It’s been about 10 days since Ariana Grande and her husband announced their split and shortly after that, the confirmation of Ariana’s relationship with her Wicked co-star Ethan Slater (who was also married and has a baby).
Messy AF, despite the forensic-style timelines her team has been pushing about separation dates and distance. As Lainey wrote, Ariana’s ex Dalton Gomez is not thirsty and that is lucky for her as he doesn’t seem to want to engage at all with press. I’m sure he’s had plenty of opportunities and he’s kept quiet.
Then there’s Ethan, who is not a household name. There’s been some sleuthing around the timeline thanks to photos put up by other people in the Wicked cast and honestly this is hardly CSI. According to reports, the two were sloppy and doing stuff like holding hands between takes. (Which reminds me of Brange on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but I digress.)
This week Ethan filed for divorce and his wife Lilly Jay is talking: “[Ariana’s] the story really. Not a girl’s girl,” Jay exclusively tells Page Six. “My family is just collateral damage.” She also said, “The story is her and Dalton” but there’s no elaboration – I’ll get back to this.
First off, Lilly Jay - good for f-cking you!! “Not a girl’s girl” is all that needs to be said because every woman knows what that means.
There’s a very funny quote in the story (because Page Six would have absolutely gone to Ariana’s reps to ask for comment) and it’s an anonymous source who says Lilly is “calling every news outlet to get this story out” and that the two had been separated for two months before he started dating Ariana.
Let’s take this one step at a time: let’s say she’s calling outlets. What do you think Ariana’s reps are doing, sipping tea and eating crumpets? They probably have a war room set up over this. I see you Scooter f-cking Braun! His fingerprints are all over this defense. Ariana is a superstar so her story is the default story that will be heard/believed/accepted. Lilly is refusing to be left in the dust. She will not be Catherine FitzGerald standing at the gates with her sh-t-eating-grin husband.
And Lilly didn’t just spill to Page Six, but she also went to TMZ (guess Scooter’s cozy relationship with them only goes so far) and she is watching with “horror” as this story plays out and she is a private figure who doesn’t want to be scrutinized.
The best case scenario for Ariana and Ethan is that people buy the “we both left our spouses BEFORE we started dating” but… who is buying that? Do you think Ariana kept her side of the street clean? And Ethan? Working together, rehearsing together and living in the same city far from their spouses? As the kids say, this is sus. Majorly sus.
If they did start on set in London, imagine how they framed that to their spouses. “It’s work”, “we’re just friends”, “I have to be here for my job.” Missed FaceTime calls and cold text exchanges. Then there’s the real assholes who go with “you’re paranoid”, “you’re jealous”, “you’re controlling” while they are engaging in an emotional or physical affair.
Lilly’s comment about Dalton has piqued my interest though because Ariana got the story out first that they were “lovingly” separating and working towards friendship but Lilly implies otherwise. Was Dalton as blindsided as she was, or maybe in a different way? Something is up there because Lilly wants privacy and it would not benefit her to bring another private person into it. She must feel some sort of way to mention him by name and say he is the story. What happened with Dalton? We might never know.
This whole fiasco has reminded me of when Miranda Lambert had an affair with musician Evan Felker. It was super messy and I wrote about it a few times because Evan’s wife Staci was all over it on social media, calling Miranda out and posting alleged phone calls from her. The gist is that after a short time on text, Evan left to open three shows for Miranda and came back 15 days later and served Staci with divorce papers. Miranda claimed him publicly (hand-holding pap shots), then brought him on tour and subsequently fired him pretty shortly after that. Evan went back to Staci and they got remarried (!!!) and have a baby. Evan’s career seems to just be getting back on track with his band.
The easy question is, “How can you take someone back after that?” My theory is about the celebrity bubble. Most of us, in everyday life, are not exposed to celebrities at work. And while everyone likes to think they would play it cool, many people lose their minds in the presence of a famous face. I’ve seen women line up to throw themselves at Justin Bobby from The Hills like five years after the show ended. It can put people into a kind of trance and when a celebrity invites you into their rarified world and shines their light on you, it would be very hard to resist. When the light goes out and reality sinks in (and the celebrity has discarded the civilian), it’s a harsh comedown. This doesn’t excuse personal accountability or make it right but these situations are extraordinary. That’s why people have so-called “hall pass” lists – the whole premise is that it will never happen in a million years.
Is running off with a celebrity a “temporary insanity” defense for cheating? That’s up to the screwed-over spouse. Let’s check on Ethan Slater in six months and see where he’s at. And Ariana? She’ll be just fine. She’s too big to fail. Her team will make sure of it.