After calling it quits with fiancé James Packer, Mariah Carey embarked on a new romantic journey with 33-year-old choreographer Bryan Tanaka, sparking a whirlwind romance that saw the pair tour, spend holidays together and travel the world.
Despite their evident chemistry — as documented on Mimi’s E! reality series Mariah’s World and Instagram — Carey and Tanaka split after five months of dating.
However, now that the couple has been spotted out together again in recent weeks, we’re taking a look back at the lovebirds’ most important moments together.
Tanaka toured with Carey in 2006.
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.
“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. “That moment when I got to go on stage for a second, it was a special moment in time for Mariah and myself. I felt like no one really understood what I was going through and just to get that little extra love from Mariah… I’m not gonna lie it made me feel a lot better,” Tanaka said of the dance on Mariah’s World.
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 have reflected 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 watched the relationship blossom on Mariah’s World.
Carey’s eight-episode reality show Mariah’s World gave 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 kept unfolding in real time … and on the show.
Tanaka and Carey continued to be seen in public — including on a Los Angeles dinner date — even as Mariah’s World showed 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 one 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.”
They enjoyed a Valentine’s Day bath.
Carey shared a photo of their special Valentine’s Day celebration on Instagram. In the the pic, the pair cuddles up in a tub while enjoying some pink drinks. “Happy Valentine’s Day!! #happyvalentinesday #happy #moments #bubbles,” the star captioned the ‘gram, along with some kiss and heart emoji.
Carey subtly confirmed that Tanaka is her boyfriend in February.
“I’m just going to be like ‘I really don’t talk about my personal life.’ Because that’s what I used to do and it really worked for a minute, back, a while ago,” Carey said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about my personal life … Me and my boyfriend don’t want to do that.”
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The couple fully embraced PDA since confirming their relationship.
Carey and her man seemed to try out a no-holds-barred PDA policy when they finally went public with their relationship status.
In February, they shared matching Instagram pictures of a steamy kiss with the caption, “No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative … it gets the people going!” The next month, they were spotted wearing matching outfits on a Los Angeles date night. “Both were in a great mood, smiling, giggling and taking photos of the dishes,” a source told PEOPLE about their playful meal.
They celebrated Carey’s 47th birthday together.
Or should we say “anniversary”? Rather than ringing in birthdays, the “Touch My Body” crooner only celebrates amazing anniversaries — and this year was no different. In honor of the star’s big day on March 27, Carey took a trip with Tanaka, who posted photos on Instagram showing the seaside resort where the lovebirds were celebrating. “Starting the anniversary festivities in a relaxing chic environment,” Tanaka wrote in a photo featuring Carey.
They May Have Split in April, But Things Are Heating Up Once Again
A month after Carey and Tanaka hit the brakes on their relationship, the pair were spotted cozying up to one another and kissing while out at dinner in Beverly Hills. The PDA-friendly couple was even spotted eating food from each other’s forks during their late-May date.
Around the same time, Carey sparked even more speculation that their relationship was back on by posting a nostalgic photo of one of her and Tanaka’s date nights.
Then, in early June, the pair was spotted out in Beverly Hills again, holding hands as they left dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse together. Though neither has made any public statement about the relationship, their giant smiles seem to be enough of a hint that things are heating up once again between these former flames.