Content Warning: This article discusses sensitive subjects such as divorce, terrorism, drug use and death.
Ariana Grande has established herself as a household name over the eight years she has been active in the music industry. She is well known for her high notes and successful albums, namely “Thank U, Next” and “Dangerous Woman.” However, what many fans do not discuss is her incredible resilience in the face of trauma.
I have been a huge fan of her and her music ever since “Yours Truly” came out in 2013. Since then, I have stayed up late for every album release, spent a great amount of money on merchandise, and even attended three of her concerts. It is safe to say that I am a very loyal fan. While I absolutely love her music, her personality is what I truly fell in love with.
It is no secret that Ariana has been through many hardships. She experienced a terrorist attack at her concert and the death of a former romantic partner. What makes Ariana stand out to me in this regard is that she always comes out of these situations stronger and wiser.
Ariana’s parents, Joan Grande and Edward Butera divorced when she was only 9 years old. She was raised primarily by her mother, whom she is still very close to. Her young age at the time of the divorce most likely made the situation worse as her mind was still very impressionable.
Ariana did not let her childhood trauma define her, she grew stronger from it. She now has an incredible relationship with both of her parents. Though she has always been closer to her mother, she still loves her father very much. On his Instagram, Edward told a fan that they FaceTime regularly.
The Manchester Attack
On May 22, 2017, Islamist extremist suicide bomber Salman Ramadan Abedi blew himself up at Ariana’s concert in Manchester, United Kingdom, killing 22 people and wounding over 100. The attack was documented as the United Kingdom’s deadliest terrorist attack.
Tthis event took an enormous toll on Ariana’s mental and physical wellbeing. In 2019, she uploaded a picture of her brain scan indicating that she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ariana also took about a year-long hiatus from creating music and uploading to social media.
Despite losing beloved fans to a hate-driven attack, she still managed to grow more resilient and closer to her fans. Her hit song “No Tears Left to Cry” sends the message that Ariana can handle any obstacle that comes her way with a positive attitude. Additionally, in the summer of 2018, she held a slumber party with fans in Los Angeles, California named the “Sweetener Sessions” after her newest album at the time. During this party, select fans were able to listen to her new music with her and talk to her on a personal level.
Mac Miller’s Death
Ariana dated the late rapper Mac Miller for about a year after being friends since 2012. The two were extremely close, posting many intimate photos to social media expressing their love for each other. Though they split in 2018, the two remained close friends who supported each other’s careers.
On September 7, 2018, Mac sadly passed away in his home in San Fernando Valley, California from a drug overdose. This absolutely shattered Ariana’s heart as he was very special to her. At the time, she was engaged to comedian Pete Davidson; however, Mac’s death caused Ariana so much pain that they eventually called it off. In her song “ghostin” she mentions that she still has dreams about Mac and feels guilty for missing him while in a relationship with Pete.
From personal experience, I can tell you that losing a loved one at a young age brings about intense pain. I can only imagine the impact this traumatic experience had on Ariana’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Despite this, she was able to heal tremendously and eventually find new love. She is now happily married to Los Angeles-based real estate agent Dalton Gomez.
Ariana Grande has always been a role model to me, not just because of her success, but because of her strength, confidence and resilience in the face of extremely traumatic events. As someone who has experienced various traumas throughout my life, I look up to her and greatly admire the way she has handled hardships in her life. I wish Ariana all the best in her career, marriage and personal growth.