The Untold Truth About Ariana Grande


| LAST UPDATE 07/23/2023

By Chloe Becker

Ariana Grande's talent is unlike any other, but her career hasn't been all smooth sailing. From her Nickelodeon debut to her recent split from husband Dalton Gomez, here's a look at her incredible journey.

Musical Sensation

You might know her as the bright and bubbly pop star with a high ponytail, but Ariana Grande's proven to be much more than that. She's been singing ever since she was a child, with a dream of becoming a star.

Ariana GrandeAriana Grande
Getty Images via Kevin Winter

After performing in a children's theater, landing a role in a Broadway musical, and then making her TV debut on Nickelodeon, Grande finally pursued her musical passion. And let's just say her career's been far from uneventful.

Before Fame

Long before she made her way to the spotlight, Grande grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. She was born on June 26th, 1993, to her loving parents, Joan and Edward. "My family is eccentric and weird and loud and Italian," Grande shared, as her childhood home helped develop her passion for entertaining.

Childhood Ariana GrandeChildhood Ariana Grande
Instagram via @arianagrande

Ariana and her brother, Frankie, were immediately drawn to the karaoke machine, and the entire family was always singing. "The soundtrack was Whitney, Madonna, Mariah, Celine, Barbra," her mother recalled. "She was so intrigued by how pristine and precise these women were."

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Born To Be a Star

As a child, Grande carefully studied how other stars performed, hoping this would help with her own technique. Grande mimicked Celine Dion's iconic voice and Judy Garland's body language. "I would stand in front of the TV and mimic her body movements," Ariana revealed. "I was fascinated."

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Getty Images via Walter McBride

She also performed in countless productions at her local children's theater, waiting for something bigger to come along. Her family knew that she would make it big; It was just a matter of when. And at 14-years-old, Grande landed a role in her first Broadway musical.

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Was Steered Away From Music at First

While Ariana's had a passion for singing ever since her childhood, she was once told to hold off on pursuing that dream, hence why she gave acting a try. "I never really saw myself as an actress," Ariana revealed. "But when I started talking about wanting to make R&B music at 14, they were like... 'This is never going to work.'"

TV Ariana GrandeTV Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Kevin Winter

'"You should audition for some TV shows and build yourself a platform and get yourself out there because you're funny and cute, and you should do that until you're old enough to make music you want to make,'" she was told. So, young Ari set her sights on Nickelodeon, where she would land her first TV role.

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Nickelodeon Debut

In 2010, Grande landed her first TV role in a Nickelodeon series called Victorious, starring Victoria Justice. Even though she wasn't the main character, Ariana was a memorable cast member, playing Cat, the girl with the high-pitched voice and bright pink hair.

Nickelodeon Ariana GrandeNickelodeon Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Larry Busacca/KCA2010

And viewers were already loving young Ariana's acting, singing, and dancing in the series. Her success landed her a lead role in the spinoff series, Sam & Cat, where she costarred with another Nickelodeon supporting actress, Jennette Mccurdy. This show aired in 2013 but only lasted for one season.

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Hid Behind Her Character

After Sam & Cat was canceled in 2014, Ariana opened up about her experience on Nickelodeon, specifically, playing the role of Cat. "I want to thank Dan Schneider for allowing me to play such a special, beautiful character who I hid behind for so long," she shared.

Playing Cat Ariana GrandePlaying Cat Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Micah Smith

"What I mean by that is when I was younger, people loved Cat so much I used to pretend to be more like her," Grande revealed. "It took me so long to be brave enough to separate myself and show people how different we actually are." However, her future endeavors would help Ari grow into the artist we know her as today.

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Enemies in the Workplace

Apparently, during her Nickelodeon reign, Grande had some conflicts with her costars. In 2014, Jennette McCurdy, Grande's costar in Sam & Cat, didn't attend Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards, tweeting, "I was put in an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation (many of you guessed what it is) and I had to look out for me."

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Getty Images via Jeff Kravitz

"I chose to not go because sticking up for what is right is what is fair is what my mom taught me is ALWAYS the most important thing," she said. This occurred after rumors spread that Ariana was paid more than Jennette. After Sam & Cat was canceled, Grande expressed her gratitude for the show and the cast but left out McCurdy. 

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Threw Shade at Victoria Justice

Grande also left the network on bad terms with Victorious star, Victoria Justice. "I worked with someone who told me they'd never like me," Ariana claimed in 2013. "But for some reason, I just felt like I needed her approval. So I started changing myself to please her." Many suspected this statement was about Justice.

