Ariana Grande and SpongeBob SquarePants star Ethan Slater are currently dating after meeting on set of Wicked, and people have questions. Mostly about their timeline, which has been deemed slightly 👀 by the internet due to both of them being married.
Sources have reeeeally hammered home the fact that both Ari and Ethan were separated from their spouses when they got together, but if you need an exact day-by-day breakdown of how their relationship fits in with their respective splits, we went ahead and organized the facts for you.
Ethan writes a sweet anniversary post to his wife, Lilly Jay, saying, “My best friend. 4 years married, 10 years together. And this is easily the best and most (*bizarre*) year yet.”
Please be advised that his Instagram account is currently private, so nope...no pics!
December 7, 2022
Wicked starts filming in London, meaning Ariana leaves Los Angeles and moves across the pond—entering into a long-distance marriage with Dalton Gomez.
Lost my phone…so I couldn’t keep up today with the announcements especially while we were shooting day 3 here in London. Just know things are going great. The #WickedMovie is really happening and I have 3 days of footage of prove it:) oh also JEFF GOLDBLUME IS THE WIZARD!!!! https://t.co/ygjqdR7TVy
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) December 9, 2022
Dalton and Ariana separate, according to TMZ, but no one finds out until literally months later.
May 14, 2023
Ethan celebrates his wife Lilly Jay’s first Mother’s Day on Instagram, writing, “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 announced he had his first child with his wife in January. As of May he was tagging her in Mother's Day posts...that Ariana was liking. Make. the narrative. make. sense. pic.twitter.com/QZZ5MikJPW
— Ej Dickson (@ejdickson) July 20, 2023
July 16, 2023
Two months later, Ariana shows up at Wimbledon and fans are quick to notice she’s not wearing her wedding ring.
That same day, TMZ reports “sources with direct knowledge” tell them Ariana and Dalton have “had marriage trouble of late… including a rough patch a few months ago.” The outlet also says their current “status” is unknown.
July 17, 2023
Literally one day later, TMZ reports that Ariana and Dalton have separated and are “heading for divorce.” The outlet adds they “have been separated since January" and they “tried a reconciliation” a few months back, but it “failed.”
TMZ notes the couple’s problems started “before” Ariana’s move to London.
This same day, three (3) sources speak to Entertainment Tonight about the situation:
“Ariana and Dalton tried to make things work, but ultimately they were just not a good fit. Dalton has been very private and low-key about their relationship with his work colleagues and hasn’t been talking a lot about their split.”
“Ariana and Dalton’s friends have always been concerned by their whirlwind romance and felt their relationship would ultimately be short-lived. Their relationship has been rocky at different points, and they’ve had trouble making time for each other with scheduling issues.”
“Ariana and Dalton have had issues for a while and tried working through them but couldn’t. Ariana has been filming Wicked overseas and working a lot. The couple ultimately decided to end things.”
TMZ then circles back with this revelation: “We’re told Dalton has been dating over the last few months, which was fine with Ariana.”
July 19, 2023
A source tells Us Weekly “Dalton is really hoping to make things work with Ariana,” and “despite the rocky patches they’ve been through, he isn’t ready to give up on their marriage. He saw himself spending the rest of his life with Ariana and will do anything to get past this.”
July 20, 2023
Okay, now that we’ve set the stage with what’s going on with Dalton and Ari, the time has come to get back to this man:
TMZ is the first to report the news of Ethan and Ariana dating, casually noting that Ethan has been married to Lilly Jay since 2018 and they have a son together. Meanwhile, a People source confirms, “Ariana and Dalton separated in January. She and Ethan recently began dating, and he is separated from his wife.”
Over at Us Weekly, an insider goes to great lengths to make it clear Ethan and Ariana only started dating after they’d split from their respected partners: “Ariana and Ethan are dating; however, things are fairly new. Ariana and Dalton split in January, and Ethan is separated from his wife. Ariana and Ethan have only recently begun seeing each other but they have a lot of fun together and are enjoying each other’s company.”
And an Entertainment Tonight source goes to even greater lengths: “Ariana and Ethan recently started dating. They have a lot in common and have a lot of fun. They didn’t start dating until both were broken up with their significant others. Ariana and Dalton remain friends.”
