Actor/singer Jussie Smollett almost hung up on Mariah Carey the first time he received an unexpected phone call from the superstar.
The Empire star was introduced to Mariah through his show creator and director Lee Daniels, who invited the Hero icon to make a guest appearance in the second season of the hip-hop drama series.
Mariah managed to get hold of Jussie's cell phone number and decided to give him a call prior to her set visit, but the 32 year old was convinced it was just his younger sister, Jurnee, playing a prank on him.
"The first time she (Mariah) called my phone, it was a blocked number and... I picked up the phone, I'm like, 'Hello?'" he recalls to morning show Live! With Kelly and Michael. "(A voice said), 'Darling, it's Mariah' and I was like, 'Jurnee, shut up!' and I was about to hang up 'cause we'd joke on each other (sic) all the time.
"Back in the day I'd call her up and be like, 'Hey Jurnee, it's Michael (Jackson)', and she'd be like, 'Jussie, shut up!', so we'd always do these crazy voices. I thought it was Jurnee, but it was Mariah!"
Jussie was stunned to receive the call and he was even more starstruck when he met Mariah in person.
"She's such a fan of the show," he says. "She knows mad (lots of) storylines, so she probably was the one, more than anybody, (who) I was like, 'Yo, that's Mariah!'"
Mariah, who previously worked with Lee and Empire actress Gabourey Sidibe on hit 2009 movie Precious, joins fellow musicians Ludacris, Alicia Keys, Timbaland and Kelly Rowland as guest stars for Empire's season two.