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Getty Images via Paul Archuleta

When Victorious was eventually canceled, some fans were convinced it was because of Grande's spinoff show, Sam & Cat. "Sweetheart, the only reason Victorious ended is because 1 girl didn't want to do it," Ariana tweeted. "She chose to do a solo tour instead of a cast tour." 

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'The Way'

After leaving her Nickelodeon career behind her, Grande finally pursued her musical passion. In 2013, she released her first single, The Way, with the late rapper Mac Miller. This song was an instant hit, and Grande's career took off after that; She was awarded New Artist of the Year in 2013.

The Way Ariana GrandeThe Way Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Michael Tran

Her future would be filled with many more awards and other accomplishments, and music lovers worldwide couldn't get enough of Ariana's voice. And this collab with Mac Miller was only the beginning, as these two would eventually take their relationship to a whole new level.

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Criticized by Mayim Bialik

In 2014, Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik wrote a blog post titled 'The Problem With That Giant Billboard of Ariana Grande,' where she shared her thoughts on Grande's face making it onto a billboard. "There is one for Ariana Grande, and I will go ahead and admit I have no idea who she is or what she does," Bialik tweeted.

Mayim Bialik Ariana GrandeMayim Bialik Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Lester Cohen

"And if she has a talent (is she a singer?), then why does she have to sell herself in lingerie?" Mayim continued. This aggravated some of Grande's fans, but apparently, it was all a joke. "Nothing personal against Ariana Grande or sexy women," Bialik later tweeted. "My @Kveller post was social commentary! Have a sense of humor!"

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Doughnut-Licking Scandal

On July 4th, 2015, Grande and her former boyfriend and backup dancer, Ricky Alvarez, walked into a doughnut shop, and she was supposedly quite rude to the employees. "I need a donut professional in here," she said as she waited for her order to be filled. But that wasn't all.

Doughnuts Ariana GrandeDoughnuts Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Kevin Mazur

When the employee brought her doughnuts to the counter, Grande supposedly licked the pastries without paying for them and said, "What... is that? I hate Americans. I hate America." When the video from the shop's surveillance camera hit the internet, people weren't very pleased with Ariana's behavior.

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Apologized for Her Behavior

After the infamous doughnut-licking scandal, the artist shared a video where she apologized for her behavior. "I feel like seeing a video of yourself behaving poorly that you have no idea was taken is such a rude awakening," Grande admitted. "I was so disgusted with myself. I shoved my face in a pillow and wanted to disappear."

Apologizing Ariana GrandeApologizing Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Hector RETAMAL

"But instead, I'm going to come forward and own up to what I did and take responsibility," Grande continued. "There's no excuse, or there's nothing to justify it, but I think that as human beings, we all say and do things that we don't mean at all sometimes, and we have to learn from it."

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Romance With Mac Miller

When Grande collaborated with Mac Miller on The Way back in 2013, they kept their relationship strictly professional and friendly, as Grande had a boyfriend at the time. However, everything changed in 2016 after she and Ricky Alvarez broke up. Then came their collaboration on My Favorite Part, where sparks were flying.

Mac Miller Ariana GrandeMac Miller Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Jeff Kravitz

"I wrote that love song long before I saw her," Miller shared. "We made that song and started becoming close again." Slowly but surely, Ariana and Mac started posting photos together, and fans suspected romance. Their chemistry was undeniable, but unfortunately, this wasn't happily ever after for either of them.

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Had a Crush on Pete Davidson From the Start

While she was dating Miller, Grande had her first public interaction with comedian Pete Davidson on Saturday Night Live in 2016. "We never exchanged numbers or anything, we weren't even friends for the longest time, but I had the biggest crush in the whole world on him the whole time - like forever," Grande later told Jimmy Fallon.

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Getty Images via Jeff Kravitz

"Like, my friends used to make fun of me for it. I'm not a crush-y person, I don't have, like, crushes on people I don't know," Grande added. "But I left [Davidson's writing room at SNL], and I jokingly said to my tour manager, I was like, 'I'm marrying him. A hundred percent.'" But Miller was still in the picture.

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Strictly Friendship

When Grande and Davidson first started working together, they were both in relationships with other people; Ariana was still dating Mac Miller, and Pete was planning to marry his then-girlfriend. However, both of these relationships would eventually end, making room for a new love story.

