How much can one man give to multiple children bred in multiple homes?
I often think of that when I hear about men, usually famous ones, who have more than a handful of children. According to Nick Cannon, who has welcomed seven, more are on the way.
During a recent visit to Angela Yee’s podcast Lip Service, he was asked about reportedly expecting three more children. He didn’t deny it, joking that if people thought the number of kids he welcomed in 2021 was too much, which was three, they hadn’t seen anything yet. It has since been confirmed that he already has two coming this year, including one child with a woman named Bre Tiesi, due soon, and another with Abby De La Rosa, whom he welcomed twins with in 2021. De La Rosa just revealed that she’s expecting again.
Cannon doesn’t really know how many will be born this year, because after hoping to close out last year celibate, the tragedy of losing seventh child, son Zen, in December left him going back on his plans and engaging in a lot of seemingly unprotected sex:
My therapist told me I needed to chill out. So I was like, let’s try celibacy. That was October. I didn’t even make it to January. I was supposed to make it to the top of year but obviously I started going through some things. I got depressed with the loss of my son. So in December…everybody saw I was so down, so everybody was like, “Let me just give him a little vagina, that’s going to cure it all!” And I fell victim to it because I was in a weak state. So December especially, right before Christmas, I started f–king like crazy.
Throughout this moment, he smiled and laughed about it, and people applauded his honesty about how his relationships work, but I couldn’t help but ask myself, What is really going on? If he and the women he deals with who are fine with whatever this setup is just want to be adults and have sex with one another all the time, more power to them. But once you bring children into the picture, it’s no longer just harmless fun.
With all due respect to Cannon, there’s just nothing really funny about a man procreating so often that it becomes a topic of conversation; (“So how many kids you got coming this year!?”) that private moments between him and his partners becomes public fodder in interviews; that he believes he “fell victim” to the unprotected sex he continuously, knowingly had because he was hurt, and that he mourned one child by, one could say, inadvertently having more as opposed to just sitting in, confronting and managing his understandable grief.
I don’t fault people who have relationships that fall apart within which they welcome a child (or multiple), and they try to do the best they can for their kid(s). I don’t fault people for unexpectedly having a child with someone they didn’t plan to be with but they try to do the best they can for their kid. But I do take issue with people who choose to continuously have children they know good and well they can’t adequately be there for.
And let’s be clear: being able to financially provide doesn’t make up for the affection, time and presence that children need from their parents. I’m not calling him a bad father, but how can one man properly stretch himself between soon-to-be nine children? He simply can’t. How many school events can he attend for them all when he’s not dealing with work commitments (and Cannon has multiple hosting gigs)? How often can he tuck them into bed? Can you truly give your best dividing yourself between a group of people that size?
It seems for Cannon that he uses sex to help him cope emotionally, which may be why his therapist encouraged him to “chill out.” And it also seems that the end of his marriage to Mariah Carey, whom he shares twins with, also changed him emotionally. In his recent song “Alone,” which was about that breakup, he said, “this song is really about reflection, the process of when somebody, and men we do this a lot, where you realize ‘I really messed up, I had probably the greatest situation.’ I had my dream girl, and I messed it up.’”
That situation has allowed him to now be a person who doesn’t see a benefit in monogamy (or contraception).
“I just don’t feel like monogamy is healthy,” he told Dr. Laura Berman in February. “I feel like that gets into the space of selfishness and ownership.”
But monogamy can’t be more selfish than creating a brood of children who didn’t ask to be in the world with women you like to have sex with but don’t want to commit to — just because you can.
I think Cannon, who has been told to slow down and said himself that he needs to slow down, should heed that advice. Because what is the end game? Who really benefits from the way he’s doing things? Truly, not Cannon himself, and certainly not the kids.