PHOTOS: Mariah Carey's Defining Moments

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 27, 2008

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Mariah Carey, 39, married Nick Cannon, 27, in a private affair on April 30th.

“We really do feel we are soulmates,” Carey tells People. “I never felt a love like this was in the cards for me.”

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Newlyweds Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon embrace during their first public outing as husband and wife at Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World gala. They are joined by L.A. Reid, Richard Parsons and Gayle King.

“She is beautiful on the outside and 10 times as beautiful on the inside.” Cannon tells People.

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Mariah and good friend Da Brat rock the mic at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in 2006. The rapper was an instrumental part in helping Mariah explore her love of hip-hop and was also present at her April 30th wedding to Nick Cannon, according to People.

“Hip-hop is in her bones, in her soul,” Da Brat told ESSENCE of Mariah. “That child is Black, That girl is ghetto. I know she has always wanted to rap in her music. Once she started having more say, she made it happen.”

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Mariah Carey continues her reign with her latest release, E=MC2. The album’s first single “Touch my Body” is her 18th No.1 Billboard single, the most of any artist except the Beatles.

The songbird shared with ESSENCE some of her struggles before her stardom and fame.

“I used to think that 90 percent of the reason my life was messed up was because I was mixed," she said. "Everything we go through is a part of a journey.”

5 of 15 Courtesy of Island Def Jam

Mariah continues to bare her soul on her latest release.

“I discovered that my desire to make music came from the need to heal myself. My desire to become famous came from the need to feel worthy and accepted. And that made me more of a freak than I ever was,” she told ESSENCE about her much-hyped breakdown.

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Mariah shows her serious side in 1990, as her career begins its takeoff.

“My entire childhood and adolescence were in some ways really great and in others a total mess. By the time I was 6, I was my family’s caretaker.”

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Mariah’s summer wedding in 1993 to Tommy Mottola was the beginning of a time of self-discovery.

“People think I’ve had this fairy-tale life,” she said, “that I met this rich prince who gave me a life in the lap of luxury, put me in a mansion, made me a star. It wasn’t that way. In fact, it almost killed me.”

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Mariah embraces producer Jermaine Dupri while receiving a BMI Urban Award in 2006. Dupri admits he had no idea what to do with Carey when she first walked into his studio, handed him a Wu-Tang Clan CD, and told him she wanted to sample it. “I thought, This White girl is crazy,” he said. “I didn’t know she was mixed. But after hanging out with her I realized she listens to hip-hop all day long.”

9 of 15 LA Daily News/David Crane/Corbis Sygma

Nelson George, a Black cultural writer, wrote early in Mariah’s career that she was “being marketed as the White Whitney Houston.” In 1999 the two powerhouses with their own distinct sounds, collaborated on ‘When You Believe’ from the movie The Prince of Egypt.

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Mariah is aglow as she accepts her Blockbuster Award from Stevie Wonder for the album Rainbow.

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Mariah greets troops in Kosovo in 2001, right before her much-hyped break down.

“It forced me to put the brakes on everything and admit my life wasn’t working,” she said. “I had to reevaluate myself and get recentered.”

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“When I was driving myself into the ground, I lost sight of the fact that God is in control. Now I know that He brought me to that point so I could get closer to Him.”

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Mariah welcomes Jay-Z to the stage during the New York City stop of her “The Emancipation of Mimi: The Voice, The Hits, The Tour” in 2006.

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Mariah shared it was friends like Da Brat, Wanya from Boyz II Men and other young stars “who were successful, happy and free that made me believe in the possibility of a better life.”

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Mariah Carey’s future continues to look bright as she enjoys the ride.

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