Ariana Grande, her big hat, and tiny dog, Toulouse, are gracing next month's cover of Vogue, and the 26-year-old singer is using the opportunity to finally open up about the death of her ex-boyfriend and friend, Mac Miller.
Miller died at 26 from an apparent overdose in September 2018, and Grande has been quietly dealing with the grief and shock of his unexpected passing since. But while she’s shared many tributes to the rapper, whom she dated from September 2016 to May 2018, in the form of social media posts and songs off her album, Thank U Next, Grande has not publicly spoken about her loss in length until now.
“People don’t see any of the real stuff that happens, so they are loud about what they think happened,” she says of the public’s initial reaction to Miller’s death. “They didn’t see the years of work and fighting and trying, or the love and exhaustion. That tweet came from a place of complete defeat, and you have no idea how many times I warned him that that would happen and fought that fight, for how many years of our friendship, of our relationship. You have no idea so you’re not allowed to pull that card, because you don’t fucking know.”
Grande is referring to a tweet that she sent in the days after his death, defending her contributions to their relationship that grew increasingly complicated as Miller continued to fight his “demons,” as she says. Friends also told Vogue that she had spent a majority of her Dangerous Woman tour trying to keep tabs on Miller to make sure he wasn’t on a “bender” while she was performing for fans.
With those dynamics in play, Grande says she felt like the “glue” in their relationship. “He was the best person ever,” she says, “And he didn’t deserve the demons he had. I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming . . . less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”
Her grief led her to the studio, where she ended up cranking out 10 hit songs. That time in her life still feels like a blur because she was “(a) so drunk and (b) so sad.”
“It’s pretty all-consuming,” she tells Vogue of her current state of grief. “By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck.”