SYDNEY • United States pop star Mariah Carey and Australian casino tycoon James Packer are engaged to be married, according to friends who said yesterday that they are over the moon for the lovebirds.
The couple have been dating for several months and celebrated New Year's Eve at billionaire Packer's Crown Casino in Melbourne, where the singer took to the stage to perform before an intimate audience that included his mother.
"I'm so excited to be in Melbourne with James for New Year's Eve," the husky-voiced singer reportedly said at the fete.
A close friend of the couple confirmed the upcoming nuptials to Agence France-Presse and said she is "over the moon that James has found such happiness with Mariah".
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Packer proposed to the singer in New York on Thursday.
Sources close to his family said "the family is overjoyed that they have found each other", the newspaper reported.
"Mariah has made James a very happy man. She is a very special person and the family wholeheartedly approves," it added.
E News entertainment website described her engagement ring as "breathtaking" and said the rock weighed in at 35 carats.
Carey, famous for her five-octave range, was previously married to rap artist and actor Nick Cannon, with whom she had fraternal twins.
Her five-year union to legendary music producer Tony Mottola ended in divorce in 1998.
The singer, who is about 45 but whose date of birth is a matter of dispute, is best known for smash pop hits Hero, We Belong Together and Someday.
Packer, 48, has three children from his marriage to his second wife, Erica Baxter. He runs a worldwide gambling empire Crown, one of Australia's largest entertainment groups.