Singing sensation Mariah Carey is no longer afraid of bad publicity - she even 'joked' about her diva reputation on an MTV show by working out in a pair of stilettos.

The misunderstood popstar claims the CRIBS wind-up, which backfired by compounding her high-maintenance image, demonstrates her new-found confidence with the media.

She says, "It was like 'And here I am on my exercise bike!' I guess I just expect people to know it's a frigging joke."

The Hero hitmaker admits her mischievous personality has taken time to shine through, blaming ex-husband Tommy Mottola for stifling her real character.

Carey says, "I'm a very campy person, but for a long time in my career none of my true personality ever came out.

"In my former life, as a married person, I was intimidated - I was taught, don't trust the press, says as little as possible and don't be yourself.

"Consequently, I was viewed as a one-dimensional person, so I understand it when people have perceptions about who I am."