Speaking about Mariah Carey for the first time since they called off the engagement, James Packer has confessed their relationship was ‘a mistake’.
The Aussie casino mogul says he began dating the songstress during a low point in his life when he was in over $5 billion of debt and looking for ways to embed himself in the US, where his ex-wife Erica and three kids live.
“I was at a low point in my personal life,” Packer, 50, says in a candid interview with the Weekend Australian.
“She was kind, exciting and fun. Mariah is a woman of substance. She is very bright. But it was a mistake for her and a mistake for me.”
He goes on to explain that at the time he was trying to build business ties in the US because he was missing his kids and ‘terrified’ of the immense amount of debt he’d racked up.
According to his figures, Crown Casinos were over $3 billion in debt while his private company Consolidated Press Holdings had racked up $2.3 billion worth of debt.
To add to Packer’s troubles, his Crown Towers hotel in Macau – which the company has since pulled out of – was also struggling.
“I was terrified,” he says.
“Then a year later I've got China falling apart, the Australian casino businesses missing budgets by big amounts, I've got Mariah breaking up with me and I'm thinking 'f...'.”
He appears to be referring to October 2016 when Crown casino staff were arrested in China. It was the same month he and Carey broke off their engagement.
The unlikely couple first made their romance official when they were seen holidaying on his super yacht in the south of Italy back in 2015, and less than a year later he had proposed with a diamond ring reportedly worth $10 million.
Packer had been engaged three times before; to his first and second wives Jodhi Meares and Erica Packer, and to former model Kate Fischer, who is now known as Tziporah Malkah.