Pete Davidson Ariana GrandePete Davidson Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Robert Kamau

On a trip to New York in 2018, Grande told her manager, Scooter Braun, to give Davidson a message. "I said, 'Tell him I said hi,' and he texted me, 'Yo, it's Pete,' and we were inseparable," she revealed. Eventually, Ariana and Pete would fall hard for each other, but it wasn't all smooth sailing.

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Blamed for Mac Miller's Actions

Once Pete and Ariana started cozying up, some people began to blame Grande for Mac Miller's actions. "Mac Miller totalling [sic] his G wagon and getting a DUI after Ariana Grande dumped him for another dude after he poured his heart out on a ten song album to her called the Divine Feminine," one person tweeted.

Mac Miller Ariana GrandeMac Miller Ariana Grande
Getty Images via FOX

They called this "the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood." But Ariana was not having any of this; "How absurd that you minimize female self-respect and self-worth by saying someone should stay in a toxic relationship because he wrote an album about them," she replied.

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The Ring Said It All

Once Ariana and Pete started officially dating, things moved relatively quickly. They made things Instagram official, and Davidson even got a tattoo of his new girlfriend's initials. Shortly after, Grande was spotted wearing an engagement ring, and she was indeed planning to marry Davidson.

Engaged Ariana GrandeEngaged Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Nicholas Hunt

The couple continued sharing life updates together on social media, including their new apartment, matching tattoos, and birthday celebrations. There's no doubt about it, Grande and Davidson appeared to be a match made in heaven; For a while, at least.

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Parting Ways With Pete

In September of 2018, only months into her engagement, Grande received some devastating news. Her former boyfriend and longtime friend, Mac Miller, had taken his own life. So, she and Pete took some time away from the spotlight to mourn the loss. Shortly after, there were suspicions that they'd broken up.

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Getty Images via Mike Coppola

Both Ariana and Pete were spotted covering up tattoos that represented their relationship. Davidson later joked about their engagement in an SNL promo, and evidently, Grande was not pleased. "For somebody who claims to hate relevancy, u sure love clinging to it, huh," Grande tweeted about Davidson. "Thank u, next."

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'Thank U, Next'

This breakup led to one of Grande's incredibly iconic albums, Thank U, Next. Before it was released, Ariana shared that this would be the beginning of a whole "new chapter," characterized by "gratitude, growth, embracing our paths bumps n all." The music video featured Ariana flipping through a scrapbook of ex-boyfriends.

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Getty Images via Christopher Polk

However, she wasn't shaming them, as she emphasized that Thank U, Next was the "opposite of a diss track." Grande sang, "Even almost got married/ And for Pete, I'm so thankful." Ariana was proud of how she could move on after learning from and loving some of these men.

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Kanye Accused Ariana of Using Him To Promote a Song

In December of 2018, Kanye West reignited his ongoing feud with Drake on Twitter, right before Grande released her single, Imagine. So, she tweeted, "Guys, I know there are grown men arguing online rn but Miley and I dropping our beautiful, new songs tonight, so if y'all could please just behave for just like a few hours."

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Getty Images via Rich Fury/VF20

Evidently, Kanye wasn't pleased by Ariana's tweet. "All of this foolishness weighed on my mental health, so @ArianaGrande, you know I got love for you, but until you're ready to really make sure everyone's ok don't use me or this moment to promote a song," Kanye tweeted back to her.

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Offended by Grammys Producer

While many artists looked forward to the 2019 Grammys, Grande decided not to attend. According to the Grammys producer, Ken Ehrlich, "She felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure." Ehrlich claimed that he'd had multiple conversations with Grande about performing at the show, but she just wasn't prepared.

Ken Ehrlich Ariana GrandeKen Ehrlich Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Kevin Winter

"And it's too bad," Ken added. "She's a great artist. And I'd love to get her in the show this year." But apparently, Ehrlich wasn't being truthful, as Ariana would eventually share. "I've kept my mouth shut, but now you're lying about me," Grande tweeted.

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Accused Ken Ehrlich of Lying

"I can pull together a performance overnight, and you know that, Ken," the artist continued. "It was when my creativity & self-expression was stifled by you that I decided not to attend." Grande said that she'd offered to perform a few different songs at the show, but there was no "collaboration" or "support" from the producers.

Grammys Drama Ariana GrandeGrammys Drama Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Patrick McMullan

"It's about collaboration. It's about feeling supported," Ariana shared. "It's about art and honesty. Not politics. Not doing favors or playing games," she added. "I'm sorry, but that's not what music is to me." So, Grande chose not to attend the 2019 Grammys, with pride for standing up for what she believed in.

