Just because we learned that Ariana Grande is reportedly 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 is 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 has 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.
The Wizard, Boq, and Madame Morrible have boarded\!
March 27, 2023: In August a source tells the Daily Mail that Grande and Slater “were all over each” 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.
July 16, 2023: Grande is spotted at Wimbledon without her wedding ring.
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 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.
This post will be updated.
Originally Appeared on Glamour