LOS ANGELES • Superstar singer Mariah Carey has lived "in constant fear that someone would expose me", so she has decided to own up that, in 2001, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In an interview with People magazine, she explained why she had kept the diagnosis a secret. "I didn't want to carry around the stigma of a life-long disease that would define me and potentially end my career.
"I was so terrified of losing everything," added the 48-year-old.
Carey, who said she had lived in "denial and isolation", is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, a disease that can cause sudden and extreme shifts in mood, among other symptoms.
She was a teenager in the late 1980s, when she was recruited by Mr Tommy Mottola, president of what was then CBS Records.
Her fame came swiftly, placing huge pressure on her from the beginning.
Her debut album was nominated for four Grammys in 1991. She won two awards that year, including for Best New Artist.
By 2000, Billboard had crowned her artist of the decade.
The latter half of her career has been marked by inconsistent performances and a string of high-profile relationships that has been obsessively covered by the tabloids.
Carey told People that she had decided to open up partly on behalf of others who might be suffering.
"I'm hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone," she said.
"It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."