Ariana Grande Wrote 3 Versions of 'Thank U, Next' Because Her Relationship With Pete Davidson Was Up and Down

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson
Entertainment Tonight

"I didn't know what was gonna happen."

"Thank u, Next" was almost a very different song.

In a recent interview on The Zach Sang Show, Ariana Grande opens up about why she almost didn't release the instantly iconic version of the track, largely due to her tumultuous relationship with her former fiance, Pete Davidson.

"In my relationship by the time things were, like, up and down and on and off and so I didn't know what was gonna happen," the 25-year-old pop star explained. "And then we got back together and so I had to make a different version of it. And then we broke up again and so we ended up going with that version."

"There's a version where I was getting married. There's a version where I'm not getting married. There's a version with nothing, we're not talking about anything," she revealed. "But we all knew the first version was gonna be the version we ultimately went with... I just wanted to cover all the bases."

Even before recording the track, Grande was questioning whether or not she should name names.

"I'm, like, super shy when it comes to, like, pitching wild things," she said. "And so I was like, 'Is it, like, insane if I name people and thank them directly in the song?' And Taylor was like, 'Well, b*tch. It's gonna be a thing if you do, but I think it's brilliant... I think it's special and yes. Do it. Right now. Like, let's do it.'" 

After she recorded the song "it became super real" to Grande.

"Then we did it and I was like, 'Wow. This is really, really, really special and it feels really like something, you know?'" she said. "... Putting it in a song makes it very, 'OK. Cool. We definitely just closed that chapter.' You know what I mean?" 

"Then I went home and slept on it and we came back and I was like, 'OK, let's make another version just in case without the names,'" Grande added.

On the backup track, Grande recalled saying something like, "They say I'm too young" or "I got too many boyfriends" instead of naming specific names.

"I was just talking about what people say about me. Still. So it still was like, OK I'm embracing my mistakes and what I've done and everything that's contributed to who I am, but it was just less direct," she explained. "And everyone -- including me -- was kinda like, 'This is not the version.' Me as I was doing it was like, 'This is not the version.' I was also trying to be protective, you know?"

"It was a big risk and a very scary thing to do because it is my life," she added later in the interview. "I understand to a lot of people I'm not a real person. It's easy to kind of see me as a song or a picture or a thing that kind of exists in their head and they know what they know and that's it. But at the end of the day, these are people and relationships... it's real sh*t to me. It is real life. And I spent a lot of time with each of those people, like, learning and sh*t. It was, like, scary to put in a song."

Once the track was finished, Grande said it was hard playing it for people because she "knew that as soon as people heard the names they were gonna be like, 'Run that back one more time. What the f**k is she doing? Like, what the f**k is she doing?'"

Despite that initial fear, Grande revealed that "everyone that I'm still in touch with has been very supportive of it."

"My mom was, like, she's never been happier. My mom was like, 'Oh this is just the best song I've heard in my life,'" she said. "Because everybody who knows me knows how Joan Grande has felt about every relationship I've ever been in and she has been so supportive and patient and bit her tongue, you know, been a fantastic mother."

"That song is for my mom's closure and also as a thank you to her for helping me through a lot of this sh*t... It was just a beautiful moment for her," she added. 

"Thank U, Next," is just one of many new songs on Grande's latest album of the same name. Watch the video below for more insight on all of the tracks: