The untold truth of Mariah Carey's boyfriend

Mariah Carey has only been with five men in her life, according to a 2019 interview with Cosmopolitan. Each one of these relationships has had its fair share of headline-making drama, from her first marriage to Sony Music boss Tommy Mottola to her later marriage to Nick Cannon to her engagement to billionaire James Packer. But Carey and her current boyfriend, Bryan Tanaka, seem happy and mostly drama-free. The pair has a 13-year age difference between them, and they actually knew each other for over 10 years before their relationship went public at the beginning of 2017.

Judging by the couple's adorable social media posts, Carey and Tanaka are together and happier than ever. But that doesn't mean their relationship hasn't been completely without hiccups. And there's a lot more to Tanaka than just being Carey's boyfriend. Here are all the most important details that fans need to know about him.

Bryan Tanaka was Mariah Carey's backup dancer

Bryan Tanaka is an acclaimed dancer and choreographer. He first met Mariah Carey in 2006 when he worked as a backup dancer on her Adventures of Mimi tour, per People. Recalling the first time they met, Tanaka told E! News, "Our first introduction was kind of a sweaty mess, because I was on stage sweating... she came out all looking gorgeous and everything. But it was great we said 'Hi' real quick and we got back to work." 

But as he added in another interview with E!, they shared an instant connection during that first tour. "Something connected with us back in the day and there was just a mutual admiration," Tanaka said. "It was set in history that we were gonna be connected some way, some how."

Tanaka has gone on to work with other superstars, including Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna, Usher, and Lady Gaga. He even appeared in the movie La La Land. He's also on the teaching faculty at Broadway Dance Center.

The 36-year-old dancer always remained close with Carey, 49, over the years. Eventually, their bond became romantic. Carey first shared a photo of her new beau on social media on Valentine's Day 2017. Now that the pair are lovebirds, they still work together professionally, with Tanaka dancing, choreographing, and creative directing for Carey's live shows and music videos.

Bryan Tanaka caused some major riffs in Mariah Carey's last relationship

Before dating Bryan Tanaka, Mariah Carey was with Australian billionaire James Packer. They were together for 18 months and even got engaged before calling off the wedding in 2016. Sources said Packer was very concerned about his fiancée's tight relationship with Tanaka. A lot of this concern reportedly stemmed from the time Carey gave Tanaka a lap dance on-stage during a show in South Africa. The lap dance, shown on the reality TV show Mariah's World, was intended to cheer Tanaka up after a knee injury left him unable to dance.

TMZ reported that Packer's jealousy escalated when Tanaka showed up to one of Carey's Las Vegas shows — just to see her apparently, because he still wasn't able to perform. "Our sources say there was a ton of yelling," TMZ wrote — and Parker even allegedly got Tanaka banned from the venue, Caesars Palace.

The jealousy was mutual. Tanaka admitted on Mariah's World that he felt "a little crazy" watching Carey and Packer together and that he'd felt "a crazy connection" with her previously. Tanaka told E! News in 2016 that he's "always had a thing for Mariah," adding: "I love her so much." This awkward love triangle didn't last. After Packer and Carey parted ways, she and Tanaka moved forward with their own relationship.

Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka briefly broke up one time

Just a few months after Bryan Tanaka and Mariah Carey made their relationship publicly official, reports surfaced that the pair called it quits in spring 2017. A source told People that Carey was "focusing on her kids and new music" and Tanaka had merely been "a good distraction after she split from James [Packer]."

The breakup reportedly involved Carey's relationship with her ex, Nick Cannon, with whom she shares twins Monroe and Moroccan. The co-parents' close bond "irked Tanaka, leading him to flirt with other women in front of Carey as revenge," according to a 2017 People report.

But just a month later, Tanaka and Carey were spotted together again. They've been happily-ever-after ever since. They're often spotted spending time in public, and they don't hesitate to share adorable couple selfies on social media, from date nights to birthday celebrations and Broadway shows. The pair haven't confirmed any engagement rumors just yet. But hopefully this is the happy ending that Carey has waited so long for!