In an interview with the Zach Sang Show, Grande said that her on-and-off relationship with Pete Davidson resulted in multiple versions of the “Thank U, Next” being recorded. The version fans currently sing along to has Grande name-dropping all of her exes — Davidson, Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, and Mac Miller — in the first verse. An unreleased version doesn’t.
"I was also trying to be protective," Grande said in the interview. "In my relationship [with Pete] at the time, things were like up and down and on and off, and so I didn't know what was going to happen and then we got back together, so I had to make a different version of it, and then we broke up again, so we ended up going with that [current] verse."
The absence of names isn’t the only difference between the versions either. Yet another version includes lyrics about her almost-marriage to Davidson. “There's a version where I was getting married, there's a version where I'm not getting married, there's a version with nothing — we're not talking about anything,” Grande said. So, if you’re keeping up, that brings the total number of versions to three!
Grande and Davidson reportedly became engaged in June after a whirlwind romance, before calling their relationship quits in October. Davidson and Grande have reportedly not spoken since then. Grande was turned away in December after news broke that Davidson was contemplating self-harm and she rushed to be by his side.
Later in the interview, Grande became emotional about the single and called releasing “Thank U, Next” a “big risk.”
"I understand that to a lot of people, I'm not a real person, or it's easy to just kind of like see me as like, a song or a picture or like a thing that kind of exists in their head, and they know what they know and that's it,” Grande said. “But at the end of the day, these are people and relationships. It's real shit to me. It is real life and I spent a lot of time with each of those people...it was, like, scary to put in a song."