I wish my sister Mariah would help me mend wounds
The twins turned one last month but their auntie - who looked the spitting image of her "baby sister" - has never had contact with them. The sisters used to be close but had a huge falling out in 1994. Mariah and their mother Patricia fought Alison for custody of her seven-year-old son Michael, claiming he was at risk in the care of his drug-addict mother.
Alison, who is HIV positive, admits she has worked as a prostitute on the streets of New York for many years - and adds that she used money from punters to pay for her sister's food and rent when their family was struggling. Now she insists she has got her life back on track, has been clean and sober for four months and has just started a job as a housekeeper.
Last night she begged Mariah, 42: "Please just call me." Mother-of-four Alison, 50, said: "I want to reach out to my sister and tell her how much I miss her and how proud I am that we are family. We may be apart now, and it has been many years since we last spoke. But to me, despite all the bad times and the arguments, she will always be my baby sister. I still remember when she was a little girl - just as beautiful as she is now. It has been incredible watching Mariah grow and blossom into a successful, independent woman with the world at her feet."
"I cannot put into words how moved I was to see pictures of my niece and nephew for the first time. I saw photographs of them on the television just after they were born and I saw more when they turned one recently. They are absolutely adorable. And when I look into their eyes I see my sister's eyes shining right back at me - the eyes I used to stare into when I would hold her as a baby."
"I am sure Mariah is going to be a fantastic mother and her husband Nick Cannon, who I've heard nothing but good things about, will be a great father. I just wish Mariah would let me be her sister again and a proper auntie to her children. I know we have had so many problems over the years, but I want to reach out to her in the hope that we can make peace and mend the wounds that have torn our family apart."
Mariah, now 42, Alison and their brother Morgan, 51, had a tough childhood growing up in a stormy, dysfunctional household in the predominantly white suburb of Huntington, New York, where they suffered racial abuse because of their mixed ethnicity. The star's maternal grandparents moved to America from Ireland. When Patricia started dating their father Alfred Roy, who was of African-American and Venezuelan descent, her family disowned her.
Mariah's parents divorced when she was three. The future pop star went to stay with her mother - a vocal coach and occasional opera singer - while Alison lived with their father, an aeronautical engineer. Times were tough for both girls but Alison says her father was a great man who loved her. According to Alison, Mariah suffered emotional turmoil while she was growing up too.
She said: "It still hurts me to think about how much pain Mariah was in. Things were not always as stable at home as they should have been. Mariah would sometimes be left on her own for hours when she was just a little girl. It sends shivers of regret down my spine to think how much chaos there was."
Alison - who inherited her mother's voice and had her own ambitions to be a star - says the pain of her childhood pushed her into prostitution as a teenager. For Mariah, her ordeal made her determined to make it big in showbiz. Alison says: "When Mariah did not have food, it was me who came and filled up her fridge. When she did not have clean clothes, I would pay for her laundry. Mariah and our mother were so broke once they got kicked out of their apartment. I paid for a new place. I also rented the vintage Rolls-Royce that took Mariah to her first audition aged 16 or 17."
Mariah and her sister's first major falling out in 1994 came just as the star released what went on to be the best selling Christmas album ever, Merry Christmas. As Patricia fought Alison for custody of her son Michael, Alison went on national television and alleged her mum had kidnapped him. She begged Mariah to take her side but she refused. Mariah's friends say she has done everything she can over the years to get Alison clean and off the game, but eventually gave up. Her sister counters that Mariah has battled her own demons too.
She said: "I still worry about Mariah, to be honest. After her breakdown in 2001 she had a big falling out with our mother. I'm not sure how close Mariah is to our mother any more, but she is still very defensive of her for some reason."
Mariah vowed to reconcile with Alison at her father's deathbed in 2002, as he lay dying from cancer. But Alison said: "She has never met that promise. I last spoke to Mariah four years ago when she called me on New Year's Eve. But since then I have not been able to speak to her. I reached out to Mariah last year when a doctor told me I had liver cancer and only four months left to live. A relative told me Mariah decided she wanted to reconcile and she would pay for my treatment. But I never heard from her. It turned out to be nothing more than a gallstone. But it would have been nice if my sister had been there for me."
Fighting back tears, Alison added: "I've had my problems over the years but I want to tell Mariah I have been clean and sober for four months now and I am absolutely determined to keep my life on track. I really want our family to be together again, and watch my children playing with hers. If I had a message it would be, 'Just call me'."
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