ET's Nischelle Turner spoke with the 37-year-old actor at Sugar Factory in New York City on Tuesday about his new Wild 'N Out sports bar in Miami, Florida, which opens Memorial Day weekend. Cannon also discussed Carey's revelation about her mental health earlier this month and said he was "in awe of her strength."
"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 tells 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. 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 and 48-year-old Carey finalized their divorce in 2016 after eight years of marriage. The actor says that during their marriage, the two never treated her bipolar disorder as a debilitating setback, similar to how they dealt with his health issues due to Lupus.
"That's the thing. Everyone is like, 'Oh, it's this big secret.' I never looked at our lifestyle like that," Cannon explains. "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."
"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 says he's talked to the GRAMMY-winning singer since she bravely revealed her bipolar diagnosis to the world.
"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."
Cannon and Carey have clearly remained close since their split, and continue to put their twins -- 6-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan -- first. The father of three says he and Carey will always be family, though acknowledges their current relationship is unorthodox.
"There will always be unconditional love and a great relationship," he says. "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."
"Ultimately, you make it about the children and they're the number one priority, and everything else falls in line," he also tells ET about their seemingly effortless co-parenting. "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."
Cannon definitely has a busy schedule these days, including his new restaurant. The Wild 'N Out sports bar will have a full arcade featuring interactive games and memorabilia from the hit MTV hit show, alongside a full-service sports bar. The menu includes upscale, over-the-top “bar food,” such as signature Wild ‘N Out Wings and Oversized Nachos.
"I'm trying to do it all," he says. "Gotta keep cooking while the pot is hot, as they say, and honestly, it's something I always had a vision for even from when I created it a decade or more ago. I saw all the verticals and saw the ability to expand. When you create a destination and an environment that people are drawn to, it can go anywhere, so we're gong to start restaurants, and we'll go all the way to comedy academies."