Mariah Carey has been dating her former backup dancer, Bryan Tanaka, since late 2016. The couple got together after Carey’s engagement to billionaire James Packer ended in October of that year.
Carey and Tanaka’s relationship has been on-and-off over the past couple of years, according to Oprah Magazine. But the couple is currently going strong. Carey posted a photo on Instagram with Tanaka on April 11, 2020, to wish him a happy birthday.
Tanaka’s birthday falls on the same day Carey was scheduled to appear on Joel Osteen’s virtual Easter service. The televangelist pastor, who leads the Lakewood Church in Houston, is streaming church services due to the coronavirus pandemic. Carey is singing her 1993 classic hit, “Hero.”
According to the Lakewood Church website, Carey will be featured in four streaming services: April 11 at 7 p.m., and on April 12 at 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Producer Tyler Perry was also scheduled to address the virtual congregation.
It was not clear whether Tanaka would make an appearance alongside Carey for the church service, or her children.
Here’s what you need to know about Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka.
Bryan Tanaka & Mariah Carey Knew Each Other For More Than a Decade Before They Began Dating
Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka were linked professionally for several years prior to beginning a romantic relationship. Tanaka was hired as a backup dancer for Carey’s “Adventures of Mimi” concert tour in 2006.
Tanaka reflected on how that experience influenced his career in an Instagram post he shared in March 2016:
This tour changed my life. I’ll never forget how much I learned from everyone in this picture. How many amazing memories we created, crazy times we had, laughter we shared… I grew up on this tour. I was fortunate to be surrounded by amazing veterans in our dance industry who took me under their wing. Forever grateful for you Eddie, Punch, Goofy, Rachel, Barry Lather, Rich & Tone, AJ Aakomon Jones, and of course MC. #HonorThePastToNourishTheFuture #MuchLove
Tanaka’s professional career has also included time spent as a backup dancer for artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Iggy Azalea, E! News reported. Tanaka also works as a choreographer and dance teacher. In June 2016, Takata also announced that he had been named as Carey’s creative director.
Bryan Tanaka & Mariah Carey’s Relationship Played Out On Her Reality Show As Her Engagement to James Packer Fell Apart
Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka have not clarified exactly when their relationship turned romantic. She broke up with former fiance James Packer in October 2016. Carey’s friendship with Tanaka appears to have caused problems between her and Packer.
TMZ reported in 2016 that Packer became visibly angry when Tanaka showed up to one of Carey’s shows in Las Vegas. Tanaka was not performing that night due to an injury and Packer did not understand why he was there. The outlet reported Packer “used his casino ties” to ban Tanaka from entering Caesar’s Palace in the future.
According to People, Packer was also upset after Carey gave Tanaka a lap dance during one of her performances in South Africa in May 2016. Tanaka described the dance as a “special moment in time for Mariah and myself” during her reality series, Mariah’s World.
Carey and Tanaka’s friendship and budding romance played out in front of the cameras to such an extent that skeptics expressed doubt as to whether it was all fake. Even Carey’s ex-husband, Nick Cannon, said publicly that he thought Carey and Tanaka were simply acting for the show. Cannon remarked to Howard Stern, “That sh*t is like a soap opera, like, ‘The billionaire doesn’t know, and here’s the handsome young dancer.”
Bryan Tanaka May Have Been Jealous of Mariah Carey’s Friendly Relationship With Ex-Husband Nick Cannon
Bryan Tanaka and Mariah Carey briefly split in April 2017. Carey’s friendly relationship with ex-husband Nick Cannon may have been the catalyst for problems. Entertainment Tonight, citing a “source close to Tanaka,” reported in 2017 that Tanaka was jealous of Cannon.
Cannon and Carey were married for six years before splitting in 2014. They share twins Moroccan and Monroe and have long said that they maintained a cordial co-parenting relationship for the sake of their children.
Cannon expressed amusement at the idea that Tanaka may have been jealous of him. “Most men are jealous of me. I’m joking. But I know nothing about it,” Cannon told ET. “For me, at the end of the day, she’s an amazing mother and we focus on our kids. That’s never going to change no matter who’s in my life or who’s in her life. We have kids together, so we’ll always be family.”
Whether jealousy had been the root cause or not, Carey and Tanaka set aside their problems and had rekindled their romance by June 2017. These days, the two often share pictures of their lives together. For example, in February 2020, Tanaka posted a picture of the two of them standing beneath a heart made of balloons. The caption simply read, “L.O.V.E.”
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