‘Hugo’ has provided evidence from 2001 which has now been verified in print.
Bromance refers to an affectionate but non-sexual relationship between two men and OED editors are currently researching the term, with an intention to publish in a future update. Various claims have been made for the word’s first use.
One was that it appeared in a 1990s skateboarding magazine Big Brother, but we contacted the editor and so far we haven’t been able to confirm the reference.
So far, the earliest definitive evidence we have found is from the Albuquerque Journal of February 2004, but anecdotal evidence suggests it dates from before this date.
Can you find any printed examples before February 2004?
Posted by OED_Editor on 22 March 2013 14.53