Mariah Carey splits with boyfriend Bryan Tanaka: A timeline of their relationship

After seven years together, Mariah Carey and her boyfriend, dancer and choreographer Bryan Tanaka, are calling it quits.

Breakup rumors began to circulate after Tanaka, 40, was absent from Carey’s Merry Christmas One and All! tour in November. Tanaka is also reportedly not spending the holidays with Carey in Aspen, according to People.

Then, on Dec. 26, 2023, Tanaka confirmed the split. He posted on his Instagram that he and Carey were going through an "amicable separation." has reached out to Carey’s representatives for comment but has not heard back.

Carey and Tanaka first connected in 2006 when Tanaka toured with the pop superstar as a backup dancer.

In 2016, romance bloomed between them, and the couple began sharing sweet photos of themselves celebrating birthdays and holidays together through the years.

Carey was previously married to Tommy Mottola from 1993 to 1998. She later wed Nick Cannon in 2008, and they welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan in 2011 before splitting in 2014. Carey was also previously engaged to Australian billionaire James Packer.

Read on to learn more about the timeline of Carey and Tanaka’s relationship.

2006: Tanaka joins Carey’s Adventures of Mimi Tour as a backup dancer

Tanaka and Carey were in each other’s orbits long before their romance began. Back in 2006, Tanaka was a backup dancer on Carey’s Adventures of Mimi Tour, which included 40 shows across North America, Africa and Asia.

In one photo from the tour, a backup dancer who appears to be Tanaka dips Carey as she sings on stage.

Mariah Carey (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Mariah Carey (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

2014: Tanaka writes about his admiration for Carey on Instagram

Before they started dating, Tanaka was a Mimi fan.

In January 2014, he shared an Instagram photo of Carey’s debut self-titled album cover popping up on his car’s music player.

“As I’m driving home from the studio listening to one of my tracks an angel appears. A glitch in the matrix? or a sign? I think it’s a sign,” he wrote in the caption.

Later in 2014, he also opened up about his admiration for the Grammy winner.

“I have so much respect for this woman,” he wrote on Instagram. “She has always supported me and been so kind. Not too mention she is frikkin talented!”

June 2016: Tanaka announces he is Carey’s new creative director

In June 2016, Tanaka revealed on Instagram that he was now serving as Carey’s creative director.

“This has been one of the craziest years of my life,” he wrote in the caption. “The change and growth has been exponential in my career as an entertainer, creative mind, and an entrepreneur. I’m grateful everyday to be living the life I am destined for.

“My foundation as a man is solid with love, ambition, and humility…” he continued. “I’m happy to announce that I am Mariah Carey’s new creative director.”

December 2, 2016: Carey remains coy about her relationship with Tanaka on TODAY

Carey and her ex-fiancé, James Packer, broke things off in October 2016 and later of that year, relationship rumors were swirling about a romance between Tanaka and Carey.

Hoda Kotb asked Carey about the relationship rumors during the singer’s visit to TODAY in early December, referring to some photos that had been circulating of the pair.

“You have a new man,” Hoda said. “We’ve seen pictures.”

“I refuse to answer under the grounds that it may incriminate me,” was Carey’s playful answer.

December 4, 2016: Tanaka and Carey field questions about their relationship at a premiere party

Both Carey and Tanaka were pressed about the nature of their relationship in December 2016 at the premiere party of her E! reality show, “Mariah’s World.”

Asked by E! News on the red carpet whether fans would see Tanaka making moves on Carey during the show, Carey answered with a playful shrug,

“Well, I don’t know, darling, what do you think?”

“It’s really nice, especially when you’ve worked with somebody in the past and then you get to work with them again and just see how everybody’s grown creatively and all that,” she also said of the backup dancer.

Mariah Carey Bryan Tanaka  (Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)
Mariah Carey Bryan Tanaka (Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic)

Tanaka was more forthcoming about his affection for Carey, telling E! News he had “always had a thing for Mariah.”

“I love her so much,” he said. “Just make sure you tune in to the show and you’ll see kind of how everything happens.”

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” he added. “I do a little dance move here and there and we have a good time. It will be fun.”

Tanaka also said that “something connected with us back in the day and there was just a mutual admiration.

“She saw something in me that I actually didn’t recognize at first, from that it was over,” he continued. “It was set in history that we were gonna be connected some way, some how.”

February 2017: Carey and Tanaka pose together in a bathtub for Valentine’s Day

By Valentine’s Day of the following year, it seemed all but certain that Carey and Tanaka were an item, even though they hadn’t made any official statements about their relationship.

On Feb. 15, Carey shared an Instagram photo of herself cozying up with a shirtless Tanaka in a bathtub, holding red champagne glasses.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!!” she wrote in the caption, along with pink heart and champagne glass emoji.

February 18, 2017: Carey says she has a “boyfriend”

A few days later, Carey let it slip that she had a “boyfriend” in an interview.

