Ariana Grande admits she felt ‘deeply misunderstood’ as she reflects on tumultuous year

‘One of the most transformative, most challenging, and yet happiest and most special years of my life,’ singer says in reflective Instagram post

Amber Raiken
New York
Saturday 30 December 2023 10:11 GMT
Related: Ariana Grande teases new music project

Ariana Grande has addressed some of the “assumptions” that have been made about her amid her romance with Wicked co-star Ethan Slater.

The 30-year-old took to her Instagram Story on 29 December to reflect on the last year.

She shared a series of photos from each month of 2023, some of which included shots from the set of the movie musical adaptation of Wicked. Grande stars as Glinda in the upcoming film, alongside Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba.

Along with her photo dump, Grande included a lengthy message about the mixed emotions she’s felt throughout 2023 to her Instagram Story.

“One of the most transformative, most challenging, and yet happiest and most special years of my life,” she wrote. “There were so many beautiful yet polarised feelings. I’ve never felt more at the mercy of and in acceptance of what life was screaming to teach me.

“I’ve never felt more fulfilled by or present in my work, being able to cherish every moment.”

The “Break Free” singer went on to express how focused she’s been on her career in 2023, and how grateful she is for the opportunities she’s been given.

(Getty Images)

“I gave everything I could have possibly given of my heart and of myself to the projects I was fortunate enough to be a part of and learned so much from every brilliant, beautiful, soul that I had the privilege of creating art with and crossing paths with this year,” she continued.

However, according to Grande, she was also hit with much criticism and claimed that the public has made some “assumptions” about her.

Earlier this year, Grande and her husband of two years, Dalton Gomez, announced they were divorcing just days before her rumoured relationship with Slater was first reported.


“I’ve 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,” she added. “I have learned how much more important one of those things is than the other.”

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The Victorious alum acknowledged how grateful she was for the support she’s had this year, adding: “I have never felt more tightly held or fiercely protected by those who love and understand me (friends, family, and fans alike). I feel safe, even amidst so many things I’d usually be afraid of.”

She expressed how she’s been doing some self-work by “listening to and trusting” herself, “even when fear or trauma tells [her] not to”.

Grande then acknowledged that she’s avoiding speaking out about certain online scrutiny, explaining: “I am reacting to things that deserve my energy only and removing and protecting myself from things that do not.”


To conclude her post, she emphasised that she was “eternally grateful for all the feelings” she felt “so deep in this year,” even the “unfathomably hard ones”. After noting that she felt “soft and stronger” than ever before, she sent a sweet message to her fans who may be struggling with moments in which they feel like they’re on their own.

“I am wrapping you all in a cocoon of love and wishing you a very happy, healthy new year,” Grande concluded. “If you ever feel misunderstood or alone, just remember that it will pass and you are not that. Take a deep breath and know that you are so incredibly loved.”

Grande’s end-of-the-year message comes as she’s continued to show her support for her Broadway actor boyfriend. Earlier this week, she took to Instagram to share some photos of her Christmas festivities, one of which included a photo of a Christmas tree that contained a nod to Slater - who’s currently starring in the Broadway musical Spamalot. The photo showed an array of shimmery globes on the tree, in which a “Spam” ornament hung on bright green garland.

In October, Grande enjoyed a night out at the theatre to watch The Spongebob Musical star take on his role as Prince Herbert “The Historian” in Spamalot. In photos taken by a fan at the show, the “Thank U, Next” singer was spotted exiting the performance with a paper crown on her head while laughing with her friend, Doug Middlebrook.

Gomez and Slater first sparked romance rumours in July, after they met while working on Wicked, in which Slater portrays Boq. The speculation came amid Slater’s divorce from his former partner Lilly Jay, with whom he shares a son.

At the time, TMZ first reported that Grande and Gomez were divorcing after two years of marriage. The publication claimed that they reportedly tried to reconcile before Grande started filming Wicked, but they were still “having problems”. A source claimed to Page Six that while Grande and Gomez mutually decided to divorce, they still wanted “to remain best friends”.

In October, Gomez and Grande reportedly reached a divorce settlement. According to the settlement, Gomez will receive half of the net proceeds from the sale of their LA home and Grande will pay up to $25,000 of his attorney’s fees.

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