Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater's Relationship Is 'Much Different Than What Has Been Portrayed': Source (Exclusive)

The couple met and became friends while filming the upcoming 'Wicked' movie in London

<p>Eugene Gologursky/Getty; Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty</p> Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

Eugene Gologursky/Getty; Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater are still going strong and doing their best to navigate their relationship in the public eye, multiple sources tell PEOPLE.

“While this entire situation has been blown out of proportion, it’s much different than what has been portrayed in public,” says a friend of the couple, who met on set of the upcoming Wicked film adaptation.

“They are just trying to navigate their new relationship in private,” the source adds.

Related: Everything to Know About the 'Wicked' Movie Starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo

“People have tried to question the timeline,” a close family friend notes of the relationship between the pop star, 30, and the Tony nominee, 31, who were friends and costars before they began dating. 

Their romantic relationship began after Grande’s separation from her husband Dalton Gomez and Slater’s separation from his wife Lilly Jay. “The truth is, Ariana and Ethan didn’t begin seeing each other until after both parties were separated, respectfully,” continues the close family friend. 

An additional source close to the situation tells PEOPLE of Grande and Slater, “They are doing their best to balance the fact that they are in the public eye with the desire to be respectful to all parties involved.”

<p>Getty Images</p> Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

Getty Images

Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

Related: Who Is Ariana Grande's New Boyfriend? All About Her 'Wicked' Costar Ethan Slater

Slater’s focus continues to be his infant son, whom he and Jay welcomed in August 2022, another friend tells PEOPLE: “Ethan’s priority will always be to co-parent his son.”

In January, Grande separated from luxury real estate agent Gomez, 28, whom she married in May 2021, a source confirmed to PEOPLE shortly after the Grammy winner’s new relationship became public earlier this summer.

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Related: Ariana Grande's Dating History: From Pete Davidson to Dalton Gomez

After news of Grande and Gomez’s separation broke, a source told PEOPLE that the decision was amicable. The insider explained that the marriage “didn’t work” once the Grammy winner went to film Wicked in London and it became long distance, but added, “Ari has nothing but kind words to say about Dalton. During their marriage, he was her No. 1 fan.”

Grande is set to star as Glinda, while Slater will play Boq, in Jon M. Chu’s film adaption of the hit Broadway musical Wicked. The movie began shooting in the U.K. in 2022 with plans for release in November 2024, although it remains unclear if the SAG-AFTRA strike will affect its premiere.

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