Mariah Carey has traced her family tree, and discovered she is related to Chelsea football star Ashley Cole.

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The singer decided to trace her roots to find out if she was related to White Christmas legend Nat King Cole, but instead found a connection to English defender Ashley.

Mariah said: “It’s fascinating. My grandmother was a Cole before she married and it turns out she comes from the same area of Alabama as Ashley’s ancestors – the Deep South.

“We are still looking into it to see if we’re also related to Nat King Cole. I’m such a huge fan of his. That would be wonderful, and would also explain so much.”

A friend of Ashley’s revealed he is thrilled to hear about the connection, and said: “Ashley is chuffed to bits to hear that they’re related. He’s always been a big fan of Mariah’s, and grew up listening to jazz legends like Nat King Cole.”

Mariah, 37, also revealed she would probably still be with her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola, if he hadn’t been so strict with her.

She said: “I understand him not wanting me to go out and hang out all night, but going to a spa with friends every now and then, or doing things on my own would have made a world of difference. I’d probably still be with him if I had.

“Maybe it’s for my own good that I wasn’t allowed to do those things, but that’s not how it felt – I felt like suddenly I had a strict father.

“I didn’t think I was going to leave forever. Had it been, ‘Go be by yourself, you’ve been with me since you were a kid, let’s separate for a while’, I probably would have.”