July 21, 2023
Ethan goes private on Instagram due to fans trying to figure out WTF is going on and digging up all those previously mentioned posts about his wife.
This same day, a source tells Page Six that Lilly is “completely blindsided” by news of Ariana and Ethan dating, adding, “It’s horrible. They were high school sweethearts. They have a baby! She’s a wreck.”
This insider also thinks Ariana and Ethan’s vibes are the reason he and Lilly “suddenly” broke up “when nothing appeared wrong between them.”
July 22, 2023
A source tells Entertainment Tonight that Lilly is “devastated” and “this is not the future she had in mind,” but “she’s doing her best to get back on her feet. She’s incredibly smart and driven” and is “truly the best mother.”
July 25, 2023
A source tells Entertainment Tonight that Dalton—who is “having a hard time“still considers [Ariana] his partner, but she has moved on.” Awk.
Meanwhile, Us Weekly reports that Ethan told Lilly about Ariana (and said he wanted to split up) just days before the news went public. A source says, “Ethan sat Lilly down a few days before the news broke about him and Ariana and said that he wanted a divorce. Lilly never saw it coming!”
Another source notes that “Ariana and Ethan weren’t careful. They’d hold hands on set in between takes. They were sloppy and not hiding it.”
July 26, 2023
TMZ claims that Lilly feels like Ethan has "abandoned his family" and that they "aren't" on good terms.
"It's understandable that emotions are high and it's hard seeing your ex move on, especially in such a public way, and her friends are trying to protect her," one source says. "But Ari and Ethan are just trying to lay low and be respectful of their exes as they pursue this new relationship."
July 27, 2023
Lilly gives a statement to Page Six, saying “[Ariana’s] the story really. Not a girl’s girl. My family is just collateral damage.”
Meanwhile, sources say Lilly is "telling Ethan and others that she only cares about protecting their child. She’s rightfully upset because her marriage fell apart, but Ariana and Ethan didn’t do anything wrong. Ethan is trying to take the high road and hopes he can resolve this situation for the sake of their child.”
Over on Daily Mail, however, an insider claims that "Lilly hung out with Ethan and Ariana so many times,. Ariana met their baby and even held him. They had dinners together in London—and Ariana told Lilly that she wanted to have a baby one day and that she couldn't wait to start a family."
This source also says Lilly found out about Ethan and Ariana after visiting him on set—but they made the decision to "put it behind them" and "work on" their marriage.
"There was a period when they were all going to try and work on their marriages and put the whole thing behind them," the source says. "She thought they were happy. But that did not work out [because Ariana and Ethan] kept the affair going despite [that]."
July 29, 2023
TMZ reports that Ariana is giving Ethan "space to work things out" drama-wise with his ex Lilly Jay, and that they haven't chilled in "several weeks." That said, they are "100% still dating" and want to see each other!
August 2, 2023
Us Weekly reports that Ariana wants to go public with the relationship, but has “been told it’s too soon to go public with him and to take things slower. She’s very aware of how she’s perceived by her fans, and she’s trying to be mature. [But] if it were up to her, she’d be seen with him tomorrow.”
August 3, 2023
A source tells the Daily Mail that Ari and Ethan were kissing in public before he'd ended things with Lilly. "They were sloppy on set. They were seen being all over each other while he was still supposedly happily married to Lilly. They were seen making out at a pub in Hampstead, and they were all over each other at Michelle Yeoh's Oscar party [in March]."
Oh, and this: "Ariana and Dalton went on double dates with Ethan and Lilly several times—and they were seen out by cast members. Lilly and Ethan also met Ariana's family together, including her mom and her brother."
September 4, 2023
Sources tell People that Ari and Ethan are still together, and that “While this entire situation has been blown out of proportion, it’s much different than what has been portrayed in public. They are just trying to navigate their new relationship in private."
A close family friend also says that “People have tried to question the timeline. “The truth is, Ariana and Ethan didn’t begin seeing each other until after both parties were separated, respectfully."
And that brings us up to date. I think we can all agree the Wicked press tour should be Don’t Worry Darling levels of interesting.
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