This article discusses mental health and grief. If you or someone you know is experiencing grief and wants to talk, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, eHeadspace on 1800 650 890, or the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

If you’re passing a magazine stand at some point over the next month (yes, they still exist), prepare to be bewildered by Ariana Grande wearing a very large hat on the cover of the new Vogue.

The pop star graces the cover of the international fashion magazine where she discusses some heavy topics from mental health to the 2017 bombing at her Manchester concert to the passing of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller.

The interview was so intense, in fact, that Vogue reports the singer broke down in tears just nine minutes into the session.

‘Grande begins to cry nine minutes into our conversation, at the mention of Coachella, which she headlined this year for the first time,’ the text reads.

‘Following a bumbling interchange of apologies—“I’m so sorry I’m crying,” “I’m so sorry I made you cry”—she explains that the festival offered near-constant reminders of the rapper Mac Miller (born Malcolm McCormick), her dear friend, collaborator, and ex-boyfriend, who died of an accidental overdose in September 2018. I imagined we would visit this and other delicate topics somewhere deep in our discussion, but grief creates a conversational black hole, drawing all particles to it.’

“I never thought I’d even go to Coachella,” Grande explains. “I was always a person who never went to festivals and never went out and had fun like that. But the first time I went was to see Malcolm perform, and it was such an incredible experience. I went the second year as well, and I associate…heavily…it was just kind of a mindfuck, processing how much has happened in such a brief period.”

Ariana Grande, Mac Miller

Grande and Miller

Grande made headlines in May 2018 after she reacted to news of Miller’s arrest for drunk driving via Twitter.

“Shaming and blaming a woman for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem,” she tweeted at the time. “Let’s please stop doing that.”

The performer defended her motives behind the tweet to Vogue.

“People don’t see any of the real stuff that happens, so they are loud about what they think happened,” Grande explained. “They didn’t see the years of work and fighting and trying, or the love and exhaustion. That tweet came from a place of complete defeat, and you have no idea how many times I warned him that that would happen and fought that fight, for how many years of our friendship, of our relationship. You have no idea so you’re not allowed to pull that card, because you don’t fucking know. That’s where that came from.”

“By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had,” she added. “I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming … less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”

Miller and Grande split after two years together in May 2018. A month later, the singer was engaged to comedian Pete Davidson after only a few weeks of dating. By October, their engagement was off.

“I’ve been boo’d up my entire adult life. I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to,” Grande explains. “So Thank U, Next was this moment of self-realisation. It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this shit.’”

Legally Blonde, Ariana Grande, Thank U Next

Grande in the ‘Thank U, Next’ music video

Speaking on the Manchester bombing that killed 22 and injured hundreds more at her 2017 concert, she said:

“It’s not my trauma. It’s those families. It’s their losses, and so it’s hard to just let it all out without thinking about them reading this and reopening the memory for them.”

She went on to address he struggle with mental health, a painfully poignant topic considering just yesterday she released a statement after breaking down in tears at a recent show.

“I was researching healing and PTSD and talking to therapists, and everyone was like, ‘You need a routine, a schedule.’  Of course because I’m an extremist, I’m like, OK, I’ll go on tour!” she explained to the magazine. “But it’s hard to sing songs that are about wounds that are so fresh. It’s fun, it’s pop music, and I’m not trying to make it sound like anything that it’s not, but these songs to me really do represent some heavy shit.”

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Image: Vogue