The Shady Side Of Ariana Grande

Pint-sized vocal powerhouse Ariana Grande has been through a lot. She admitted she suffers from anxiety following the terrorist attack at her May 2017 concert in Manchester, U.K., which killed 22 and injured more than 500. In September 2018, her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died of a suspected drug overdose; he was just 26 years old. As a result, Grande's understandably received a lot of good will and sympathy from the public. That said, before and after those heartbreaking tragedies, the former Nickelodeon starlet didn't have the most stellar reputation.

From cheating rumors plaguing her relationship to reports of diva demands to DonutGate to allegedly wishing death on her own fans, the perpetually ponytailed chanteuse has been widely reported to have a severe attitude problem and a seriously shady track record. Behold, the shady side of Ariana Grande. (It's the side that doesn't have the dimple.)

You better get her 'good side'

Rumors about Ariana Grande's many diva demands came to a head in September 2014 after several Australian outlets reported she actually canceled all of her planned photoshoots with local media because she didn't like how the shots were coming out. According to, Grande demanded she only be photographed from her left side and never in natural light. Photogs conceded, but after reviewing images taken by the first outlet in line, mX newspaper, the singer reportedly decided she wasn't happy with her outfit. She left — and never came back. What's more, the mX photog alleged he was tailed by security after he refused to delete the images he'd already shot.

An unnamed insider confirmed the reports, telling Page Six, "She kind of speaks down to everyone around her." They added that while many A-listers have a 'good' side, their teams aren't as demanding or forceful as Ari's. "Instead of coming off like an assertive woman who knows what she wants, it makes Ariana seem like a toddler throwing a tantrum and her parents handling the dirty work for her," they slammed. 

E! News host Giuliana Rancic also backed up the murmurings, sharing her own rocky AMAs encounter with Grande who was overly concerned about her angles and demanded to take Rancic's spot in front of the camera. "I feel like 'bing', elbow in my side," Rancic recalled, per The Sydney Morning Herald. "I'm like, 'What's going on?' and they push me to the other side."

She allegedly cheated for a showmance

When Grande first broke out of her Nickelodeon bubble, she dated Jai Brooks of the Janoskians, a YouTube group famous for sexually harassing strangers and calling it comedy. When they split in 2013, Brooks took to Twitter to accuse Grande of cheating with Nathan Sykes, who was then a member of boy band The Wanted. [Sykes] interfered with my life and did not respect my relationship," Brooks wrote (via the Daily Mail). "...Nathan if you read this, when you hold her hand you better hold it tight because you are holding my world."

Grande and Sykes teamed up for "Over and Over Again" and "Almost is Never Enough." Their romance conveniently lasted from just before "Almost is Never Enough" debuted to just after it flopped on the charts, at which point Grande briefly reunited with Brooks. Another sign that her fling with Sykes may have had more to do with publicity than passion? In November 2018, he was the only high-profile beau she excluded from her lyrics in "Thank U, Next." Not that he minds being omitted. Sykes told TMZ it was "good" he wasn't mentioned, admitting he hadn't even heard the song yet.

She dated Big Sean while he was still engaged

Not long after Ariana Grande and Jai Brooks broke up for good, she began dating Big Sean, with whom she collaborated on her smashes "Right There" and "Problem." That relationship had a sketchy beginning. They allegedly first got together when Big Sean was still engaged to Glee star Naya Rivera. "We'd been fighting for five straight days while he was traveling, and then on the one day that he was back in L.A., he said he didn't want to see me," Rivera recalled in her memoir Sorry Not Sorry (via Us Weekly). "I walk in [to Big Sean's house], go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? ... It rhymes with 'Smariana Schmande.'"

Grande and Big Sean split in April 2015, around the time she began working on a new album.

The infamous doughnut licking scandal

On America's birthday, July 4, 2015, Grande and her then-backup dancer boyfriend, Ricky Alvarez, went to a doughnut shop, where she was rude to employees, sassing, "I need a doughnut professional in here." That's bad enough, but it gets worse: Grande was caught on camera licking a tray of doughnuts for which she hadn't paid. When an employee brings out a fresh tray of huge pastries, Grande says, "What the f**k is that? I hate Americans. I hate America."

