For the first time since news of her relationship with her Wicked costar Ethan Slater broke in July, Ariana Grande has seemingly spoken out about the backlash.
In an Instagram Story posted on December 29, Grande shared a long end-of-year message about “one of the most transformative, most challenging, and yet happiest and most special years” of her life. She doesn’t directly mention her relationship with Slater (nor the infidelity rumors), but it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to understand what she’s referring to when she talks about “whispers” and “assumptions.”
“I have never felt more pride or joy or love while simultaneously feeling so deeply misunderstood by people who don’t know me, who piece whispers together and make what they want out of me and their assumptions of my life,” Grande wrote in part. “I have learned how much more important one of those things is than the other.”
The major reason Grande’s relationship with Slater (previously best known as Broadway’s Spongebob Squarepants) attracted so much online criticism is due to reports that they got together while Slater was still married to his ex-wife Lilly Jay. One source told Us Weekly in July, “Ethan sat Lilly down a few days before the news broke about him and Ariana and said that he wanted a divorce. Lilly never saw it coming!” However, another source told the outlet that both Grande and Slater were separated when their relationship began.
So far, this is the closest thing we’ve got to a response from Ariana Grande. The singer also said in her statement, “I have never felt more tightly held or fiercely protected by those who understand me (friends, family, and fans alike).”
She wrapped up her message on a positive note. “I am wrapping you all in a cocoon of love and wishing you a very happy, healthy new year.”