Nick Cannon has proven enough over the last several years. He’s dabbled in films and radio, landed stand-up comedy specials and became the chairman of Teen Nick. And in 2008, he wed one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. His five-year marriage to Mariah Carey has kept Cannon a fixture on tabloid pages and gossip sites, but he says that marriage has been nothing but a source of love and peace.
“Being married to my wife is one of the easiest things about my life,” he shares. “It’s so natural and it’s rooted in love, so when you hear stuff, that doesn’t even resonate. It’s laughable at times. Obviously, like I said in my last stand-up special — I get it. I see how [our marriage] came out of left field and people were like ‘Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon? That don’t go together!’ But that’s what love is all about — especially the type of love we want to represent.”
That positivity and love was especially needed in early 2012, when Cannon was rushed to the hospital and was told that he was suffering from mild kidney failure. Several weeks later, he was hospitalized for blood clots in his lungs. It was announced that the star was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, an autoimmune disease.
“My health scare last year was crazy because [when you have] doctors telling you ‘This might be it,’ and they’re preparing your family and saying it can go either way or there’s a 50/50 chance and all of that stuff, it puts life in perspective,” Cannon explains. “I was a brand-new father — my kids weren’t even 1-year-olds at the time. And it was just like ‘If I do get a chance to do it again, I’m going to make sure all of the things that matter, I focus on. And the things that don’t matter, I let ‘em fall by the wayside.’ And because I still deal with the health condition to this day, it just makes me hungry and makes me grind harder, because we’re not promised tomorrow. I’m doing everything I can do to keep myself healthy, but at the same time, in the back of mind I [know] the clock is ticking. I need to leave my mark. That’s what everybody should do. You’ve got to leave this place better than it was when you got here. I feel like I can’t waste one day. That’s why when people say ‘your work ethic is crazy,’ I’m like ‘The clock is ticking.’ I gotta leave something.”
And that restless spirit is part of the reason Cannon is re-emerging in 2013. He admits that after his marriage, he consciously decided to pull back from the spotlight and focus on ventures that were slightly low-profile.
“I’ve definitely become more focused since I’ve been married. You can see it in my business choices and the way my career has gone,” he says. “I actually purposely stepped out of the limelight for a minute. I wanted people to understand I was a businessman and I didn’t need to be in front of the camera — I didn’t need to be ‘Wild N Out!’ I actually took a corporate job and was running a television company — all of that was on purpose, to grow as a man and see the other aspects of [the industry]. Now I’m jumping back into the game in a real way — jumping back into music, comedy, I just directed my first film for Lion’s Gate with Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, George Lopez and Katt Williams. But I had to take that time to grow as a husband and a father and a true executive and a businessman; without all of the accolades, without people questioning. I knew those things were going to come, but I knew it would make me a better person, a better man and a better entertainer.”