“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,” she told the Associated Press, as reported by People. “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about my personal life. … Me and my boyfriend don’t want to do that.”

February 28, 2017: Carey and Tanaka share a kiss on Instagram

By February 28, 2017, Carey had shared an Instagram photo of her and Tanaka kissing.

“No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative ... it gets the people going!” she wrote in the caption, appearing to quote the 2007 movie, “Blades of Glory.”

March 2017: Tanaka celebrates Carey’s birthday on Instagram

On March 27, 2017, Tanaka shared an Instagram selfie of him and Carey lounging at a waterfront venue.

He and Carey were celebrating the singer’s birthday, which she prefers to call her “anniversary.”

“Starting the anniversary festivities in a relaxing chic environment,” Tanaka wrote in the caption.

April 2017: Carey and Tanaka briefly break up

The pair apparently briefly broke up in April 2017.

“The split happened very recently. Mariah ended it — everyone hoped that she would. She has better things to focus on,” a source told People at the time. “Mariah is happy. She is focusing on her kids and new music.”

“Bryan was a good distraction after she split from James,” the source added. “This is a good time for her to be single and focus on herself.”

July 2017: Tanaka joins Carey on a family outing

Within a few months, things seemed to be back on track between Carey and Tanaka.

On July 4, Tanaka and Carey shared footage from a day they spent swimming with sharks, joined by Carey’s twins.

“Shark day with #dembabies ... don’t worry, they’re gentle #NurseSharks,” Carey captioned her Instagram post.

October 2018: Tanaka and Carey celebrate Halloween in coordinating costumes

Carey and Tanaka often went all-out with their Halloween getups, and their 2018 costumes were no exception.

On Oct. 31, Carey shared an Instagram photo of her and Tanaka wearing matching medical costumes.

“Keeping it festive in Tokyo!” the singer wrote in the caption.

November 2020: Carey and Tanaka spend Thanksgiving together amid the COVID-19 pandemic 

Carey shared an Instagram post about her lockdown Thanksgiving with Tanaka in 2020.

“It’s Thanksgiving. We all know Thanksgiving’s been canceled on and off but what they can’t cancel is the spirit of the moment,” she said in a video in the post.

“It’s just us,” she added.

She then put her beau in the spotlight, asking him on camera, “Tell us about what you made tonight.”

“I made football happen,” he quipped.

“I don’t care about that. Only Colin Kaepernick,” Carey replied.

“And I made, I assisted you on the greens,” Tanaka said. “That was fun. And I made a little bit of green bean casserole.”

December 2021: Tanaka and Carey take a holiday trip to Aspen with her kids

A few days before Christmas in 2021, Carey shared an Instagram photo of her and Tanaka boarding a jet, along with the caption, “Aspen bound.”

Carey later shared a video of her and her twins swimming in a hot tub and then rolling in the snow, part of a winter tradition she calls “Roll Up!”.

December 2022: The couple posts another sweet holiday photo

Carey and Tanaka cozied up in a holiday photo for 2022, which Carey shared on Instagram the day after Christmas.

“Happy Boxing Day! ❄️🎄❤️ (Every day is a celebration! 🎉🎉🎁),” the singer wrote in the caption. Her carousel of photos also included a picture of her with the twins, as well as a photo of her standing in front of a Christmas tree.

March 2023: Tanaka calls Carey his “beautiful queen” on Instagram

On March 27, Tanaka celebrated Carey’s birthday on Instagram, sharing a black-and-white photo of him and the singer.

“This is one of my favorite pictures. Ever. Happy Anniversary my Beautiful Queen,” he wrote in the caption.

As of this writing, this was the last picture Tanaka shared of Carey on Instagram.

December 2023: Breakup rumors circulate

In late 2023, it began to appear that Carey and Tanaka had parted ways. The breakup rumors began after Carey planned to spend the holidays in Aspen without Tanaka, and after Tanaka was not spotted at Carey's shows in November, according to People.

Finally, on Dec. 26, Tanaka confirmed the split on his social media.

“With mixed emotions, I share this personal update regarding my amicable separation from Mariah Carey after seven extraordinary years together,” he wrote in a post. “Our decision to embark on different paths is mutual, and as we navigate these separate journeys, we do so with profound respect and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the invaluable time we’ve shared.”

Tanaka's post following what he called an
Tanaka's post following what he called an

He added that Carey's "dedication to her family and her commitment to her craft have inspired us during our shared journey."

"I want to express my love and appreciation for Mariah and her incredible children, whose warmth and kindness have enriched my life in ways words cannot capture," he concluded, asking fans for "understanding, privacy and respect."

"I eagerly anticipate continuing my journey, knowing my passion for inspiration, dance, and the creative arts will resonate in the unfolding chapters," he wrote.

Carey did not respond to's requests for comment as of Dec. 26.

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