Look Back at Mariah Carey's Relationship With Backup Dancer Bryan Tanaka Over the Years

E! News learned the singer became close with Tanaka amid problems with James Packer

By McKenna Aiello Oct 28, 2016 7:37 PMTags

Mariah Carey has found a shoulder to lean on in Bryan Tanaka

After revelations surfaced this week that the pop singer and Australian business mogul James Packer called off their engagement, E! News learned Carey developed a close bond with a longtime backup dancer amid turmoil in her personal life. An insider told us Packer was "not in the right mind for months," and when Mariah felt like an "abandoned woman," she turned to Tanaka during that time for extra support. 

Tanaka has stuck close to Carey's side in the aftermath of their surprising split, joining the Grammy winner for dinner at Nobu Thursday night, which according to a source, Packer just so happens to co-own.

And while the source insists it was during Mariah's ongoing Las Vegas #1 to Infinity residency that she grew closer to Bryan, the pair has known each other for at least a decade.

Mariah Carey & James Packer's Italian Vacation

Carey and Tanaka seemingly first crossed paths back in 2006, when the professional dancer, whose performed alongside the likes of BeyoncéRihanna and Iggy Azalea, joined her on the road for The Adventures of Mimi concert tour. 

Years later, Tanaka took to Instagram with a heartfelt reflection about the experience.

"This tour changed my life. I'll never forget how much I learned from everyone in this picture," he said of a group shot featuring Carey and other dancers. "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."


Mariah has a strong presence on Bryan's social media, with nearly every few uploads featuring a group or solo shot with the 46-year-old mother of two. Meanwhile, Carey's Instagram is littered mostly with snapshots of twins Monroe and Moroccan, Packer and other promotional pics, save for one photo with Tanaka from her European Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour in the spring of 2016. 

During that time, Tanaka suffered a sidelining injury that kept him from continuing the tour, but returned to the stage for as a principal member of Carey's Sin City show.

Over the summer, he made a cameo appearance in Carey's interview with Jimmy Kimmel, feeding the E! star grapes while she dished to the late night host from a bathtub. 


But as for allegations that Mariah and Bryan connected on a romantic level, and rumors that Packer initiated the split over Carey's money spending habits, a source tells E! News that was not the case. 

"There's no truth to the cheating or the spending," our insider says. "It's not about money and it's not about cheating."

Instead, a separate source revealed to us exclusively, "James is not in a mentally healthy place right now and he has not been present for her. Unfortunately, his absence and behavior was not a good situation for her, so she had to leave him."


Of that reasoning, a rep for Packer told E! News, "This is simply untrue."

Tanaka has yet to speak publicly about the nature of his relationship with Carey. Additionally, neither Carey nor Packer have publicly commented on the breakup.

Watch the series premiere of Mariah's World Sunday, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m., only on E!