At just 25 years old, Ariana Grande has already made herself one of the biggest stars in music. She’s had numerous chart-topping singles and albums, has shown her sense of humor on several TV shows and has dominated headlines in recent years.
While you’ve heard her music and seen her on the cover of countless magazines, there’s probably plenty about Grande that you never knew. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting facts about this powerhouse pop singer.
Her Name Is Legit
Ariana Grande sounds like a total stage name, but it’s her real name. She was born Ariana Grande-Butera in 1993. Her dad’s name is Ed Butera and her mom’s name is Joan Grande.
Her Mom Is A CEO
The aforementioned Joan Grande is the head of the Florida-based company Hose-McCann Communications. According to the company’s website, the Grande family bought the company in 1964. The firm’s communication systems have been installed in high-rise buildings and aboard vessels used by the United States Navy and Coast Guard. Joan Grande can be seen to the right of Ariana in the photo below.
Her Nationality Has Surprised Some People
In 2010, Grande had to correct a fan who mistakenly thought she was Latina.
“I’m actually Italian,” the singer wrote on Twitter. She revealed that her family comes from two parts of Italy: Abruzzo and Sicily. When she performed on “Saturday Night Live” in 2014, a joke was written that had host Chris Pratt making the same mistake about her background.
She Got Hit With Hockey Pucks At Two NHL Games
When Grande was a little girl, she was a regular at Florida Panthers NHL games. She would sit in the front row, starting at the age of 2, and was called “a real cutie” by the SunSentinel newspaper when she was 5. Grande actually got hit with a hockey puck at two different games in 1998, leading her to suffer some minor bruising and get a free ride on the Zamboni for her troubles.
She Got Her Start In Youth Theatre
Like many performers, Grande got her start as a kid doing local theatre. When she was a girl, she performed with Little Palm Theater, a children’s troupe in Boca Raton, Florida. She also sang with a group called Kids Who Care, which performed at charity events.
She Won An Award For Her Work On Broadway
After proving her talent in south Florida’s local entertainment scene, Grande ended up working on Broadway as a member of the cast of “13.” When she was 15 years old, she played the role of a cheerleader in the show and won a National Youth Theatre Association Award for her work. The show was Grande’s first real taste of big-time success in entertainment.
She Became Famous On Nickelodeon
Grande is such a massive figure in music today that it’s easy to forget she first became famous as a star on kids’ TV. As a teen, Grande starred in Nickelodeon’s shows “Victorious” and its spinoff “Sam & Cat.” “Victorious” had one of the highest-rated debut episodes for any live-action show in Nickelodeon’s history. The shows ran from 2010 to 2014 before being canceled.
She Disowned One Of Her First Singles
In 2011, Grande’s music career was just getting started when she recorded a single called “Put Your Hearts Up.” The song, which was aimed at kids, has since been slammed by the singer, who told Rolling Stone it “felt so inauthentic and fake.” She had the music video for the song pulled from her own Vevo page, calling the clip something “straight out of hell.”
She Used To Do Covers On YouTube
Before Grande became a household name, she followed a similar path of many hopeful singers these days: posting videos of cover performances on YouTube. Among the songs she covered were Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” and Bruno Mars’ “Grenade.” When Grande eventually met Mars for the first time, she said she freaked out.
Her Brother Is Also An Entertainer
Grande isn’t the only one who likes to put on a show in her family. Her older half-brother, Frankie Grande, has also worked as a musician, dancer and TV personality. He’s been a guest on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” worked as a judge on “America’s Best Dance Crew” and was a contestant on “Big Brother” in 2014.
She Opened For Justin Bieber
It’s tough to imagine Ariana Grande opening for anyone today but when her music career was first taking off, she preceded Justin Bieber at several of his tour dates in 2013. The dates were during Bieber’s “Believe” tour and Grande opened for him on three dates in Florida and Georgia. The coveted slot gave her plenty of exposure weeks before the release of her debut album, “Yours Truly.”
She’s Made Billboard Chart History
She’s still very young but Grande has already made plenty of history on the Billboard charts. In 2018, she became the first artist in history to have all the lead singles from their first four albums debut in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. She also became the fourth woman artist to ever have 10 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. In 2014, she joined Adele as the only lead artists to have three singles in the top 10 at the same time.
