The pop superstar was previously married to music mogul Tommy Mottola, who she has accused of "mental" and "emotional" abuse during their five-year union.
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Carey has dismissed all her previous relationships as "puppy love," insisting she never experienced true romantic feelings until she began dating Cannon in 2008.
In a candid interview with U.S. talk show host Larry King, Carey was asked whether she fell in love for the first time with Cannon.
She replied, "Yes, I did."
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The singer adds, "Reflection is an interesting thing. Yes, when I was very young, I was like, this is amazing that somebody wants to take care of me and help me, but not realizing it was a two-way street and I was doing the same thing for them. And so, it was kind of stifling, yes. And other situations I was in, like puppy love. Nothing like the real thing."