It’s no secret that the past year and a half have been especially tough for Ariana Grande. Since the deadly bombing at her May 2017 Manchester concert that left her struggling with panic attacks and other PTSD symptoms, she dove headfirst into and then called off an engagement, and also had to mourn another ex-boyfriend. As she recently summed up the seemingly endless stream of misfortunes: “can i pls have one okay day. just one. pls.”
Despite it all, however, Grande has remained relentlessly positive, releasing hopeful songs like “No Tears Left to Cry” and “Breathin’,” as well as what might be the most generous breakup track of all time. Throughout the ups and downs, the pop star has found solace in her music, her family members, her therapist, and, perhaps most importantly in recent weeks, her ever-present, always supportive group of friends. Here’s a refresher on whom Grande counts among these close pals, and how they’ve helped her say “Thank U, Next” to every curveball life has thrown her way lately.
The Sweetener singer’s recent outpouring of love for her friends began around the end of October, about two weeks after she and Pete Davidson reportedly split. At the time, she posted photos and videos on her Instagram Story of her toasting glasses of wine with her longtime friends Alexa Luria, whom she met in elementary school; Victoria Monét, with whom she’s been collaborating since her debut album, 2013’s Yours Truly; Doug Middlebrook, her tour and production manager; and Aaron Simon Gross, with whom she starred in the musical 13 on Broadway, in 2008. “I have no words to describe how much I love and am eternally grateful for these human beings who constantly help me turn lemons into lemonade and literally heal me and put me back together,” she captioned one of the posts.
A few days later, on Saturday, November 3, Grande released “Thank U, Next,” which was written by Grande, Monét, and another of her friends, Tayla Parx (née Taylor Parks, another of Grande’s longtime collaborators). In tweets she posted that day about the song and her upcoming album of the same name, Grande revealed that she’d called in her “best friends” to collaborate on the project. Since then, she’s continued to shower love and gratitude on her pals via sweet replies to their own tweets, including one on Thursday in which she begged Monét to come to her house since “i need to hug my best friend.” In another tweet on Thursday, Grande shared a screenshot of a text conversation with her cousin and close friend Courtney Chipolone, about Chipolone’s “meat head dude” neighbors’ love of “Thank U, Next.”
And Grande and her friends showed off their tight bond offline this week too. On Wednesday, she brought Parx and Monét with her to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the trio dressed up as Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton’s characters in The First Wives Club to perform Grande’s latest single.
To cap it all off, on Thursday night, Parx and Monét arranged for a mariachi band to come to Grande’s house and serenade her with a rendition of “Thank U, Next,” while surrounded by the duo, Middlebrook, and a few more of her friends, including Grande’s former Victorious costar Matt Bennett and music director Alfredo Flores. “Yoooooooooo i can’t believe my friends got me a mariachi band last night. that shit was wild. i think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me,” Grande tweeted, also sharing photos and videos of the squad dancing deliriously on her patio.
On Friday morning, Grande tweeted—in an almost complete reversal of her beg only a few weeks earlier for “just one okay day”—“life may not be what u expect but it ain’t that bad.” Not when you’ve got friends that’ll hire a mariachi band to play your record-breaking new single, it ain’t!
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