Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship


Just because we learned that Ariana Grande is dating her Wicked costar Ethan Slater a mere three days after news broke that Grande was splitting from husband Dalton Gomez doesn’t mean the timeline was equally as rushed…. Who are we kidding? This is wild.

According to sources, it appears Grande was still working on her relationship with Gomez when she flew to the UK to film the musical movie Wicked in December 2022, though a source told Us Weekly that the couple were “having issues” and “the distance did not help.” Meanwhile, Grande’s alleged new boyfriend—who is known for playing Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway and will be playing the Munchkin Boq in Wicked—was also in a committed relationship when filming began. In fact, Slater had been married to high school sweetheart Lilly Jay since 2018 and welcomed his first child with her sometime in 2022.

So, what’s their actual relationship timeline? Here’s everything we know about Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater’s romance.

May 15, 2021: Gomez and Dalton get married.

November 2022: Per Page Six, Slater gushes over Jay in an Instagram post, writing, “My best friend. 4 years married, 10 years together. And this is easily the best (and most *bizarre*) year yet.” According to screenshots shared on TikTok, Grande likes the post at some point.

December 2022: Wicked begins filming. Grande plays the famed good witch Glinda opposite Cynthia Erivo’s Elphaba.


We finally have a trailer, witches\!

January 2023: Grande and Gomez split, according to TMZ’s July report.

March 27, 2023: In August a source tells the Daily Mail that Grande and Slater “were all over each other” at Michelle Yeoh's Oscars Party.

May 14, 2023: Slater posts a Mother’s Day tribute to his wife on Instagram, featuring photos of their son. According to fan screenshots, Grande likes this post as well.

Ethan Slater and wife Lily Jay attend the 2018 Tony Awards Gala at the Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2018.

2018 Tony Awards Gala

Ethan Slater and wife Lily Jay attend the 2018 Tony Awards Gala at the Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2018.
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

July 16, 2023: Grande is spotted at Wimbledon without her wedding ring.

Ariana Grande watches Carlos Alcaraz play Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2023 men’s final on July 16, 2023, in London.

Celebrity Sightings At Wimbledon 2023 - Day 14

Ariana Grande watches Carlos Alcaraz play Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2023 men’s final on July 16, 2023, in London.
Karwai Tang

July 17, 2023: News breaks that Grande and Gomez have separated. TMZ is the first to report the news, which People quickly confirmed. TMZ sources claim the pair are “heading toward divorce” while a source tells People that Grande and Gomez “have been quietly and lovingly working on their friendship.”

Grande deleted several photos of Gomez from her Instagram feed, though some remain.

July 20, 2023: Sources confirm to People that Grande has “recently” started dating Slater. “Ariana and Dalton separated in January. She and Ethan recently began dating, and he is separated from his wife,” the source says. Meanwhile, a source tells Us Weekly that “Ariana and Ethan have only recently begun seeing each other, but they have a lot of fun together and are enjoying each other’s company.”

At this point, there has been no official separation or divorce announcement regarding Slater and his wife beyond People’s report. Slater quickly goes private on Instagram after reports of his relationship with Grande go viral.

July 21, 2023: Sources tell Page Six that Slater’s wife was “completely blindsided” by his relationship with Grande. “It’s horrible. They were high school sweethearts. They have a baby! She’s a wreck,” a source says.

July 25, 2023: An insider comes forward with more shady allegations, framing Grande and Slater as rather callous in their brazenness. According to a source that spoke to Us Weekly, Slater informed his wife of the new relationship mere days before news broke, and it wasn’t a secret on the set of Wicked, either. “Ariana and Ethan weren’t careful,” Us reports. “They’d hold hands on set in between takes. They were sloppy and not hiding it.”

“Ethan sat Lilly down a few days before the news broke about him and Ariana and said that he wanted a divorce,” the source added. “Lilly never saw it coming!”

July 26, 2023: Slater has officially filed for divorce from Lilly Jay. Us Weekly confirms that the SpongeBob actor filed divorce papers in New York City on the 26th, though whatever the speculation, the reasons for divorce were not listed on the documents.

July 27, 2023: Jay allegedly breaks her silence with a statement to Page Six. “[Ariana’s] the story, really. Not a girl’s girl,” Jay reportedly said. “My family is just collateral damage.”

July 29, 2023: TMZ reports that Grande is giving Slater “space” to “work things out” with Jay regarding their divorce. While the report suggests that the new couple “haven’t been in the same city for several weeks,” sources say they are “100% still dating.”

August 2, 2023: According to Us Weekly, Grande is being advised to “take things slower” with Slater. “She’s very aware of how she’s perceived by her fans, and she’s trying to be mature,” their source claims. “[But] if it were up to her, she’d be seen with him tomorrow.”

August 3, 2023: Daily Mail reports that Grande and Slater were seen kissing before the Spongebob star had broken things off with his wife, Lilly Jay. “They were sloppy on set,” a source says, claiming they were together long before the world found out. “They were seen being all over each other while he was still supposedly happily married to Lilly.” The source continues, “They were seen making out at a pub in Hampstead, and they were all over each other at Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar party [in March].”

The source also claims Grande and Gomez went on “multiple” double dates with Slater and Jay. “Ariana and Dalton went on double dates with Ethan and Lilly several times—and they were seen out by cast members,” the source says. “Lilly and Ethan also met Ariana’s family together, including her mom and her brother.”

