An Emotional Mariah Carey Watches 'Glitter' Alongside Her Fans

Singer makes first public appearance since her breakdown.

LOS ANGELES — A smiling but teary-eyed Mariah Carey made

her first public appearance since suffering an emotional breakdown in July

to watch a screening of her Hollywood debut, "Glitter," with her fans

Thursday night.

For Carey, who arrived at Westwood's Village Theatre in jeans and a black

tank top adorned with an American flag, it was a form of therapy — not for

her personal troubles, but for the heartache she shares with her fans in the

wake of last week's terrorist attacks.

"My fans have gotten me through all my personal little issues, and I want to

give them back, even if it's just for tonight, a few minutes of peace," she

said as she made her way into the venue. "Definitely every American is

grieving in their own way, so I'm just happy to be here." In between

interviews, Carey stopped to autograph copies of the film's soundtrack and

pose for pictures with fans.

Looking beautiful and rested, the singer spoke about her problems in a

"such-is-life" tone, saying she simply needed a break from a merciless

schedule. "I was exhausted, I needed to rest," said Carey, who underwent

psychiatric care for what her publicist termed a physical and emotional

breakdown. "I tend to work myself to the ground like a superhero. And guess

what? I'm human, so you can't do that. But it really required me

acknowledging that. There was nobody to tell me to stop working."

"Glitter," which opens nationwide this weekend, stars Carey as a singer

named Billie who achieves pop stardom but struggles with the abandonment of

her past, a shaky love affair with her producer and the pitfalls of success

(see "Mariah Does Milli Vanilli Thing, Cries, Finds Love In 'Glitter'

Flick").

Inside the theatre, Carey sat in the center section flanked by security

guards and handlers. Fellow movie-goers, who had won tickets through Los

Angeles radio station Power 106, regularly erupted into cheers, from the

moment Carey's name appeared in the opening credits to her character's final

performance at New York's Madison Square Garden. At one point, when Billie's

boyfriend asks her, "Do you think because you swing your ass onstage and

hit a couple high notes that makes you some kind of colossal success?,"

audience members answered with a resounding, "Yes!"

Carey said she hopes the mostly light-hearted "Glitter" will provide

movie-goers an emotional escape during this time of turmoil. "But obviously

nothing can overshadow the events that have gone on, and I need to stay

focused on that," she said.

The singer will return to the stage for the first time since her

hospitalization for the star-powered benefit show "America: A Tribute to

Heroes" on Friday (September 21), joining such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and Faith Hill (see "Mariah Carey To Resurface For 'America' TV Tribute").

"It's so difficult because everybody's been affected by this tragedy in a

different way," Carey, who will sing "Hero" at the telethon, said. "I'm not

a politician, but I would just say that my heart goes out to anybody that's

been affected, all the victims and everybody in this country, because we're

trying to come together as a nation and really be strong and it's hard, it's

not an easy task."

Friday's commercial-free event, set to air simultaneously on several

networks, will raise money for long-term relief efforts benefiting those

directly affected by the attacks.

"I hope [it] will create even more unity," Carey said. "The most important

thing is to stay positive ... We can all do our part."

The soundtrack to "Glitter" will debut on next week's Billboard 200 albums

chart at #7 (see "Jay-Z's Dynasty Continues As Blueprint Debuts At #1").

For a full interview with Mariah Carey, check out the feature "Mariah Carey: Under Pressure".