In Cosmopolitan’s August cover story, which debuted online Tuesday, the R&B/pop legend revealed she can count on one hand the number of sexual partners she’s had in her 49 years on Earth.
“I haven’t had that many, but there has been a variety pack,” the singer said of her apparent preference for younger men. “I’ve only been with five people in my life, so I’m kind of a prude, honestly, compared to most others in the field.”
Mimi is currently dating her former backup dancer, Bryan Tanaka. She was married to the father of her twins, Nick Cannon, 38, from 2008 to 2016, and spent the better part of the ’90s married to then-Sony Music mogul Tommy Mottola.
Tommy, however, was significantly older than Mariah.
“You might want to picture a child bride,” she said of her first marriage. “There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American, whatever that means, girl. It was very controlled. There was no freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner.” Tommy has since called the relationship “wrong and inappropriate.”
On today’s version of the pop star and his/her new-age method of achieving fame (via the internet), Mariah said, “They have no idea what I went through as a child to even get to be an 18-year-old girl with a record deal. This was before you could just go on YouTube and sing.”
Mariah — who’s African, Venezuelan and Irish — grew up on Long Island. Her parents were divorced and her family faced financial struggles, all of which contributed to how she decided to raise her mixed children, Moroccan and Monroe, who are now 8.
At the time, she explains, “people didn’t understand who I was, what I was, my ethnicity, the fact that we didn’t have money.”
“As a kid, I always hoped for great Christmases, and we didn’t have them,” she recalled. “My brother and sister would come back to wherever I was with my mom, and they’d be fighting and ruining the holiday. I would still be like, ‘You know what? I just want to have the best time.”