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Soulja Boy Called Her a Thief

After Grande released her single 7 Rings in 2019, many listeners compared it to Soulja Boy's Pretty Boy Swag, and he wasn't happy about this. The rapper took to social media to express his disappointment about the situation. "You're a thief," he tweeted. "Lol, stop stealing my swag. Word."

Soulja Boy Ariana GrandeSoulja Boy Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Santiago Felipe

"I just feel like she should have reached out, and we coulda did this song," said Soulja Boy. He didn't take any legal action; He instead spoke about what could've been. "She coulda called me," he wrote. "We could've got into the studio and done something ten-times as dope, you know?"

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James Charles Said She's the "Rudest Celebrity" He'd Ever Met

In one of his YouTube videos in 2018, beauty influencer James Charles called Ariana the "rudest celebrity" he'd ever met. He made this claim after Ariana had invited him backstage after one of her concerts. Apparently, she didn't make the best first impression, and shortly after, she unfollowed James on Instagram.

James Charles Ariana GrandeJames Charles Ariana Grande
Instagram via @jamescharles

Once Charles noticed this, he asked Grande if he'd done something wrong, and she replied, "Hey babe, I saw a lot of angry tweets from my fans, and I would never want to disappoint them, so I unfollowed." Supposedly, James responded to express his disappointment, but Ari never wrote back.

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Doesn't Like Doing Interviews

In 2020, Grande opened up to DJ Zane Lowe about living in the public eye. "I stopped doing interviews for a really long time," she admitted. "I felt like whenever I would get into a position where somebody would try to say something for clickbait or twist my words or blah, blah, blah, I would defend myself."

Interviews Ariana GrandeInterviews Ariana Grande
Getty Images via AxelleBauer-Griffin

"And then, people would be like, 'Oh, she's a diva,' And I was like, 'This doesn't make any sense,'" Grande continued. She also explained that even within her career, away from the public eye, she was often given a hard time when making her own decisions that other people in the industry disagreed with.

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TikTok Doppelganger

When TikTok practically took over the internet in 2020, one particular user, Paige Niemann, caught Grande's eye. What made Paige stand out was her uncanny resemblance to Ariana. In her viral video, Niemann mouthed the words to Grande's former Victorious character, Cat's, lines.

Doppelganger Ariana GrandeDoppelganger Ariana Grande
Instagram via @paigeniemann / Getty Images via Larry Busacca

With a perfectly high ponytail and winged eyeliner, fans had to do a double-take. "I'm really disturbed that this isn't Ariana Grande," one user wrote. But Paige's wish came true; She eventually heard from Grande. "I was so shocked that she would notice me," Paige told Teen Vogue. "I was shaking. I was, like, really happy." 

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Why Cat?

While the artist was amazed by the resemblance, Ariana couldn't understand why Paige uploaded this particular video. Years earlier, she'd shared that she was leaving her Victorious character in the past, so why bring her back on social media? "I just wonder whyyyy the Cat voice/ dialogue," Grande wrote.

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Instagram via @paigeniemann

"I am sure she is the sweetest sweet sweetheart forreal!! But it's definitely [sic] bizarre seeing people blend the two worlds lmao," Ariana continued. Even though Grande wasn't pleased with the video, Niemann couldn't believe that she'd heard from her idol, which essentially put her in the spotlight.

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Standing Up for Women

In October of 2020, Grande released her sixth studio album, Positions, with an incredibly meaningful music video. In the video, Ariana starred as the President of the United States, holding press conferences, making decisions in the Oval Office, and serving her country.

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Getty Images via Kevin Mazur/One Love Manchester

Grande aimed to emphasize the importance of women voicing their opinions in America. She's spoken about the unfair treatment of women before, especially in the music industry. She's been scrutinized for making certain decisions regarding her career, "Whereas I don't see that with men," she shared.

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Open With Her Fans

Through all of the ups and downs in her career, Grande's always been grateful for her fans' support. She's also done her best to engage with them in any way she can. "I've been open in my art and open in my DMs and my conversations with my fans directly," she revealed.

Fans Ariana GrandeFans Ariana Grande
Getty Images via John Shearer

"I want to be there for them, so I share things that I think they'll find comfort in knowing that I go through as well," she continued. Ariana also revealed that there are certain things she chooses not to share, as they're extremely personal, "But they know that," she said. "They can literally see it in my eyes."

