They say that love doesn’t cost a thing and that there aren’t any rules set in stone when it comes to love. Sometimes, some of your favorite celebrities fall for their backup dancers, which can leave you perplexed. Then you question their choices, asking yourself “what do they see in them?” Of course, it makes perfect sense that some celebrities date and sometimes even marry their backup dancers as they’re both in the same industry. However, you might think that most of these couples consist of a sugar son who relies on his sugar mama for financial purposes, and that could cause problems.
The truth is, workplace romances happen all the time. A workplace romance is considered to be a relationship between two people of the same organization. Mutual attraction exists, intimate affection happens, and both parties acknowledge that the relationship is more than just professional and platonic.
There are plenty of actors and actresses who met while working together on set, but this is also common among well-known singers and their backup dancers on stage. Well, who could blame them? Singers work with their backup dancers on a regular basis, which leads to hookups, relationships, and sometimes even marriages. Dancers are incredibly fit people who are flexible and skilled at multitasking. They usually have long, lean, and strong bodies. They’re also patient as it takes some time to learn new choreography, accomplish their goals, and wait for opportunities. From Jennifer Lopez to Ariana Grande, here are 15 celebrities who downgraded and dated their backup dancers.
15. Ashley Tisdale and Jared Murillo
The year is 2007 and the then 22-year-old actress, singer, and producer fell in love with her then 19-year-old backup dancer. During the High School Musical: The Concert tour, Ashley Tisdale met Jared Murillo while working on the set of High School Musical, and the couple dated for two years. According to Jared’s father, Alex, they were hopelessly in love and eventually started dating in November 2006.
Tisdale got her big break when she starred in the Suite Life of Zach & Cody as Maddie Fitzpatrick and achieved additional fame for playing Sharpay Evans in High School Musical. However, not much is known about Jared. He was just a backup dancer who appeared in her music video for her song “Be Good To Me.” Moreover, Jared was one of the primary dancers in the High School Musical: The Concert tour and competed in the 2006 U.S. National Youth Latin Championship with professional partner Lacey Schwimmer.
14. Ariana Grande and Ricky Alvarez
Following her split from Big Sean, Ariana Grande began a new romance with her backup dancer and longtime friend, Ricky Alvarez. At the time, she described herself as a very happy girl who had a healthy life and went on to say that that was all anyone cared to know about. She added that she was much better at making songs than telling people things.
Ariana was first linked to Ricky during the summer of 2015. That was around the same time Ricky appeared in the infamous “I hate America” donut-licking surveillance footage with Ariana. But a close friend and co-writer, Victoria Monet, revealed that Ricky was actually a pretty chivalrous guy. Victoria said that Alvarez inspired the name of the song “Moonlight” on Ariana’s most recent album, Dangerous Woman, which was released in 2016. Victoria also mentioned that the song was a great bookmark to the start of their relationship and added that Ricky called Ariana shortly after their first kiss.
13. Miley Cyrus and Marshall
While the actual relationship remains a mystery, Miley Cyrus forged down the path to become the next Britney Spears at the time. Just days after Britney hooked up with Kevin Federline, a then 15-year-old Miley reportedly dated a 22-year-old backup dancer named Marshall. Unlike Britney, Miley had the “oops” tag written on her forehead as she has to endure three more years before becoming legal.
Although Miley’s representative never commented on her alleged relationship with Marshall, the fact that the couple cuddled up against each other and several photos of their public display of affection surfaced on the Internet are proof positive that there was something going on.
Nobody has heard any updates on Miley and Marshall since the story first broke out in 2008, but many fans believe that Miley’s father, Billy Ray, gave the couple a piece of his mind. After all, not many parents would approve of their underage daughter cozying up with an older man and vice versa.
12. Perrie Edwards and Claudimar Neto
Perrie Edwards started dating singer and former One Direction member, Zayn Malik, in 2012. The couple became engaged in 2013, but officially broke things off in 2015. Perrie apparently didn’t waste any time getting back on the dating scene. As Little Mix closed out their six-month world tour for their third studio album, Get Weird, Perrie didn’t hold back on the final night. She wore black and blue sequined leotard with fishnet tights and knee-high boots. She got up close and personal with backup dancer Claudimar Neto, and the pair put on a raunchy display during the show.
Not only that, Perrie was snapped walking arm-in-arm with Claudimar after hanging out at the Maliki nightclub in London, England. It seemed like one of her Instagram photos ruffled a few feathers, particularly her ex-fiance, who posted a cryptic tweet saying, “I don’t want you to wait for me, I’m not coming home.” Perrie didn’t appear to be too bothered by the drama, though.
