Exclusive from ELLE: Mariah Carey opens up about race, politics, her new marriage and the secrets she's had to keep

Photos by Alexei Hay
Photos by Alexei Hay

Don't you kind of just love Mariah Carey? I mean, besides that time when she went crazy, she's always seemed sassy and real and unapologetic about her diva-ness, which has, for me anyway, always made her likable (her MTV Cribs episode is one of my favorites). Anyway, in the August issue of Elle (on newsstands next week), the singer seems more than just likable, but really happy and, dare I say, wise. Read on for juicy excerpts from the interview. You can see the entire story and a photo slideshow at Elle.com.

On her disastrous first marriage to Tommy Mottola: "When I was unhappy in a place in my life, I always wanted to be kidnapped. I just wanted a way out, but I didn't' have one."
On her meeting Nick Cannon: "He sort of kidnapped me and took me on a helicopter ride. Then he re-proposed."
On keeping the relationship a secret: "We really kept the whole relationship aspect of it quiet. Therefore, we didn't really 'date,' you know what I mean? Because that would give people a chance to be like, 'What are you doing? What are you talking about? This is so quick…are you sure?'"
Her sarcastic approach to the media gossip: "It's difficult, especially when legitimate press is saying, "They're having a $4 million wedding.' Why? What - did we set a budget?' "It's gonna be $4 million! It's going to be really cool! We're going to give away gold as people leave! We're going to sprinkle them with gold! It's going to be very Coming to America! What do they think? Our whole point [in having the unannounced beach wedding] was to do the opposite!"
On her mixed racial heritage: "It's such a visual society in which we live that people forget, 'Oh yeah, her father's black,' Carey says. "So, many things will be said in front of me that wouldn't be said in front of another friend whose complexion might be slightly darker."
On record labels using her racial heritage to promote her music: "A friend pointed out that I was marketed by a huge massive conglomerate that did like the ambiguity of my voice lending itself to [making air quotes] 'soul' music," she says. "They liked the fact that the look sort of was, and is, ambiguous."
On Presidential candidate Barack Obama: "I can relate a lot to so many of the stories he tells. Clearly I am not the political analyst of the ages, but this is something that hits me on a deeper level than anything I've ever experienced growing up."
On Nick and previous relationships: "We really do share a similar spiritual outlook on life….Even though people have their own fears about 'Was I in a relationship before this, was I not in relationship before this,' to me, I wasn't in a real relationship; it was more of a friendship and working situation."