Nick Cannon’s ‘consensual non-monogamy’: Fathering 12 kids with 6 different women

The actor and TV host, and Mariah Carey’s ex-husband, is the father figure of an unconventional family. Far from feeling uncomfortable about it, he speaks freely about the most private aspects of his life

Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon on a performance at New York’s Apollo Theater, February 2022.SHAHAR AZRAN (Getty)

In the last 12 years, Nick Cannon (San Diego, California, 42 years old) has had 12 children with six different women. Five of them were born in 2022. The actor and host, with a long career behind him, has become a regular in the gossip press, which announces each of his new descendants with shock and fascination. While his personal life has generated unusual interest recently, he is more than used to media attention. Far from feeling uncomfortable, he speaks freely about the most private aspects of his life.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he attempted to explain his particular family vision. As he explained, during the pandemic, some of the women with whom he had an open relationship expressed their desire to be mothers. He accepted. ”A lot of them are in the same age group. And I just wanted to give them what they desired. I kept saying, ‘I can handle it,’” he says. Cannon avoids labels, but he has described his relationships as “consensual non-monogamy” in an interview live-streamed on YouTube last summer. “To even pretend like I’m in a monogamous relationship, that would be misleading. Because, as we know, monogamy defines one thing, and people like to classify what I do as polyamory or polygamy, but even that, I always say to define me is to confine me,” he added. Currently, Cannon is the father of 11 children (Zen Cannon, the fruit of his relationship with Alyssa Scott, died at the end of 2021 of brain cancer at only five months old). He is the father figure of an unconventional family.

Given that his children are spread across six different homes, it seems difficult for Cannon to be present in all of them. To those who call him irresponsible, the artist insists that all of his children are perfectly taken care of, including from a financial perspective. After The Sun speculated last year that Cannon paid three million dollars to support his children, the entertainer responded that the quantity was much larger, though he did not specify the number.

Mariah Carey, Monroe Cannon, Moroccan Cannon, and Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey celebrate their twins’ birthday at Disneyland. The couple married in 2008 and divorced in 2016. FilmMagic

His growing family is the subject of most headlines about Nick Cannon. In April 2011, his first two children, the twins Moroccan and Monroe Cannon, were born to Mariah Carey, the only woman who he has married. The artists went to the altar in May 2008 in the Bahamas and were together until their divorce in 2016. Cannon has confessed that the singer was the love of his life, but the incompatibility of their personalities ultimately posed an obstacle to the relationship. “Imagine if, like, Trump and Putin had to live in the same house,” he told the Los Angeles Times, alluding to his marriage.

After the twins, in February 2017, the model Brittany Bell gave birth to Golden Sagon Cannon. She would also have Powerful Queen Cannon in December 2020. In June 2021, the entertainer again became a father of twins, Zion and Zillion, this time with Abby De La Rosa. Only nine days later, his seventh child, Zen, was born. With the announcement of his eighth child, Legendary Love, with the model Bre Tiesi, in July 2022, he decided to stop and reflect, starting a period that he has called “celibate.”

“My therapist was one of the [people] who said I should probably be celibate,” he said on his radio program. He maintained the decision for months. At some point, though, it ended, because in September 2022, he became the father for the ninth and tenth time, with the model Lanisha Cole (mother of Onyx Ice) and, again, with Brittany Bell (Rise Messiah). Baby number 11, Beautiful Zeppelin, arrived in November, his second child with Abby De La Rosa. And the last one, Halo Marie, came at the end of 2022 with Alyssa Scott.

Fatherhood has caused Cannon to reflect on his own shortcomings, and a few years ago, he decided to resume his education and go to college. He told Forbes that he felt a sense of “emptiness” when he saw his children go through the education process. In May 2020, he announced on Twitter that he had graduated from Howard University, an emblematic institution of African-American education, with a major in Criminology and Administration of Justice and a minor in African Studies.

From a street gang to a host on ‘The Masked Singer’

Aware of the interest in his private life, Cannon draws attention to his work whenever he can. His career began with Nickelodeon, the youth entertainment chain that also put celebrities like Ariana Grande on the map. In 1994, he was part of the cast of All That, which continued for 10 seasons. Since then, he has formed a career as an actor and host, with some forays into the music industry.

Host Nick Cannon and  Larry The Cable Guy in the House Party episode of THE MASKED SINGER
Nick Cannon alongside ‘Larry The Cable Guy’ on an episode of ‘The Masked Singer.’FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

Before landing his first big TV contract, his youth had been complicated. His parents were just teenagers when they had him, and he was raised primarily by his paternal grandfather. His father was one of the founding members of the San Diego Lincoln Park Bloods gang and spent time in prison. There, he found religion, and upon his release, he moved to North Carolina. Nick joined his father there, where the senior Cannon had a public television show that awakened Nick’s interest in the entertainment world.

The teenager started performing stand-up in bars, and he met Jaime Foxx, who glimpsed Cannon’s potential and brought him into his circle of African-American friends. Among them was Will Smith, who Cannon has publicly thanked for his success: “He told me that I reminded him of him. …[Will] gave me a TV deal, a record deal, put me in Men in Black II. He was truly a mentor when I was 16 and always was a great example,” he said on The Howard Stern Show after Will Smith’s infamous slap at the 2022 Oscars.

In addition to Men in Black (2002), Cannon played the lead role in the 2002 film Drumline, but he rejected projects as notable as Crash, which won the Oscar for best film in 2006. The actor has spoken about how, in the early years of his career, he prioritized economically appealing contracts above others: “I was just trying to get my mom out the hood. I went for the money a lot of times. There were huge directors that wanted to meet with me, and I’d be like, ‘How much?’ I was so good that if I would have focused on my craft, things could have been different,” he told the LA Times.

At the beginning of the millennium, he formed part of the group of pop-culture celebrities led by Paris Hilton. He partied with the controversial heiress and her circle of friends, which included Kim Kardashian, with whom he had a relationship of a little over a year when the host was 26 and the Calabasas businesswoman 25. And though the major film roles continued to recede, he never lacked work.

Kim Kardashian  and Nick Cannon
Kim Kardashian and Nick Cannon at an event in Hollywood in October 2006.John Shearer (WireImage for William Rast / getty)

At 42 years old, he has a notable position in the entertainment industry. His family life is intense, and his work brings one project after another, whether on television or radio or in business. Today, he is a host on The Masked Singer, the successful South Korean show whose United States edition began in 2019. According to Cannon himself, he makes $10 million each season for the show. He also hosts Wild ‘N Out, a program for freestyle comics that was created in 2005 and now is on its 21st season on VH1. Cannon also owns sports-themed bars and restaurants around the US, as well as his own production company, Ncredible Studios.

Recently, he has appeared on the Fox program Beat Shazam, a game show presented by actor Jamie Foxx until his sudden hospitalization in April. Along with his friend Kevin Hart, Cannon just released Celebrity Prank Wars on Amazon Freevee. And he also hosts Counsel Culture, where he moderates conversations with men about current issues. He is also the face of a daily radio show, The Daily Cannon, released in April for Amazon’s application AMP. And in film, his latest role is a powerful agent on Hollywood Heist, a title which will also bring Alec Baldwin’s return to the big screen after the tragedy that occurred during the filming of Rust.

His professional commitments bring in earnings of $100 million a year, according to Cannon himself. His presence on television has made the artist a familiar face in the homes of families in the United States, who have also witnessed the growth of the host’s family off-screen.

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