Ariana Grande's New Boyfriend Left His 'High School Sweetheart' Wife & 10-Month-Old Baby— But Why Is She The One Getting The Blame?

Ethan Slater is perfectly capable of making his own choices.

Ariana Grande & Ethan Slater & Lilly Jay Tinseltown, lev radin / Shutterstock; Ethan Slater / Instagram

Ariana Grande and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Dalton Gomez, confirmed their plans to divorce on July 18, 2023, despite apparently separating back in January, 2023, after Grande went to London to film “Wicked.” Days after their announcement, news broke that Grande was dating her “Wicked” co-star, Ethan Slater.

Slater had been with his wife, Lilly Jay, for 11 years, and the two welcomed their first baby in 2022. Yet his romance with Grande has opened up a very vocal storm of public outrage, framing the pop star as a villain who broke up Slater’s marriage.


Ariana Grande’s new boyfriend, Ethan Slater, left his ‘high-school sweetheart’ wife and their 10-month-old baby, yet Grande is the one getting all the blame.

Slater and Jay attended high school together in Maryland. They started dating in 2012 and got married in 2018. In January 2023, Slater confirmed on his now-private Instagram account that he and Jay had a baby in December 2022. 

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In May 2023, Slater praised Jay on her new role as a mom in an Instagram post. He shared a photo of the back of their son’s head, casting a shadow along the wall. The caption read, “Happy first Mother’s Day to the most loving caring and wonderful mom/person in the world, from me and this little guy.” 


ethan slater instagram post about wife lilly jayPhoto: ethanslater / Instagram

Fans have expressed contempt that Grande liked Slater’s Mother’s Day post on Instagram, which implies that she, Slater, and Jay had some form of friendship, or that they at least interacted with one another.

Grande is being harshly criticized for liking Slater’s post, as some believe her action reveals that Grande had malicious intent to steal Slater away from his wife. 

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The gossip account DeuxMoi posted a story on Instagram that seems to reference the way that Grande and Slater got together. The anonymously-shared message stated, “Co-star is very much married and his wife was completely blindsided. Actress knew what she was doing, and had spent plenty of time with the couple together.”

ariana grande accused of stealing ethan slater from his wifePhoto: deuxmoi / Instagram

Blaming Grande for dating Slater upholds a cliché and problematic narrative that absolves him of any accountability for his actions.

No one seems to be calling Slater out for what could be seen as equally morally-reprehensible behavior — leaving his wife less than a year after she gave birth to their son. Grande is carrying the brunt of the blame for her romance with Slater, despite the fact that the 31-year-old actor is a fully-grown adult, entirely capable of making his own decisions. 


Labeling Grande a “homewrecker” or calling her behavior "shady" overlooks an undeniable truth: It takes two people to enter into a relationship.

To believe Grande is solely at fault for the dissolution of Slater’s marriage shows how quickly society casts women as the ones in the wrong. It lays bare the extreme double-standard women are held to, especially when they defy moral code.

A source allegedly told Entertainment Tonight that Grande and Slater “didn’t start dating until both were broken up with their significant others.” Whether or not any form of infidelity occurred, the only certainty is that none of us, outside of the three people involved, know exactly what happened.


Instead, we project our own opinions on who’s at fault and who’s in pain. The ways we interpret what happened with Grande, Slater, and Jay is rooted in our own experiences. We all have our own lives and our own wounds, so let’s not cast judgment on anyone else’s story.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.