Here's Why Ariana Grande's Estranged Dad Got That Poignant Shoutout In "Thank U, Next"
Ariana Grande is arguably at her best musically and her most raw emotionally these days. Her music has grown in every direction possible, both in musicality and its messaging. Songs like "God Is A Woman," "Breathin'," and "Thank U, Next" all mark some sort of emotional milestone in Grande's transformative journey, and now fans are noticing a new personal leaf ready to be turned over. Thanks to some choice lyrics in her hit "Thank U, Next," fans are now asking: Who is Ariana Grande's dad? The pop-star makes mention of her father in the middle of the song, causing loads of us to raise our hands.
It's likely you've heard "Thank U, Next," like, a bunch already. The song most directly references Grande's past boyfriends including Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Mac Miller, and Pete Davidson. Essentially, it is an ode to the lessons each relationship taught her. She sings, "One taught me love / One taught me patience / And one taught me pain / Now, I'm so amazing."
Additionally, during the song's bridge, Ari brings up another man from her past — her father. The lyrics go like this:
One day I'll walk down the aisle / Holding hands with my mama / I'll be thanking my dad / 'Cause she grew from the drama / Only wanna do it once, real bad / Gon' make that shit last / God forbid something happens / Least this song is a smash
In these words, Grande is referencing her actual father, Edward Butera, and how their strained relationship helped form who she is today.
According to AOL.com, Butera and his famous daughter have been estranged for the bulk of her adult life. Butera and Grande's mother Joan split when Ari was eight years old, which was about 17 years ago. Usually, Grande doesn't talk about it. However, in a rare moment during an interview with Seventeen in 2014, she let fans in just a little bit on her complicated history with her father.
At the time, she described falling out with her dad as "the toughest thing she has ever had to deal with." She explained, "It's private, but it happened last year. It took me so long to be okay with it. The thing that got me there was embracing the fact that that I am made up of half my dad, and a lot of my traits come from him." Grande added, "So much of me comes from my father, and for so long, I didn't like that about myself. I had to accept that it's okay not to get along with somebody and still love them." Elite Daily reached out to Grande's team for further clarification on her comments about her dad, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
It was a few years until Grande's fans heard mention of Butera again, but he did pop up in the form of a Father's Day Instagram post. In 2017, Grande shared a photo of her father holding her as a baby with the caption, "Happy Father's Day. I love you."
Today, all of Grande's fans are benefiting from the lessons the men in her life taught her.
Plus, she's got one thing so right. This song is a smash.