When she was called out on it later, she tweeted, in part: "I am extremely proud to be an American ... I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words. As an advocate for healthy eating, food is very important to me and I sometimes get upset by how freely we as Americans eat and consume things without giving any thought to the consequences that it has on our health and society as a whole ... I apologize if I have offended anyone with my poor choice of words."

Time to make the apologies

Despite her social media mea culpa, plenty of folks were still furious about the way she'd behaved in that doughnut shop. In fact, she may have even lost an opportunity to perform at the White House because of her antics, reported Fox News. 

Grande apologized again in a video (via People), lamenting: "I feel like seeing a video of yourself behaving poorly that you have no idea was taken is such a rude awakening ... I was so disgusted with myself. I shoved my face in a pillow and wanted to disappear, but instead I'm going to come forward and own up to what I did and take responsibility." The pop star apologized yet again on Good Morning America, telling the show, "There's no excuse, or there's nothing to justify it, but I think that as human beings we all say and do things that we don't mean at all sometimes, and we have to learn from it." She added, "I think one of the biggest things I learned from that was what it feels like to disappoint so many people who love and believe in you, and that's an excruciating feeling

She made a bad impression on the frontman of The Cab

In 2011, Alexander DeLeon, lead singer of The Cab, left no room for debate about his assessment of Ariana Grande. He tweeted, "Hope none of my fans ever have the displeasure of meeting @ArianaGrande. Most stuck up, disrespectful person I've ever met in this industry." He didn't expound on exactly what she did to get him so hot under the collar, but it's safe to say it probably had to pretty bad.

McCurdy: 'You sucked the life right out of me'

Sam & Cat ended after just one season in 2013 — and Grande's friendship with co-star Jennette McCurdy may have been a casualty of the show's cancellation. McCurdy skipped out on the Kids' Choice Awards in March 2014, citing alleged "mistreatment" from Nickelodeon, and Grande pointedly omitted McCurdy from a long list of thank yous she posted once the end of Sam & Cat was officially announced. When McCurdy insinuated that she lost a friend, many assumed that pal was Grande. 

"We aren't better friends because being friends with you takes the 'better' out of me," McCurdy wrote. "In fact, I might possibly be the worst version of myself when I'm around you ... Where did I go? As far away from you as I can get. You won't be hearing from me anymore because sweetheart, being a friend to you was doing so much more for you than it was doing for me. You sucked the life right out of me, and I want my life back." 

Of course, the rumor about McCurdy and Grande's demise may be just a bunch of hogwash because a year later, McCurdy insisted their friendship was "impenetrable."

That time she wished her fans would die

An industry insider was shocked when Ariana Grande actually wished death upon a group of Arianators in September 2014. "She did autographs and pics and was all smiles until she got into the elevator," the source told the New York Daily News. "And as soon as the doors shut she said, 'I hope they all f**king die.'" The same insider also noted that Grande charged $495 for a photo op with fans on her Honeymoon Tour — but that turned out to be the price for a photo op with groups of four to six fans, not individuals. The insider scoffed, "Really? Bieber, Miley, Britney, Katy Perry all did individual pics when they sold these packages."

In August 2014, a dad named Dan O'Connor, posted a blog about how rude Ariana Grande allegedly was to his daughters at a meet and greet. He explained that his daughter won a contest by drawing a picture of Grande, but supposedly, the singer was not impressed. "[Grande] approached her fans without a smile — just an icy look as she toyed with her hair ... She spent perhaps 15 seconds with each [of the prize winners]," the father wrote. "That is not an exaggeration. They took an approved photo with her and that was it." When one of his daughters snapped a photo of her sis giving Grande a drawing, O'Connor said the pop star forced them to delete the picture. "Then, Ariana Grande walked away from her prize-winning fans without even saying goodbye."

Did she take a cheap shot at Selena?

