Carey talks public image

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NEW YORK -- Mariah Carey knows her indisputable talent clashes with her sexed-up image as a "ditz."

"It's a dichotomy, I understand," the 37-year-old Grammy winner tells Allure magazine. "I understand that people think I am a ditzy moron."

The singer -- who was treated for exhaustion in 2001 after a public meltdown -- says she still struggles with her confidence.

"I've always had really low self-esteem, and I still do," she says. "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 -- just imagine."

Carey and ex-husband Tommy Mottola, the former chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, divorced in 1997. She has described that relationship as controlling and says: "I had to make a decision: either lose myself completely or learn to stand up for myself. You have to be very courageous to do that."

She says she'd marry again -- preferably, to someone who knows where she's coming from.

"That's a big deal for me: feeling like somebody else can't fully understand me because they're not in show business. It shouldn't matter, but it does, because the energy it takes to be 'on' is a lot," she says.

Carey's latest album, EMC2, arrives April 15. Her previous album, "The Emancipation of Mimi," has sold 10 million copies.
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