Nick Cannon has a lot of respect for his ex-wife, Mariah Carey.
"I have never seen one person have to deal with so much and have the weight of the world on their shoulders and cameras constantly in their face — every angle you turn, there is someone snapping a picture, wanting you to be on, and she does it with so much grace and so much poise," Cannon told ET.
"The things that, you know, so many people have to deal with, so many different families — so many people have internal things that they are dealing with — and she continues to hold it together in a way where it just looks seamless," he said. "Even when we were together I was in awe, but even on the outside looking in, it's like, she does it with so much strength and so much beauty, you can't argue with it, and she is going to help so many people."
Cannon, whose divorce from 48-year-old Carey was finalized in 2016, said he never thought of her bipolar disorder diagnosis, or his health issues with Lupus, as the big secret others made it out to be once Carey revealed it earlier this year.
"That's the thing. Everyone is like, 'Oh, it's this big secret.' I never looked at our lifestyle like that," Cannon said.
"It's funny. People even said I have different chemical imbalances. There's a lot of depression when it comes to, like, Lupus, and even the medication and stuff. I think we as a family didn't even look at it. I didn't even diagnose this. As a spiritual person I'm like, that's someone's opinion. So, when someone starts to place stigma or starts to categorize you, we didn't allow that into our household. It was never, you have this or I have this," Cannon said.
He went on to say that Lupus does not define who he is.
"Even to this day, I don't subscribe — like, Lupus doesn't have me. Some doctor said this," he adds. "But I'm going to do everything I can do to maintain my physical, mental and spiritual health. And that's how we approach everything... We're just dealing with everything day to day."
Cannon said that he's still close with Carey and has talked to her since she bravely revealed her bipolar diagnosis.
"We talk every day," he notes. "And this is the thing... I got a way bigger mouth than she does. She's super private. But one thing we talked about [is] she said, 'I just don't want people to start thinking or treating me differently. I just want to go and make music and I want the kids to continue to love Mommy. I want the fans to continue to love Mariah.' That's all she cares about."
The two parents share 6-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan, and dad of three says he and Carey will always be family, despite the unorthodox nature of their relationship.
"There will always be unconditional love and a great relationship," he said. "That is one of my best friends in life, so it is always going to be that, so the fact that there is no bad blood and we can still co-exist, I think that is the best place for it."
He said once you focus on the kids, everything else falls into place. "Ultimately, you make it about the children and they're the number one priority, and everything else falls in line. And when you can come from a place of understanding and unconditional love for so many things, you can't really go wrong. ... I don't think we make it about us — it would be very easy to throw our egos in what we believe we want to do with our time and effort."
Carey revealed earlier this month that she has battled bipolar disorder for nearly two decades since being diagnosed in 2001.
"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," Carey told PEOPLE. "But it wasn't normal insomnia and I wasn't lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working … I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down."
She continued, "It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad — even guilty that I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing for my career."
Carey noted that when she was diagnosed, "I didn't want to believe it."
The singer explained that she made the decision to finally seek treatment after "the hardest couple of years I've been through," which have seen the singer go through both professional and romantic ups and downs.
"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," the star said. "It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn't do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music."
Carey is now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which involves depressive episodes as well as hypomanic episodes. The hypomania associated with bipolar II is less severe than the mania associated with bipolar I.0comments
"I'm actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It's not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important," Carey revealed.
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