11. LeAnn Rimes and Dean Sheremet
LeAnn Rimes initially met her first husband, Dean Sheremet, after he was selected to become one of her backup dancers at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards. They went on their first date, and LeAnn confessed that Dean was the guy she wanted to marry. The couple married the following year and stayed together until 2009 when Dean filed divorce papers for dissolution of marriage. Their divorce was finalized in 2010.
It wasn’t just any divorce. LeAnn had an affair with her Northern Lights costar, Eddie Cibrian, who was married to reality television star and former model Brandi Glanville, which was the main reason why Dean left his country singer wife. As a result, Brandi filed for divorce against Eddie and continues to take care of their two sons. LeAnn later said that she took responsibility for everything that she has done in the past and added that she didn’t regret the outcome.
10. Geri Halliwell and Ivan “Flipz” Velez
Geri Halliwell began dating backing dancer Ivan “Flipz” Velez after meeting him on the Spice Girls‘ reunion tour in 2007. Both of them are fitness freaks who enjoy a quality workout together. Also, Geri got what she wanted as Flipz spiced up her love life. One of their friends has described the couple as a perfect match on paper. The couple went public with their relationship at the American Idol Gives Back campaign in Hollywood, California in April 2008.
There’s a common theme of a curse among relationships between famous musicians and backup dancers. Unfortunately, that was the case for Geri and Flipz. It has been reported that Geri ended the relationship after just six months of dating. Not only that, she did it in the most miserable way possible. She reportedly dumped Flipz over the phone because the spark just wasn’t there. As for Flipz, he thought they were strong together but apparently, they weren’t.
9. R. Kelly and Andrea Danyell Kelly
R. Kelly was married to backup dancer Andrea Danyell Kelly, better known as Drea, from 1996 to 2009. But most people didn’t know that R. Kelly was married at the time. The couple had three children—Joann, Jaya, and Robert, Jr. Moreover, their youngest daughter, Jaya, came out as a transgender man and subsequently changed his name to Jay in 2014.
Andrea is best known for being R. Kelly’s ex-wife and the mother of their three children. She’s more than just a family-oriented woman, though. In 2012, she made her reality television debut for the reality television series Hollywood Exes on VH1.
Andrea also created a filmography for herself. In 2013, she starred in the documentary The Big Dirty List Show: 50 Years of S*x and Music. In 2015, she starred in the drama film Before “I Do” as Breanna Taylor and made a cameo as a dance instructor in the comedy-drama film Chocolate City. She has been a public figure since her Hollywood Exes debut.
8. Justin Bieber and Elysandra Quiñones
Justin Bieber has been linked to some of the most attractive and sought-after females in the entertainment industry, so it wasn’t a surprise when Justin was spotted cozying up with backup dancer Elysandra Quiñones at a pub called The Square Pig and Pen in London, England. She’s a pretty cool person whether or not they hooked up with each other.
Justin and Elysandra were seen chatting with each other with the company of their friends, but they seemed to be in a world of their own. Elysandra was sporting a black vest while holding a cocktail using her right hand as she leaned towards Justin and whispered in his ear, which caused him to break out a huge grin. The pair enjoyed each other’s company as they continued sharing laughs that night.
Elysandra has worked with Justin since 2012. She performed with him on a nightly basis on the Believe tour and Purpose world tour. She also thinks that Justin is a super cool guy. That’s something that most of you would agree with.
7. Christina Aguilera and Jorge Santos
At the start of her career, Christina Aguilera fell for her backup dancer, Jorge Santos, in 1999. The couple dated for a little over two years before calling it quits in 2001. Christina has acknowledged that Jorge was one of her backup dancers, and the breakup stung because they were both each other’s first love.
You may not have heard about this, but Christina constantly talked to Jorge about how she wanted to settle down at the time. Jorge reportedly said that he was 18 and definitely not ready for that. He went on to say that they went out and drank together, so he’s not surprised to hear about her arrest with her future fiancé, Matthew Rutler, for public intoxication in West Hollywood, California. He added that he wasn’t sure if Christina truly supported his career.
6. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
When Britney Spears entered the pop music scene, she never could’ve predicted the amount of success she would earn. She also didn’t realize that there would be a lot of scrutiny that would be put on her relationships.
Britney is currently dating personal trainer Sam Asghari, but let’s take a stroll down memory lane and see whether you remember her past relationships and marriages. Following her abrupt split from pop star and former NSYNC member Justin Timberlake, she became a subject of controversy with two marriages—a 55-hour one to her childhood friend, Jason Alexander, and a three-year one to backup dancer Kevin Federline—and a publicized kiss to fellow pop star Madonna during the 2003 MTV Music Awards.
Britney had two sons with Kevin, but her parenting skills were really bad. In 2006, photos surfaced of Britney driving with her son Sean on her lap instead of the car seat. It has also been reported that Britney was often nude in front of her children at home. The couple officially divorced in 2007.
