While growing family makes headlines, Nick Cannon quietly makes '$100 million a year'

Nick Cannon in a sparkly suit lit in a blue and purple lighting
Nick Cannon spoke to Times columnist Amy Kaufman about his growing family and his various business ventures. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Nick Cannon has come a long way from his "All That" days. Once a teen waiting for his breakout moment, Cannon is now a multimedia mogul with a nine-figure salary to show for it.

"When you think about my lifestyle, I have to generate at least $100 million a year," Cannon, a father of 11 young children from six different women, told Los Angeles Times columnist Amy Kaufman.

Cannon is known for Hollywood projects including the 2002 film "Drumline," Fox's "The Masked Singer," MTV and VH1's "Wild 'N Out" and NBC's "America's Got Talent." But in recent years, the San Diego-born star has made headlines for his growing family. In December, he welcomed daughter Halo Marie Cannon with model Alyssa Scott.

Cannon's family may be big (it's possible it hasn't finished growing), but the "Wild N' Out" creator said he keeps fathering children simply because he's a people-pleaser. He told Kaufman that a number of his partners were anxious about having children at the right time.

"A lot of them are in the same age group,” he said. “And I just wanted to give them what they desired. I kept saying, ‘I can handle it.’”

Each addition to Team Cannon ushered in memes and criticism (there was also online kinship with Tesla chief Elon Musk), and Cannon has definitely seen what haters have to say about his growing family.

“I’ve been villainized,” Cannon said. “I hear all the time: ‘You can’t be present for all those children.’ So therefore I get this deadbeat-dad title.”

Contrary to that label, Cannon said he keeps separate calendars for each of his children, brings his kids to network meetings, chauffeurs them around and even decides his sleeping arrangement based on which child he'll drop off last.

Regardless, he said he still feels guilty about not spending enough time with his kids. But instead of focusing on how much time he spends, Cannon would rather focus on the quality.

“It’s not about what I do for you or what I say to you, it’s about how you feel when I’m with you,” he added. “If you feel loved when you see your dad, that’s what’s gonna resonate.”

Despite his baby count hitting double digits, Cannon's been married only once, to pop diva Mariah Carey. He told Kaufman that he views marriage as a "business proposition" and that living with the "We Belong Together" singer was "if, like, Trump and Putin had to live in the same house." Cannon and Carey were married from 2008 to 2016. By 2014 they were living in separate houses.

"It wasn’t even about her and I — we’ve always been good," he continued. "It was more about us understanding that instead of making it about our relationship and what I want or what you want, we should just do what’s best for the children.”

The two share 11-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe.

With various business ventures beyond Hollywood, it's clear that baby news isn't all that Cannon has to offer. His long-time manager Michael Goldman said the entertainer is the "most misunderstood person I’ve ever encountered."

“Nick’s success and what he’s generated don’t match up to where the industry places him," Goldman said. "And I think that’s what inspires and motivates him every day.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.