"It's a dichotomy, I understand," the hard-working Grammy winner, 37, tells Allure magazine for its April issue. "I understand that people think I am a ditzy moron."
Speaking in her Manhattan penthouse, which is described as looking like something out of Barbie's Dream House, Carey says she continues to struggle with her confidence level.
"I've always had really low self-esteem, and I still do," says the singer, whose widely covered 2001 meltdown resulted in her being treated for exhaustion.
Also well reported: her relationships, which include those with Yankee star Derek Jeter, Eminem, singer Luis Miguel and music exec Mark Sudack. What she's looking for, she says, is someone who will look after her emotionally.
'I'm Mary Poppins'"What's weird about that is being onstage, and the love that you get, and the adoration that you feel from your real fans. It's hard for a partner to compete," Carey says – also declaring that she is "a freakin' prude" who's never succumbed to a one-night stand.
"I'm Mary Poppins," she says. "I'm what the buttoned-up girls are supposed to be."
Not that Carey, who divorced former Sony Music CEO Tommy Mottola in 1997, wouldn't give marriage another spin – preferably with someone who comprehends the world she inhabits.
"That's a big deal for me: feeling like somebody else can't fully understand me because they're not in show business," says Carey, whose new album, E=MC2 will be released April 15. "It shouldn't matter, but it does, because the energy it takes to be 'on' is a lot."
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