AP Photo/Kin Cheung
The third time just may be the charm for Mariah Carey.
The Grammy-winning artist is engaged to Australian business mogul James Packer, E! News having exclusively confirmed Thursday night that Packer had popped the question in New York.
And while there's the general "yay for love" glee to go around, we're also engaging in an extra existential fist-pump for the bride-to-be—because judging by the clues, a lasting marriage could be more than a sweet, sweet fantasy for Mimi this time around.
She first met Packer in Aspen—where the rich and famous go to play in the snow—and sparks later flew in summer 2014 when they reconnected at the Hollywood premiere of Hercules.
"We were talking and laughing and people were getting mad at us and stuff like that. So we hit it off," Carey recalled on The Steve Harvey Show in November, to which the host replied, "Ain't he lucky."
But it was more than luck that swept Mariah Carey off her feet. Whether or not their engagement qualifies as "whirlwind" (we've seen whirlier), there is every indication that Carey has at last found the perfect man for her.
First of all, let's linger a bit on the M-word. Man. Packer is a 48-year-old father of three and—sure, while age is technically just a number—Carey, a 45-year-old mother of two, deserves a grown-up in her life, someone who's not just trying out his man-legs for the first time.
When Packer accompanied Carey on her first trip to Israel last summer, a source told E! News, "It was more a spiritual journey than anything. He is aware she has the world at her fingertips, but he likes to find things that she has never experienced."
It takes a guy who's, frankly, got his s--t together to be able to impress a woman who's been a global superstar for more than half her life. Let's just say, Packer's a guy who's got his s--t together.
The executive chairman of entertaining and gaming behemoth Crown Resorts Ltd. is worth $3.5 billion, according to Forbes' most recent estimate. He padded his portfolio with $1 billion in 2012 when he sold the pay-TV company he inherited, Consolidated Media Holdings, to News Corp.
Money isn't everything, of course, and the more of it you have the more lawyers you need; but Carey, who reportedly earned $27 million last year, has her own fortune and is used to a certain lifestyle. And, we're guessing, so is Packer. So all the better that he gets it and is unlikely to be fazed by his fiancée's penchant for fanciness.
"They get along amazingly and their communication is always fluid and easy," another source shared with E! News last June, adding that "wants to spoil her and her children every minute he can. He feels she only deserves the best."
Jet-setting lifestyle aside, Packer may be a superstar in the financial world, but presumably quite a few Mariah fans heard of him for the first time when he started dating the diva—and that probably suits him just fine. Yet while Packer may not be a so-called Hollywood celebrity, his wealth has forced him to adjust to life in the spotlight and under the microscope. Which, obviously, is good, because marrying Mariah will ensure that there isn't any lack of interest in what he's up to anytime soon.
But because he and Carey have historically operated in very different circles, there's less chance for unconscious competition between spouses, not to mention the kind of one's-up-while-the-other's-down and who's-worth-more headlines that inevitably muddy the marital waters. However, he also co-owns a production company with Carey's longtime friend turned matchmaker Brett Ratner, so he's perfectly well-versed in showbiz speak as well. Win-win for the happy couple.
"It's hard for me to have best friends and not want to introduce them," Ratner reflected to The Hollywood Reporter in November. The filmmaker also predicted, "They're going to be together for a while."
As tends to be the case, though, timing truly is everything—in all sorts of ways—when it comes to Mariah and James.
Packer isn't the first successful grown-up Carey has come across in her life. Her first husband, Tommy Mottola, was the head of Sony Music Entertainment when they tied the knot, not exactly a schlub. But while much is often made of how ready the man is to commit, women aren't all automatically born with marriage on the brain. Carey was only 24 when she said "I do," and her career was just taking off. For a variety of reasons, they weren't built to last.
And second hubby Nick Cannon wasn't a bum, either. The multi-talented star was about as busy as could be, career-wise, and he and Mariah were super into each other when they swapped vows in 2008 (and renewed them five times), but even he admits now, at the ripe old age of 35, that he might not be a marriage kind of guy.
So perhaps James Packer is the man whom Mariah's life path has been leading her to all this time.
Though both were conceivably on the rebound when they first started dating—Carey and Cannon were separated by mid-2014 while Packer's divorce from second wife Erica was finalized at the end of 2013—the fact that they found each other so relatively quickly and are up for taking the plunge again is actually a big check in the plus column.
It means they share similar values! They both want to be in a relationship, they believe in marriage and, at this point, they have perspective. They both know that the world won't end if for whatever reason it doesn't work out between them.
Not enough can be written about the importance of being on the same page.