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The Meaning Behind Billie Eilish’s “Wildflower” Lyrics Has Us All Sobbing

Billie Eilish is hitting fans hard and soft with her new album. The lyrics on Hit Me Hard and Soft’s fifth track, “Wildflower,” describe thinking about your current partner’s ex the whole time you’re in a relationship with them. Naturally, the song has everyone screaming, crying, and throwing up all over X and TikTok. Here’s what the heartbreaking lyrics from “Wildflower” actually mean.

In the first verse, Eilish takes an outside perspective on her current partner’s last breakup. She sings, “Things fall apart / And time breaks your heart / I wasn’t there, but I know / She was your girl / You showed her the world / You fell out of love and you both let go.” As far as reasons for breaking up go, the lack of blame or drama that comes with falling out of love makes it one of the hardest explanations to cope with.

In the pre-chorus, Eilish sings, “She was cryin’ on my shoulder / All I could do was hold her / Only made us closer until July / Now I know that you love me / You don’t need to remind me / I should put it all behind me, shouldn’t I?”

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s break it down. Eilish reveals that the person she helped cope with the breakup wasn’t her current partner, but their ex. She and Eilish were friends — that is, until Eilish started dating her friend’s ex in July. Her now-partner has moved on, but Eilish can’t get past her broken friendship. She confirms her guilt in the chorus with lyrics like “But I see her in the back of my mind all the time” and “Did I cross the line?”

As her relationship progresses, Eilish continues to think about her ex-friend — specifically, what she was like as a girlfriend to their mutual partner. Eilish admits, “I’d never ask who was better / ‘Cause she couldn’t be / More different from me / Happy and free in leather” in the second verse, and “Every time you touch me, I just wonder how she felt.” 

This isn’t a foreign thought for anyone who’s been in a relationship. By a certain age, you kind of assume that your partner’s hooked up with people before. It just hits a lot harder when you actually know who they’ve been with. 

Eilish is haunted by the thought that her partner knows it too. In the bridge, she asks, “Do you see her in the back of my eyes?” When her partner cries on Valentine’s Day, Eilish confirms that neither of them is over their ex.

So, who’s the ex-friend in question? Fans are convinced that “Wildflower” is about Eilish’s longtime friend Devon Lee Carlson. Eilish dated Carlson’s ex-boyfriend, The Neighbourhood frontman Jesse Rutherford, from October 2022 to May 2023, which tracks with the timeline Eilish presents in “Wildflower.” Need more proof? The word “wildflower” never actually appears in the song, but Carlson happens to co-own a phone case brand called Wildflower Cases

In October 2023, Eilish and Carlson walked out of Kendall Jenner’s Halloween party hand in hand. It looks like they’ve patched things up now that Rutherford is out of the picture. Still, the feelings Eilish sings about in “Wildflower” are totally valid, especially since they seem to have been written toward the end of the relationship.

If you’ve ever dated, flirted with, or even crushed on your friend’s partner (ex or not), maybe you should get some fresh air. Do some yoga. Journal. Do whatever you need to do to process your feels. You could also get some catharsis by making TikToks like these fans did.

I’m taking my daily walk a little early today.

Fabiana Beuses is an entertainment journalist at Her Campus, where she interviews celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. She previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU and as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern. She graduated from Florida State University with double majors in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media) and a minor in Film Studies. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste-testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.