Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next': All the the Exes She References… and the Ones She Doesn’t
After teasing a new song and album titled “Thank U, Next”, Ariana Grande surprised us all by releasing it just a half-hour before Saturday Night Live, making ex Pete Davidson think twice before referencing her in yet another awkward joke.
But rather than stooping to Davidson’s level, Grande released an empowering, shade-free song about how her experiences with her exes have led to her finding herself, as well as becoming the confident, independent (and dangerous) woman she is today.
Fans might have been expecting a song that would fuel the drama between her and Davidson, but it’s actually a sweet song where she expresses her gratitude towards them, including her late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. Grande acknowledges in the song that while these relationships brought along good and bad aspects into her life, she’s ready to close the chapter on her past loves and focus on herself.
Here's a guide to all the boys Grande's loved before.
Who are the exes Ariana Grande references on "thank u, next"?
Grande mentions all of her high-profile relationships that have been making rounds in the media since her rise to stardom. Of course, Pete Davidson is name-checked, with her poking fun at the idea that they almost got married. Grande also pays a touching homage to Mac Miller, saying she wishes she could thank him because he’s an angel.
She also looks back at relationships that happened years ago, including her short-lived romance with Big Sean (who she claims wasn’t a good match) and her former backup dancer Ricky Alvarez, who is rumored to be the one Grande wrote “Knew Better/Forever Boy” about.
Grande sort of confirms the rumors by singing that she “wrote some songs about Ricky” but now “listens and laughs.” Grande did say in a tweet that this song would be the opposite of “Knew Better/Forever Boy”, so there’s a high chance she meant it literally by singing that she no longer connects to the meaning behind "Knew Better."
Who are the exes she doesn't?
Not every ex was fortunate enough to get a “thank u” in the song, though. The singer’s first love Graham Phillips, who she dated for 3 years when they were part of the musical 13, is not mentioned at all. She also doesn’t mention YouTube comedian Jai Brooks or The Wanted singer Nathan Sykes, either. That doesn’t mean they weren’t important to Grande, but rather their relationships aren’t as recent, so Grande might just have wanted to focus on the relationships she’s had as an adult.
Is Ariana Grande dating someone new?
Grande sings about having met someone else who is a better communicator and gives her everything her exes failed to. So who’s this mystery person? Turns out, Grande is embracing self-love and “dating” herself. Sorry, boys.
Plus I met someone else
We having better discussions
I know they say I move on too fast
But this one gon’ last
Cause her name is Ari
And I’m so good with that
Have any of her exes addressed "thank u, next"?
Pete Davidson deactivated his social media accounts and deleted everything on his Instagram, but he did comment on their breakup on SNL’s Weekend Update segment, shortly after Grande released the song. Rather than cracking another awkward joke about their failed engagement, Davidson addressed the breakup in a serious tone.
“I know some of you are curious about the breakup. But the truth is, it's nobody's business and sometimes things don't work out and that's okay. She's a wonderful, strong person and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world," shared the SNL star.
As for Alvarez and Big Sean, Grande tweeted that both of them actually heard the song before it came out.
Neither of them has publicly spoken about the song yet.