It appears that Mariah Carey has been bitten by the love bug in a serious way.
Since calling it quits with fiancé James Packer, Mimi has embarked on a new romantic journey with 33-year-old choreographer Bryan Tanaka.
Look back at the lovebirds’ most important moments so far — and decide for yourself if they really could belong together.
Tanaka toured with Carey in 2006
Their love story may just be beginning, but Tanaka and Carey have been linked professionally for a decade. Now the star’s creative director, Tanaka took the stage with Carey as a backup dancer on her 2006 Adventures of Mimi tour.
#Classic #AdventuresOfMimiTour 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
“Something connected with us back in the day and there was just a mutual admiration,” Tanaka told E! News about his early work with Carey. “She saw something in me that I actually didn’t recognize at first, from that it was over. It was set in history that we were gonna be connected some way, some how.”
In 2014 Instagram post, Tanaka expressed his gratitude toward the singer, saying, “She has always supported me and been so kind.”
Carey’s now-former fiancé was allegedly jealous of Tanaka
It is believed that Packer was concerned about Carey’s closeness to Tanaka prior to the end of their engagement. According to reports, the Australian billionaire even confronted Tanaka after he showed up to Carey’s Las Vegas show despite not being able to perform due to an injury. Packer allegedly banned the dancer from the Caesars Palace show during the incident.
There is speculation that some of Packer’s jealousy stemmed from an onstage lap dance Carey gave Tanaka in May to (jokingly) help his injured knee.
Tanaka, Carey and the rest of the crew spent a lot of off-duty time together while on tour
By the looks of Tanaka’s Instagram account, he and the rest of The Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour crew enjoyed quality time with Carey when not working on the show. In Paris, he and fellow dancer Anthony Burrell watched the Eiffel Tower light up, with Carey by their side.
Tanaka spent time with the superstar in a DJ booth and on her jet, and the group enjoyed a safari during the African leg of the tour as well. The smooth mover also made an appearance at Carey’s Halloween party during a break from shows.
Tanaka helped her enjoy a post-breakup night out
Shortly after news broke that Carey and Packer had ended their engagement, the singer gathered a group of friends, including Tanaka, for a night out in Malibu. At the time, a source told PEOPLE that at the restaurant “she was with a group of friends. She had fun and sipped champagne. She was very dressed up, wore her engagement ring and seemed in a great mood. She wanted to show James that she isn’t sitting at home crying. She doesn’t seem too concerned.”
They spent Thanksgiving weekend together
The duo sent relationship rumors into overdrive when they were spotted engaging in some intense beach PDA over Thanksgiving weekend. They frolicked in the waves at Maui’s Grand Wailea Resort in Hawaii when Carey wasn’t enjoying the holiday with her family.
Their choreography may reflect their real-life flirtations
Since rumors of the pair’s intimate relationship began, fans have been paying extra-close attention to Tanaka and Carey’s onstage interactions. We couldn’t help but notice that Tanaka was chosen to hold hands with Carey as she belted her classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at the VH1 Divas: Unsilent Night show in December.
Just a few days later, their chemistry sparked in New York City’s Beacon Theatre as they danced alongside each other once again.
We’ll be able to watch the relationship blossom on Mariah’s World
Carey’s eight-part reality show Mariah’s World may soon be giving us an unprecedented look at how the performers’ relationship developed. In a promo for the series that Tanaka shared on Instagram, an off-screen voiceover notes that “he’s always had a huge crush on her” as clips of Carey canoodling with the dancer play on-screen. Tanaka also teased his role in the show when he chatted with E! News at the premiere party — you know, when he took a break from staring at Carey. “Just make sure you tune into the show and you’ll see kinda how everything happened,” he said.
The pair’s relationship keeps unfolding in real time … and on the show
Tanaka and Carey have continued to be seen in public — most recently out to dinner in Los Angeles — even as Mariah’s World shows us the odd place their relationship was in last year, with Tanaka having to see Carey and then-fiancé James Packer together.
“Seeing Mariah and James connect is super weird for me because I haven’t really seen it before,” Tanaka said on Sunday’s episode. “I feel like I’ve been living in this fantasy for a while and all of a sudden this is like a big reality check.”