Kevin eventually opened up about his marriage to Britney. He met her through mutual friends at a club and immediately hit it off. He described the marriage as “overwhelming” despite receiving $20,000 per month in child support. He appears to just want to live a more normal life and take care of his children so that they can be happy.
5. Prince and Mayte Garcia
Prince was linked to many celebrities over the years. However, most people don’t know that he was married once. When he was 37, he married a 22-year-old backup dancer named Mayte Garcia on Valentine’s Day in 1996. The couple kept things on the down low as they wed in a private ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mayte gave birth to a son named Ahmir Gregory Nelson on October 16, 1996. Unfortunately, Ahmir was born with Pfeiffer syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting certain bones of the skull, and died a week later.
Prince announced the couple’s divorce in 1998. They eventually filed for divorce in 2000.
Mayte later confessed that she and Prince lost a pregnancy prior to the birth of their first son due to a miscarriage. She moved on with her life, dating Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee from 2000 to 2002. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her adopted daughter, Gia.
4. Madonna and Timor Steffens
The term for “cougar” hasn’t become completely extinct yet, thanks to Madonna. She certainly seems to have a type as she likes her men young and fit. After less than a month of splitting with 25-year-old choreographer and backup dancer Brahim Zaibat, she reportedly moved on to a new boy toy, a 26-year-old backup dancer named Timor Steffens.
Timor reportedly accompanied Madonna on a family skiing trip in Switzerland. Timor was also seen posing in a number of photos with Madonna and her 13-year-old son, Rocco, during the trip. Madonna also brought Timor to Rudolph Valentino’s New Year’s Eve party in Gstaad, Switzerland. One of the guests said that the chemistry between Madonna and Timor was pretty intense.
Timor’s Twitter bio says “ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡ ᴍʏ sᴘᴏᴛɪғʏ ᴘʟᴀʏʟɪsᴛ: http://bit.ly/dddplaylist INSTAGRAM: @Timorworld” and currently has 30,900 followers, which is surely due to increase. He clearly has a passion for health and fitness, just like Madonna.
3. Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka
After calling it quits with fiancé James Packer, Mariah Carey embarked on a new romantic relationship with choreographer and backup dancer Bryan Tanaka in November 2016. Since then, Mariah and Bryan have had an on-again/off-again relationship. The couple dated for five months and broke up, only to be found canoodling two months later.
Mariah and Bryan have worked together for many years. Bryan first took the stage with Mariah on her 2006 Adventures of Mimi tour. Bryan is originally from Washington state. He’s the oldest son of an American mother and a Japanese father. He has a younger brother named Danny Tanaka. He also earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do at age 12.
Not much is known about Bryan’s personal life, but he recently celebrated Fourth of July with Mariah and her twins—Monroe and Moroccan—in an unconventional adventure. The group swam with some sharks at Exuma Cays, Bahamas.
2. Jennifer Lopez – Cris Judd and Casper Smart
Jennifer Lopez began her career in 1991 as a backup dancer for the New Kids On The Block. That being said, she’s also in love with backup dancers.
Jennifer’s personal life has attracted copious amounts of attention. She was married to Cuban waiter Ojani Noa from 1997 to 1998. She began dating record producer and rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. The couple was arrested in connection with a shooting outside of Times Square in 1999. After leaving P. Diddy, Jennifer began a new relationship with backup dancer, Cris Judd. The couple was married from 2001 to 2002. Following her second divorce, she became engaged to actor and director Ben Affleck, but the couple split in 2004. She was then married to her longtime friend, Marc Anthony, from 2004 to 2014 and had a set of twins—Maximilian and Emme—in 2008.
Jennifer dated another backup dancer, Casper Smart, in an on-again/off-again relationship from 2011 to 2016. She even bought him a customized white Dodge Ram truck for his 25th birthday.
Jennifer’s currently dating former New York Yankees shortstop and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, which seems to be a fresh breath of air. He’s not a backup dancer, and he’s only six years her junior.
1. Mel B and Jimmy Gulzar
Mel B has three children from three different fathers. Those baby daddies include backup dancer Jimmy Gulzar, comedian and actor Eddie Murphy, and film producer Stephen Belafonte. It’s clear that Jimmy was Mel B’s first husband, so let’s take a closer look at the backup dancer.
Jimmy was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was a former national breakdancing champion. He was also trained in classical dance. He met Mel B during the Spice Girls’ Spiceworld tour in 1998. They were briefly married from 1998 to 2000. They had a daughter named Phoenix in 1999.
Apparently, the divorce didn’t end well. Jimmy has openly accused Mel B of being a narcissist due to the fact that she has always tried to put a wall between him and Phoenix. Jimmy added that he stood there like a rock to be there for Phoenix. However, Jimmy has every right to be concerned as Phoenix is nearing adulthood, and he’s legally in the United States now. He’s just looking out for his daughter.
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