01/23/2002 at 01:00 AM EST
Mariah Carey, 32, was bought out of her EMI record company contract on Wednesday with a $28 million paycheck, reports Reuters. The London-based music conglomerate could no longer justify her high price after a financially sour year for the company and poor sales of her first album on EMI's Virgin label, "Glitter." News of a pending buy-out had broken on Dec. 27 of last year, but was quickly followed by a firm denial by a spokesman for the company. "EMI wishes to make clear that it has made no such payment or agreement," the company said in a statement released Jan. 7. Carey, 32, had been signed only last spring to a Virgin contract that was said to be worth in the neighborhood of $80 million for four albums. However, "Glitter," failed to cover the massive marketing and video costs that were demanded in her contract, Reuters reports. In the 90s, Carey, then recording for Sony (where her then-husband, Tommy Mottola, remains in charge), was the top-selling female singer, with more than 140 million albums and singles sold. Yet on July 25, barely a month before the September release of her first starring movie, "Glitter," and an accompanying CD, Carey was admitted to a Westchester County, N.Y., hospital suffering from what her publicist, Cindi Berger, called "an emotional and physical breakdown." The movie's premiere was subsequently postponed, though it quickly faded from view once it did open.