At a Jingle Ball concert in December 2013, Selena Gomez had a mini-meltdown onstage after her backing track and microphone failed, exposing her lip syncing to the audience — and then to the world when that awkward moment hit YouTube. Ariana Grande, who also performed at the show, also had mic trouble later on that night. According to International Business Times, Grande shook off her troubles with, "At least you know I wasn't singing to a track!" Grande later denied via Twitter that she was throwing shade at Gomez, but that didn't stop many from filing her comments under "sick burn."

Her breakup from Mac Miller was sketchy

Ariana Grande dated rapper Mac Miller for about two years, until May 2018, when TMZ reported that they'd split amicably and would remain friends. A source told People they split just after the Coachella Festival that April. Grande later griped on Twitter that their relationship was "toxic," and she exposed Miller's struggles with sobriety to the world. "I am not a babysitter or a mother," she said. "...blaming women for a man's inability to keep his s**t together is a very major problem." She added that she would "pray" that Miller "figures it all out."

Just weeks after news broke about her split from Miller, Grande moved on in an exceedingly public way with Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson. The timeline of that relationship is a bit murky. In early June 2018, E! News reported that the jeweler from whom Davidson purchased Grande's engagement ring claimed the SNL star came to him in early May 2018 to get the massive diamond but refused to say who it was for. Grande denied cheating on Miller, reported People, but the speed of her engagement to Davidson must have stung for Miller — especially if his substance abuse was a reason for the split, considering Davidson has been open about his own drug use.

She was hypocritical after ditching Davidson

In news everyone saw coming except the people involved, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson split after about four months together, and it got shady fast. In a Saturday Night Live promo released Nov. 1, 2018, Davidson poked fun at himself and pretended to propose to musical guest Maggie Rogers. There was no mention of Grande or shade against her, just self-deprecation ... but she still got mad.

Grande wrote in a since-deleted tweet: "For somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh. Thank u. Next." Sources told TMZ Grande felt "betrayed" because she and Davidson supposedly promised to not address or discuss the breakup, but a week later, she released "Thank U, Next" — a song that mentions Davidson by name — just 30 minutes before SNL aired. Davidson took the high road, saying nothing about Grande on the show's "Weekend Update" segment, other than that she's a "wonderful, strong person."

You never know when she'll be a no-show

In November 2015, Grande was scheduled to perform on the U.K.'s Jonathan Ross Show. She never showed, messing up the entire taping. Host Ross told the crowd (via The Mirror), "Ariana is in town. We were told she would be in the car at 6 p.m. to be here for 7 p.m., then it got to 7 p.m. and she was not in the car — 7.30 p.m. and she is still not in the motherf***ing car. So I don't think we can hold out much hope. She was booked but the lazy little f***er has not come." Neither Grande nor her reps apologized or offered any sort of explanation for standing everyone up.

She also canceled on a big night for her manager Scooter Braun that just so happened to coincide with her split from Pete Davidson in October 2018. Grande was supposed to sing at an event honoring Braun's wife and the F**k Cancer support group she founded. "Someone that I am very close to could not be here today because of things that she is going through," Braun told the crowd at the benefit (via People). "She couldn't be here today, and while I was frustrated, being a manager, my wife, being who she always is, said to me, 'She needs this time.'"

She's been accused of appropriating black culture

Critics accused Ariana Grande (pronounced Grand-ee, by the way) of appropriating black culture by using African American vernacular English (AAVE) and copious amounts of tanner.  

In a December 2018 sitdown with Billboard, Grande, who was born Ariana Grande-Butera to wealthy Italian American parents, noticeably changed her voice, leading detractors (via The Independent) to accuse her of using a "blaccent." A twitter user included the footage in a montage video comparing Grande's speech from her early fame to now, accompanied by the accusation: "Ariana Grande has fake tanned her skin to the extreme, enlarged her lips, and fakes a stereotyping Blaccent ... She's a white woman in brown/blackface."

