In the last two years, Ariana Grande's career has been punctuated by both meteoric success and intense tragedy. She's completed major world tours and dominated music charts, but she's also experienced the loss of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and had PTSD from the suicide bombing that occurred at her 2017 Manchester concert. In a new Vogue cover story, the singer opened up about Miller's death and the attacks, and Grande's quotes about grief, in particular, are incredibly powerful.
In the interview with the magazine, released on July 9, the star spoke more candidly about the pain she's undergone in recent years than ever before. She opened up about the struggle of losing Miller in September 2018 to an overdose, the trauma of the Manchester attack (in which 23 people were killed), and the grief that she channeled into Thank U, Next, an album she revealed she barely remembered making because of how emotional she was at the time.
At one point in the interview, Grande even asked interviewer Rob Haskell: “Do you know a good therapist?” Her vulnerability is real, as shown in some of the singer's other moving, relatable quotes about from the interview.
“I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world."
Even though the Vogue interview is the most open Grande has been about her experiences in the last two years, she explained that she's still working to figure her feelings out. She's still learning what her boundaries are, both with her fans and herself, and process the trauma she's undergone.
"It’s hard to sing songs that are about wounds that are so fresh."
Just a few days before the interview was published, Grande broke down in tears while performing a song on tour, sharing on social media afterwards that she was still processing her pain. It was far from the first time the singer had become emotional while singing personal tracks on-stage, and in the interview, she revealed more about what it's like to rehash the great losses in her life through public performances.
"By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, f*ck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had."
Grande has been careful not to put rose-colored lenses on her relationship with Miller, who struggled with addiction. She admitted to Vogue that being with him required a lot of work, love, and exhaustion, as she spent much of the time worried about where he was and if he was safe. But that doesn't mean her relationship with the rapper wasn't one she cherished, or that he wasn't a good person.
“If I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) 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 revealed that in the days after Miller's death, her friends filled her New York City apartment. They knew that she needed to do something she loved so that she could find some semblance of comfort, so they got her into the studio. But as can sometimes happen to people when overwhelmed with grief, Grande now can't recall most of the time she spent recording what would become her most successful album, Thank U, Next.
"It’s not my trauma."
Grande has been careful to make sure that there's a clear line between her experience and those of the people who were directly impacted by the Manchester attack. When discussing the tragedy with Vogue, she explained how she struggles to think of how the pain she's felt as someone present, but not hurt, at the event compares to that of the families who lost loved ones.
“I have to be the luckiest girl in the world, and the unluckiest, for sure."
As an internationally famous star who's regarded as one of the great talents of her time, Grande is certainly blessed in many ways. But she's also dealt with deep tragedy and hardship, which understandably has made her conflicted over her lot in life.
"I have a lot to say that could probably help people that I do want to share, but I have a lot that I still need to process myself and will probably never be ready to talk about."
Grande seems to be healing, but as anyone who has experienced grief knows, there's no set amount of time that can bring clarity to loss.
“I can see this stronger, amazing, fearless version of myself that one day I hope to evolve into."
Thank U, Next stands as a testament to Grande's resiliency, but she's not done processing or healing. She wants to become an even stronger version of herself, both for her fans and her own peace. For anyone who has endured intense grief, it can seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but Grande has dedicated herself to reflecting and growing from the pain she's experienced.