Better late than never, I guess.
After releasing “Drivers License” in January, Olivia Rodrigo refrained from confirming who the heartbreaking ballad was about, but that didn’t stop fans from speculating. They assumed the lyrics about her ex dating a “blonde” who was “older” than Rodrigo must be about her rumored ex Joshua Basset and his also-rumored relationship with Sabrina Carpenter. Still, for months, Rodrigo left fans in the dark. Now, Olivia Rodrigo addressed the hate Sabrina Carpenter got over “Drivers License,” and what she has to say is empowering.
The song, in which Rodrigo sings about driving past an ex’s house, made the actress an instant superstar when it became the most widely heard tune in the United States. Right away, “Drivers License” hit No. 1 on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music, and broke the Spotify record for the highest streamed debut single for a female artist. It even debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100.
The unbelievable response to the song sent fans spiraling into endless internet black holes trying to figure out who the lyrics were stealthily referring to. With lines like “that blond girl,” and “she’s so much older than me,” some fans quickly pointed fingers and spewed hate at Carpenter, who happens to be blonde and older than Rodrigo, and was seen with Basset before the song’s release.
Rodrigo, Bassett, and Carpenter never officially confirmed whether they dated, but the pop superstar did tell Variety what she really thought of all that hate.
“I put [the song] out not knowing that it would get that reaction, so it was really strange [when] it did,” she said. “I just remember [everyone being] so weird and speculative about stuff they had no idea about. I don’t really subscribe to hating other women because of boys. I think that’s so stupid, and I really resent that narrative that was being tossed around.”
Rodrigo even mentioned her longtime songwriting idol and now industry friend, Taylor Swift, considering Swift was one of Rodrigo’s earliest supporters on social media. “It’s so nice to be welcomed into the music industry and so great to be supportive of other women,” Rodrigo says. “She wrote me a letter a while ago, and she wrote something about how you make your own luck in the world, and how you treat other people always comes back to you.”
For Rodrigo, “Drivers License” and whoever it may or may not be about isn’t what’s really important. “I totally understand people’s curiosity with the specifics of who the song’s about and what it’s about, but to me, that’s really the least important part of the song,” she told Billboard. “It’s resonating with people because of how emotional it is, and I think everything else is not important.”