The same month, Patti LaBelle lovingly called Grande a "white black girl" at the Billboard Women In Music Awards — an event Grande likened the event to her "quinceañera," a 15th birthday celebration in Latina culture, despite not being Latina.

In January 2019, Grande dropped "7 Rings," in which she raps, "'You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it." She posted an Instagram story with the lyrics and a screenshot of a comment reading, "White women talking about their weaves is how we're gonna solve racism." She then apologized, commenting to The Shade Room, "I think her intention was to be like ... yay a white person disassociating the negative [stereotype] that is paired with the word 'weave.'"

As for her tan, Grande admitted in a December 2016 video with Madonna it's "fake," cracking, "It's all an illusion."

She's accused of stealing '7 Rings' from several artists of color

Ariana Grande is also accused of appropriating the work of artists of color in "7 Rings."

In the track, she raps, "My wrists, stop watchin,' my neck is flossin' / Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin' / You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it / I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it." Rapper Princess Nokia posted a since-deleted video comparing Grande's song to her own song, "Mine," which contains very similar lyrics, celebrates women of color's pride in their hair extensions, and was released on Nokia's 2017 album 1992 Deluxe.

"Does that sound familiar to you? 'Cause that sound really familiar to me," Princess Nokia said. "Hmmmm ... sounds about white."

Soulja Boy also accused Grande of stealing his flow from "Pretty Boy Swag," tweeting, "Give me my credit. Period," adding, "You're a thief." 2 Chainz also pointed out that the hot pink house and visuals in the "7 Rings" music video were extremely similar to those used in his video for "Door Swangin'," while listeners noticed the song had similarities to 2 Chainz's track "Spend It" as well.

Some of the alleged lifting was so brazen that DJ Tesher created a mashup of "7 Rings" and all the songs Grande was accused of plagiarizing for her track. So far, no reports have been able to get a comment from Grande's camp over her highest form of musical flattery.

Inside her public feud with a Grammy producer

In February 2019, Variety reported that Ariana Grande had backed out of her Grammy performance and wouldn't even attend the ceremony after she and show producers couldn't agree on what songs she'd sing. Apparently, they didn't want her to do "7 Rings," her then-new single, by which a source said she felt "insulted." The cancellation came on the heels of Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich telling AP that they had been in talks for about a month but plans fell apart because of Grande. "When we finally got the point where we thought maybe it would work, she felt it was too late for her to pull something together for sure," he alleged. 

Well, Grande disagreed. She put the blame right back on Ehrlich and said he was spreading lies about her. "I can pull together a performance overnight and you know that, Ken," she tweeted, per Variety. "It was when my creativity & self-expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend." In another message, shared by AP, she said she let producers choose from three songs, none of which they liked, and, in the end, she didn't feel like they wanted to truly collaborate with her. "It's just a game y'all.. and I'm sorry but that's not what music is to me," she slammed.

Did she and Ethan Slater have an on-set affair?

Ariana Grande has been accused of cheating in several relationships and in July 2023, her alleged infidelity made headlines yet again. First, ET confirmed that Grande and husband Dalton Gomez had officially split after two years of marriage. "Their relationship has been rocky at different points, and they've had trouble making time for each other with scheduling issues," an insider claimed. 

However, things got messy a few days later when TMZ confirmed that the singer was in a new relationship with her "Wicked" movie co-star, Ethan Slater. He, for his part, had been married to Lilly Jay since 2018 and didn't file for divorce until after news of him and Ari broke. While a source told ET "they didn't start dating until both were broken up with their significant others," not everyone was buying it. Sources claimed that Grande and Slater (who welcomed a son with Jay in August 2022) first got together on-set a few months earlier, which would place the start of their romance before their publicized splits.

What's more, an insider told TMZ that Jay was surprised and heartbroken by the Slater-Grande romance and that it was made all the more painful because they all used to spend time together. "Ariana and Dalton went on double dates with Ethan and Lilly several times," a source told MailOnline. As for Jay, she didn't mince words when she told Page Six that the singer is "not a girl's girl" and added, "My family is just collateral damage."