A theory as to why Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater's 'affair' story isn't being told how you'd expect.

On July 18, 2023, various publications reported that Ariana Grande and her husband Dalton Gomez were separating after two years of marriage.

"They came to the decision together," a source told Page Six. "They were having problems before January, but they want to remain best friends."

Grande has been based in London for most of the year while filming the Wicked adaptation, while Gomez, a 27-year-old luxury real estate agent, is based in Los Angeles.

Gomez reportedly visited her on-set earlier this year in an attempt to rekindle, but it didn't work out.

Just two days after their split announcement, reports confirmed the 'Thank U, Next' singer is dating her Wicked co-star, Ethan Slater, after the pair grew close while filming. 

Slater portrays Boq, while Grande plays Glinda.

Sources were quick to clarify that, "Ariana and Dalton separated in January. She and Ethan recently began dating, and he is separated from his wife."

Image: Instagram.


Slater had been with his childhood sweetheart, Lilly Jay, for over a decade. The couple married in November 2018 and welcomed a child together just last year.

But the pair recently separated, and Slater reportedly filed for divorce on Wednesday US time.

The following day, his wife, Lilly Jay, broke her silence on the reported affair, giving a pointed message to Page Six

"[Ariana’s] the story, really. Not a girl’s girl," she said.

"My family is just collateral damage."

Image: Instagram.


The article also notes that before speaking with them, Jay had been calling around to other outlets, but no one wanted to run her story.

There's a theory as to why that is.

Before Jay's comments came out, the articles on this reported affair were fairly straight. 

Grande and Gomez had separated, but the news didn't become a big story. Nor did the news about Grande and Slater.

Publications kept confirming both parties had previously split from their respective partners and their romance developed naturally. 

Until yesterday, no one had spoken to Jay. 

And as The Spill host Laura Brodnik was quick to point out: "Now those quotes have been picked up and [there's] kind of this idea that she's hysterical, she's blown the story out of proportion, and she's trying to paint him as a bad person. And now we're looking at her as the villain." 

Usually, when a story of this nature comes out, it would become a scandal. 


But that hasn't really happened in this context, even though it has everything to become one. Why?

That would be because of the power Grande and her team has. And the fact that she is a world-renowned popstar whereas Slater is a far lesser known Broadway performer. 

There was a similar power imbalance in the case of John Mulaney and Olivia Munn's relationship.

Following Mulaney's 60-day stint in rehab, the comedian's rep confirmed that he and his wife of six years, Anna Marie Tendler, were splitting up.

Days later, it was announced that he and Munn were dating; and months after that, she was pregnant with his baby.

Although the story was top news and everyone was talking about it, Olivia Munn wasn't painted as a villain.

Once again, that was because of the power dynamic, with Munn more famous than Mulaney. 

"It's interesting that we all think we're so evolved because we're not demonising women anymore," Mamamia's Head of Entertainment Laura Brodnik said on The Spill podcast.

"But we've just switched our demonising to the woman who has not as much power and who doesn't have as much name recognition."

As Jay told Page Six, "The story is [Ariana] and Dalton." 

And it has been.

Because she's the pop star darling and Jay's just the hysterical estranged wife.

Feature image: Instagram/@michelleyeoh