Everything to Know About Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's Relationship

Looking back on their "Fantasy" whirlwind romance.

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon on the red carpet

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Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon shocked the world when they married on the beach in the Bahamas in 2008 after just a few weeks of dating. The singer-songwriter had previously been married to Sony executive Tommy Mottola and had a few more public relationships with baseball star Derek Jeter and musician Luis Miguel, but her whirlwind romance with Nick, who was then best known for his hosting gig on MTV, surprised and delighted fans. In true music world fashion, the two fell for each other on the set of one of Mariah’s music videos and the fairytale continued for several years, starting with a candy-centric proposal at Mariah’s New York City penthouse. 

Throughout their marriage, Mariah and Nick celebrated their love with a literal “Cinderella” vow renewal at Disneyland, an adorable set of twins, and even commemorative wedding tattoos. Though their relationship ran its course, the two continue to be friendly today and co-parent their twins.

Discover the relationship timeline of Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey — two superstars who fell in love and made each other’s dreams come true for a moment in time.

  • Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon first met in 2005 but didn't begin dating until 2008.
  • On April 30, 2008, Mariah and Nick married in the Bahamas.
  • They became parents to twins on April 20, 2011.
  • The couple separated in 2014 and finalized their divorce in 2016.

2005: First Meeting

Nick Cannon presenting a surfboard to Mariah Carey at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards.

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Mariah and Nick initially met at the Teen Choice Awards in 2005, where he presented her with the surfboard award for Choice Music R&B Artist. At the time, Mariah was riding high on the success of her album The Emancipation of Mimi, and Nick was working on his MTV show Wild ‘N Out. In her autobiography, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, Mariah wrote that she’d heard Nick was saying “nice things” about her. ″With a genuine beaming smile and a flame in his eyes, he replied, 'If you give me a chance, I'll prove all of it is true.’”

2008: Officially Dating

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey embracing in party attire in 2008.

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Mariah cast Nick as the love interest in her video for “Bye Bye” and the sparks were flying. In her book, Mariah said she was attracted to the musician and entrepreneur because she felt safe with him and didn’t feel like they were operating on different levels both personally and professionally. “He was faith-based. He was ambitious,” Mariah wrote. “He had been in the entertainment industry for a long time, so he understood the madness. He paid attention to me.”

Nick agreed that their similar backgrounds and knowledge of the industry helped them connect. “I always used to say it worked so well because it was a healthy balance,” he shared. “I had no problem falling back. It was never a competition with me. It was like ‘I’ll turn mine off so she can turn hers on.’ I was comfortable in myself and who I was.”

2008: Proposal(s)

Nick Cannon on bended knee pretending to propose to Mariah Carey for camera

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Nick actually popped the question to his famous bride twice—first with a 17-carat pink diamond ring by Jacob & Co. hidden in a Ring Pop candy, and then again on a romantic helicopter ride over New York City. Sounds like a fairytale, right? Even the superstar herself was a bit blown away. “They’ve been calling me Cinderella since I first started out,” Mariah said at the time. “Most people would think, 'Okay, please! This doesn’t happen in real life.'” 

However, their romance was real and things moved quickly; the two kept their relationship and engagement low-key to avoid prying eyes and gossip. “We really kept the whole relationship aspect of it quiet,” Mariah recalled. “We didn’t want to give people a chance to be like, ‘What are you doing? What are you talking about? This is so quick...Are you sure?’”

Nick and Mariah’s relationship worked because they understood each other and were forthright about their expectations. “We were both at this place where relationships really aren’t our thing but we like each other,” Cannon said of their whirlwind courtship and wedding. “We talked everything out. What if this and what if that. We talked about how much fun it would be if we just got married three weeks into knowing each other. It was more that whimsical fantasy idea of let’s have as much fun as we possibly can and when it no longer feels like fun, when it feels like a task and a job, then we should amicably be able to move on.”

April 30, 2008: Wedding in the Bahamas

Nick Cannon embracing Mariah Carey while Mariah flashes her engagement ring.

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Nick and Mariah shocked the world when they announced that they had gotten married at Mariah’s home in the Bahamas. The two had only been dating for about six weeks when they decided to tie the knot. “We really do feel we are soulmates,” Mariah told People at the time. “I never felt a love like this was in the cards for me.” As for Nick, he said of his bride, “She is beautiful on the outside and 10 times as beautiful on the inside.”

Unlike her first wedding to music exec Tommy Mottola, where she wore a massive Princess Diana-style gown, Mariah opted for a slim, beachy slip dress by designer Nile Cmylo, along with a simple shoulder-length veil for her second wedding. She finished off her bridal look with a pair of bedazzled slingback Christian Louboutin stilettos. The couple jumped into the ocean together after saying their vows and later got tattoos to commemorate the special day. Nick inked Mariah’s name on his shoulder, while Mimi had “Mrs. Cannon” tattooed on her lower back.

2009-2013: Vow Renewals

Mariah and Nick had so much fun at their wedding that they decided to renew their vows every year on their anniversary. They re-tied the knot in Paris, in a Cinderella-inspired ceremony at Disneyland, and even in the hospital when their twins were born! The Reverend Al Sharpton presided over that ceremony! For their 2010 renewal, Nick gave Mariah a diamond-studded Ring Pop as a nod to their engagement. 

April 30, 2011: Moroccan and Monroe Cannon Are Born

Moroccan and Monroe Cannon, also known as “dem babies,” were born on April 30, 2011—exactly three years after their famous parents tied the knot. ″Our desire to have children became a force of nature and why we got married so quickly," Mariah shared in her book, noting that before she met Nick, she wasn’t sure she wanted to have kids. Moroccan is named after the Moroccan-themed room in Mariah’s NYC home where the two got engaged, and Monroe is named for—you guessed it—Marilyn Monroe, one of Mariah’s idols.

2014-2016: Separation and Divorce

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon wearing matching outfits with their twins on the orange carpet for the Kids Choice Awards

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The couple separated in 2014 and Nick filed for divorce shortly thereafter, though their divorce wasn’t final until 2016. Things were rocky at first. “Honestly, I think Nick and I could have worked it out between the two of us, but egos and emotions got inflamed (which can translate into many billable lawyer hours, and ultimately it did). It was tough,” Mariah wrote in her book. 

She also mentioned that their careers had an impact on the end of their marriage. ‘‘Making the necessary adult adjustments to being working parents in entertainment took its toll on our relationship,” she wrote. 

As for her ex-husband, he believes that their balance continued even in the hard times. “My ego outside the house was grand but in the house it was healthy. I was there to be in support of whatever she wanted to do,” he told Variety. “I mean, it’s Mariah Carey. How am I supposed to be? She’s one of the most talented women to ever [exist on] this planet. I can’t hold a candle to that woman.”

Today, the two are committed to their family and continue to co-parent their twins. “We both wanted to make sure everything was cool for our family. We will always be family, and we make it work.″

Their family has changed a bit over the years; Mariah was briefly engaged to billionaire James Packer, and Nick has since welcomed five more children, including another set of twins. Nick previously said that he isn’t interested in marrying again, but if he did, he’d want to reunite with Mimi.

“If I was to do it again, it would be to her. It would be Mariah,” Nick said in a podcast interview. “She’s always gonna be someone that I love.”

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