September 1, 2023: Apparently everyone is wrong about Grande and Slater, according to sources who spoke with People. “While this entire situation has been blown out of proportion, it’s much different than what has been portrayed in public,” an alleged friend tells the publication. “They are just trying to navigate their new relationship in private.”

Another source alleges their relationship timeline is much less scandalous than some believe. “The truth is, Ariana and Ethan didn’t begin seeing each other until after both parties were separated, respectfully,” a “close family friend” says.

A third source says the couple are currently “doing their best to balance the fact that they are in the public eye with the desire to be respectful to all parties involved.”

September 6, 2023: After wisely private-ing his Instagram following the news of the relationship, Ethan Slater returns to the platform with a post about his upcoming turn in the Broadway revival of Spamalot. The post is a blurry photo of his face, followed by a picture of a dog looking out the window, and then a silent clip of him and a costar rehearsing some choreography. Comments on the post are limited, but Ariana subtly showed her support with a “like” on the post.

September 22, 2023: Grande and Slater are reportedly spotted walking arm-in-arm at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

October 7, 2023: Multiple publications report that Gomez and Grande have settled their divorce. According to TMZ, Gomez will receive $1,250,000 from Grande up front, as opposed to ongoing spousal support payments. Grande will also be on the hook for some of Gomez’s attorney fees, and the pair will split net proceeds from the sale of their LA home 50-50. “There is still a strong mutual love and respect between Ariana and Dalton and they wanted to make sure everything was done right in lockstep with one another,” a source told TMZ.

October 21, 2023: Grande and Slater are photographed packing on the PDA at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. According to sources speaking to TMZ, the pair spent two hours in the MO Lounge drinking wine, with Grande reportedly whispering “sweet nothings” into his ear and planting “some smooches” on her boyfriend.

October 31, 2023: Grande attends the first preview of Slater’s latest Broadway turn in the Spamalot revival. According to People, Grande had already seen tech rehearsals for the show and “has plans to go again.”

“She was so sweet last night, taking pictures with fans and gushing about how much she was enjoying the performances,” a source says. “She’s a theater kid at her core, so you see she really feels at peace being around Broadway.”

December 21, 2023: Grande is such a supportive girlfriend that she appears to pay homage to Slater’s show on her Christmas tree. Just take a look at her can-of-Spam ornament in her pre-holiday Instagram dump:

December 23, 2023: The couple reportedly ventures out for dinner in NYC with Grande’s father. Photos of the couple later go viral as fans point out the difference between the pop star’s dressy look and Slater’s ultracasual ’fit, drawing comparisons to Hailey and Justin Bieber.

December 28, 2023: Despite ongoing criticism, a source tells People that Grande is “serious” about Slater. “She loves being with him,” the source said, adding that while the couple goes out “occasionally,” they “mostly enjoy staying in.”

They added, “It’s a very normal relationship.”

December 28, 2023: Grande seemingly addresses critics of her personal life in a year-end letter to fans shared via the pop star’s Instagram story. “I’ve never felt more at the mercy of and in acceptance of what life was screaming to teach me,” she wrote of her transformative year largely spent out of the spotlight. “I have 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.”

January 12, 2024: Grande drops “Yes, And?” which is both her first so

lo single in three years and the lead single from her forthcoming album. Slater isn’t mentioned by name, but lyrics like these certainly appear to be nodding in his general direction:

Don’t comment on my body, do not reply. / Your business is yours and mine is mine. / Why do you care so much whose dick I ride?

March 8, 2024: Grande drops her seventh studio album, Eternal Sunshine, which chronicles in 13 songs her divorce from Dalton Gomez and the beginning of her relationship with Ethan Slater. On the album’s operatic opening track, “Intro (End of the World),” she sings:

How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship? / Aren’t you really s’posed to know that s–t? / Feel it in your bones and own that s–t? I don’t know / Then I had this interaction I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout for like five weeks. / Wonder if he’s thinkin’ ’bout it too and smiling, / Wonder if he knows that that’s been what’s inspirin’ me, / Wonder if he’s judgin’ me like I am right now.

Elsewhere she alludes to the possibility of infidelity within her marriage to Gomez.

I showed you all my demons, all my lies, / Yet you played me like Atari. / Now it’s like I’m lookin’ in the mirror. / Hope you feel alright when you’re in her. / I found a good boy and he’s on my side.

On the track titled “Imperfect for You,” Grande appears to be singing to Slater alone with lyrics like “My boy, come take my hand. / Throw your guitar and your clothes in the back seat.” Later in the song, the line “we crashed and we burned” seemingly references the dissolution of Slater’s marriage to Lilly Jay amid his budding romance with Grande.

“We crashed and we burned. / Now I just can’t go where you don’t go. / And usually, I’m f–ked up, anxious, too much, / But I’ll love you like you need me to. / Imperfect for you, / Messy, completely distressed, / But I’m not like that since I met you.”

March 9, 2024: Only a day after dropping her new album, Grande shares an open letter asking fans to stop sending “hateful messages” to the “people in [her] life” who may have inspired the lyrics.

“Hi, I just wanted to say anyone that is sending hateful messages to the people in my life based on your interpretation of this album is not supporting me and is absolutely doing the polar opposite of what I would ever encourage (and is also entirely misinterpreting the intention behind the music),” the pop star wrote via her Instagram Stories.

This post will be updated.

Originally Appeared on Glamour