The “7 Rings” singer, 25, said in an interview on the Zach Sang Show that the pair’s broken engagement affected the song, which features a line about the Saturday Night Live star, 25.
In the song, she references Davidson as well as her exes Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez and the late Mac Miller, but said that she had recorded an alternate version without their names before deciding to release the name-check lyrics in November.
“I was also trying to be protective,” she said. “In my relationship [with Pete] at the time, things were like up and down and on and off, and so I didn’t know what was going to happen and then we got back together, so I had to make a different version of it, and then we broke up again, so we ended up going with that verse.”
“There’s a version where I was getting married, there’s a version where I’m not getting married, there’s a version with nothing — we’re not talking about anything,” she added. “But we all knew that the first version was gonna be the version we ultimately went with.”
The singer, who got engaged to the comedian in June after just weeks of dating, also hinted in the interview that she and Davidson are no longer in touch. Grande, who previously tweeted that Sean and Alvarez had heard “Thank U, Next” before it was released, said in the new interview they both “loved it.”
“Everyone that I am still in touch with has been very supportive of it,” she said.
Grande got emotional as she said it was “a big risk” to call out her exes. It was “a very scary thing to do, because it is my life,” she said. “I understand that to a lot of people, I’m not a real person, or it’s easy to just kind of like see me as, like, a song or a picture or like a thing that kind of exists in their head and they know what they know and that’s it. But at the end of the day, these are people and relationships. It’s real s–t to me. It is real life and I spent a lot of time with each of those people … it was like scary to put in a song.”
Davidson has recently spoken about his ex in his stand-up act, quipping in his New Year’s Eve show that Grande is a “diabolical genius” for naming him and her other exes in her song. He has since moved on with actress Kate Beckinsale.
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