MARIAH CAREY'S NEW TRIPLE-X ROMANCE

Published on: January 9, 2003

MARIAH CAREY'S newest romance is action-packed! She's fallen hard for hunky "XXX" heartthrob Vin Diesel.

The two some snuggled and skied on a first date in the snows of Aspen over the recent holidays. They also enjoyed a romantic dinner together.

"Mariah and Vin had been discussing getting together on a film project for some time now, but they had no idea that it would lead to love," said a source close to Carey.

Originally, they'd talked about doing a movie together.

"However, after several long phone conversations, Mariah and Vin began to discover how much they had in common with one another."

The two are both from multi-racial backgrounds. Mariah's dad, who died last year, was a black aeronautical engineer from Venezuela while her mom's Irish-American. Vin, who was born Mark Vincent, is of Italian and African-American descent.

Mariah and Vin also have the Big Apple in common. Both grew up in New York.

"What's more, they're both demanding artists in their fields who've often been perceived as being difficult -- while they just see themselves as perfectionists," said the close source.

"They bonded almost immediately. They kept making -- and then breaking -- dates to get together. Their busy schedules kept them apart.

"Finally, Mariah and Vin found out they'd be in Aspen at the same time over Christmas, so they planned to get together for dinner."

And the dinner led to romance.

"Vin really put on the charm and Mariah was smitten," said an insider.

"They strolled out of the restaurant arm in arm and made plans to ski the next day in nearby Snowmass.

"Vin just happened to be staying at the same hotel as Mariah's ex-boyfriend Luis Miguel.

"When Mariah -- who was renting a big house with six girlfriends -- came by to pick Vin up, everyone assumed she was there to see Luis.

"It looked like Luis was jealous enough of Mariah and Vin to try to get back at her by snuggling up to Ricky Martin's ex, Rebeca de Alba, a few nights later!"