hitmaker: The Man and His Music," was not exactly apologetic about his behavior, because it got results.

"I think anybody that's successful becomes obsessive about what they're trying to succeed at," he said. "I have nothing but the greatest respect for her in the world.... I feel great about all the things she's achieved as a result of all the work that we did."

That said, he does regret getting personally involved with Carey, who at 23 was 20 years his junior when they wed. "You can never control sometimes what happens in your personal life, as we all know," he said. "The good thing that came out of all of this is that she became one of the most successful superstars in the world."

Mottola also worked with other stars who had diva tendencies, including Michael Jackson -- who he called "the most talented artist that I've probably ever worked with," but "there were too many people who didn't tell him the things that probably would have helped him."

And because he's been associated with such great names throughout the music business, Lauer naturally wanted to get Mottola's opinion on the Beyonce lip-syncing pseudo-scandal. For her, Mottola was unequivocal: "Beyonce is one of the greatest singers in the world, and my feeling is, any time that she wants to get up and sing, she can sing as well if not better than anyone, and everyone should just leave Beyonce alone!"

By Randee Dawn, TODAY contributor

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