Ariana Grande is the second most followed person on Instagram.
At 26, she’s done something only she and The Beatles have. Her high ponytail is so iconic a seconds-long clip of her swooshing it was seen nearly four million times in 12 hours after it was posted on social media.
But behind the fame and fortune, Ariana Grande was “so drunk” and “so sad” she can’t remember making her smash album Thank U, Next, she has revealed.
That was part of a chain of dark events that befell Grande in the past two years, the depths of which she revealed in an interview as cover girl for August’s American Vogue.
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thanks for allowing me to be in the background of toulouse’s first Vogue cover @voguemagazine photo by Annie Leibovitz story by Rob Haskell 🖤 thank you to the incredible @tonnegood @thejoshliu @hannah_murray1 @sergiokletnoy
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“I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation,” Grande – who dated Miller for two years before their May 2018 breakup – said of what Vogue called her “fever dream” recording session.
“But if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was so drunk and so sad.
“I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board.”
Grande’s friend Tommy Brown was the producer on Thank U, Next and confirmed “we were drinking a lot of champagne and, I think, doing a lot of therapy”.
Before that, her therapy and a way of healing from the Manchester tragedy, when 23 people died at her concert, was her surprise relationship and engagement with Davidson, 25.
“It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him,” she said.
“I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff.”
Grande admitted she’s now single for the first time in her “entire” adult life.
“I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to,” Grande said, calling that “this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this sh-t.”
What lesson did she learn? “I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me.”
Despite that realisation, Grande struggled with whether to tour after Thank U, Next dropped in February and landed the No.1, 2 and 3 songs on the US Billboard charts.
Only The Beatles had done that before, in 1964 with Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist and Shout, and Do You Want to Know a Secret. (Grande’s verbatim reaction on Twitter? “wait what”.)
“I was researching healing and PTSD and talking to therapists, and everyone was like, ‘You need a routine, a schedule’,” she said.
“Of course because I’m an extremist, I’m like, OK, I’ll go on tour!” she told Vogue.
“But it’s hard to sing songs that are about wounds that are so fresh. It’s fun, it’s pop music, and I’m not trying to make it sound like anything that it’s not, but these songs to me really do represent some heavy sh-t.”
Now on the road for her Sweetener world tour until October 16, Grande has broken down crying on stage and can’t play Ghostin’ Live, a song about Miller.
Still, she’s on her way back.
“Ariana’s an open book,” her friend Miley Cyrus told Vogue of the singer’s emotions and resilience.
“It’s a reminder that music can be our greatest healer.”