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Meeting Dalton Gomez

Sparks began flying between Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez back in February 2020 at a casual LA hangout, Bar Louie. The romance was confirmed by Us Weekly a month later, but it wasn't until May 2020 that Grande officially let the cat out of the bag, featuring Gomez in her Stuck With U music video.

Ariana Grande Dalton GomezAriana Grande Dalton Gomez
@arianagrande via Instagram

An insider told Us, "Ariana sees something different in Dalton…" A real estate agent turned knight in shining armor, Gomez is said to be everything Grande has been looking for - protective, attentive, and chivalrous. It certainly seemed like this love story was going to be one for the books...

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Tying the Knot

In an intimate ceremony in their Montecito, California home, Ariana and Dalton said "I do" with less than 20 people witnessing their love. Their wedding in May 2021 was confirmed by a rep for the pop princess, who told PEOPLE, "The room was so happy and full of love." Awww!

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@arianagrande via Instagram

"The couple and both families couldn't be happier," the rep went on to say. An insider shared post-nuptials, "They're a great fit together," adding that Dalton's composure amidst Ariana's stardom is incredibly grounding for her. "He's young but mature and knows what he wants out of life."

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Staying Low-Key

People close to the couple have described Ariana's other half as "very hardworking and focused," and revealed that he prefers to keep things low-key, shying away from the spotlight. A source shared, "He isn't impressed by celebrities. He is perfect for her." They certainly seemed like a match made in heaven.

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@arianagrande via Instagram

Despite their high-profile status, they've managed to maintain a private romance, with Grande offering rare glimpses into their world. Last November, she treated fans to a sneak peek of their life together, sharing a sweet snapshot of Gomez on Instagram. Fans were intrigued by their relationship - but, little did they know…

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Spotted Ringless

Currently filming the screen adaptation of Wicked in London, Ariana sparked intrigue when she was spotted ringless during a Wimbledon outing. Fans immediately began to speculate, and some suspected her marriage was going through a rocky phase. But this wasn't the first time the pop star had been seen without her wedding bling...

Ariana Grande Wimbledon separatedAriana Grande Wimbledon separated
Karwai Tang / Contributor via Getty Images

Last August, she shared a makeup tutorial on TikTok sans ring, instantly setting the rumor mill into overdrive. However, Grande was quick to quash the speculation, saying, "I'm just not wearing my wedding ring, it's getting cleaned. I'm not getting a divorce before you start, don't." But it seemed there was more to the story…

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Announcing Their Separation

Indeed, TMZ recently reported the couple's love story has hit a roadblock, with distance playing the villain. Ariana's UK filming schedule has led to a long-distance marriage with Gomez, a LA-based luxury real estate agent. A source revealed to PEOPLE, "She was happy in Los Angeles… She wanted to make a life there with Dalton."

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@arianagrande via Instagram

Apparently, Gomez's demanding career made it difficult. Despite everything, Grande speaks fondly of her ex, saying he was her "No. 1 fan." A source shared they've "been quietly and lovingly working on their friendship" post-split. Will they find a way back to each other, or is this the final curtain call on their love story?

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A New Love Interest?

It didn't take long for our question to be answered. Post-split, Ariana is now reportedly romancing her Wicked co-star, Broadway heartthrob Ethan Slater, according to insider sources. The sparks flew on the set of the film adaptation of Wicked, where Grande is set to enchant us as Glinda and Slater is set to portray Boq.

Ethan Slater Ariana GrandeEthan Slater Ariana Grande
Dominik Bindl / Stringer via Getty Images

Despite all the rumors circulating about their new relationship status, both stars have remained tight-lipped, with reps yet to comment. TMZ was the first to spill the beans on this budding romance. As they say, the show must go on, and it seems love is in the air for these two talented stars.

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Her Story Continues

Regardless of what happens next in Ariana's love life, there's no doubt that Grande was born to be a star, and she indeed has the voice of an angel. From performing in musicals to becoming a Nickelodeon actress and eventually becoming an award-winning artist, she's certainly made her mark on the world.

Future Ariana GrandeFuture Ariana Grande
Getty Images via Kevin Winter

Even her iconic high ponytail and vibrant dresses hold meaning; "That feels like this exaggerated version of myself. It protects me," she shared. Whether she's on or off the stage, Ariana's music continues to tell her story, and clearly, this beauty has a lot to say. Chances are, Ariana has a lot more in store for us!

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