She Obviously Loves Disney World
When Grande chose a spot to ring in her 21st birthday, she skipped Las Vegas and decided to hit up Walt Disney World. The Florida native celebrated the milestone at the Magic Kingdom park. She had a four-tier Cinderella-themed cake and even got to meet the princess and Mickey Mouse.
She’s Massive On Spotify
When Spotify turned 10 years old in 2018, the music-streaming service revealed its most popular artists of all time. Grande was shown to be the tenth most-streamed artist of all-time on Spotify. That put her ahead of artists like Adele, Beyonce and The Chainsmokers.
Her YouTube Stats Are Mind-Blowing
In case you needed more evidence that Grande’s fans don’t just sit around by the radio waiting for her songs to play, take a look at her YouTube statistics. As of Oct. 24, 2018, her official ArianaGrandeVevo YouTube channel, which posts her music videos, has racked up more than 9.6 billion views. That’s more than one play for every person on Earth! The most popular video, “Side to Side,” has been watched more than 1.4 billion times.
She’s Been Sued Several Times
Grande has been taken to court over several of her songs since she debuted.
In 2013, her breakout single “The Way,” featuring ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, was accused of ripping off lyrics from a 1972 song from The Jimmy Castor Bunch.
In 2016, her song “One Last Time” was accused of sounding too similar to a 2012 song by Alex Greggs. And in 2018, her record label was sued over her hit single “Side to Side” because it allegedly copied a song by a musician named Christopher R. O’Connor.
She’s Had A Hit Classical Song
Grande showed off her Italian roots by recording a powerhouse operatic duet with Andrea Bocelli in 2015. The song, “E Píu Ti Penso,” became a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s classical music chart. The performance was included on Bocelli’s album “Cinema.”
She’s A Gifted Impressionist
Not only can Grande wow you with her own vocal chops, she can also imitate some of the world’s most popular singers. The singer has showed off this uncanny talent in performances on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show.” Some of her best impressions include Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Shakira.
She Got In Trouble At A Bakery
In 2015, one of the most bizarre — and unfortunate — moments of Grande’s career was caught on camera at a California bakery. While visiting the shop with friends, Grande was filmed secretly licking a doughnut that she did not end up buying. In the video, she also was heard saying, “I hate Americans. I hate America.” She later apologized for the embarrassing incident.
She Continues To Act
Just because her Nickelodeon shows got the ax doesn’t mean Grande has stopped acting. In the past few years, she’s had roles in high-profile productions like Fox’s “Scream Queens,” NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” and the 2016 films “Sing” and “Zoolander 2.”
She’s Been Vocal About Her Mental Health Battles
In May 2017, Grande’s name topped international headlines when a suicide bombing at one of her concerts in England killed 22 people. The shocking event led Grande to postpone her tour and gave her PTSD and anxiety. In 2018, Grande revealed that therapy has helped her cope with the incident but that she still cries every time she talks about it.
She Rocks That Ponytail For A Reason
Grande’s long ponytail is a signature part of her look but the hairstyle is more about function than style. In a 2018 Facebook post, she revealed that she had to wear the ponytail to conceal how damaged her hair was from the constant coloring it underwent during her days on Nickelodeon. “I wear it in a ponytail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down,” she wrote.
She’s Been Hailed As A Champion Of Feminism
In 2016, E! called Grande a “feminist hero” in light of some public stances she’d taken. In a 2015 interview, she ripped the media for what she called a double standard where woman artists always had to be linked to men, and she lamented that her romantic relationships were written about more often than her music.
“I come from a long bloodline of female activists,” she wrote on Twitter.
She’s Seriously Generous
Grande has been involved in many charitable efforts over the years. In 2016, she started a new line of makeup for Mac, which saw 100 percent of proceeds donated to AIDS research. In 2017, her One Love Manchester charity concert raised a reported $23 million for the families of victims of the bombing at her concert.
She Gave Up On Catholicism Over LGBTQ Rights
In 2014, Grande revealed that the Catholic church’s views on homosexuality led her to walk away from that religion. Her brother Frankie Grande is gay, which led the two of them to instead follow Kabbalah.
“When my brother was told that God didn’t love him, I was like, ‘OK, that’s not cool,'” she told Britain’s The Telegraph.
Her Tattoos Have Some Sweet Stories
Grade has many tattoos, a number of which are small and hard to spot. One of her tattoos is the Italian word “Bellissima” on her ribs. She revealed on Twitter that it was because that’s what her grandpa always called her. She also has “8418” inked on her foot in honor of the father of ex-fiance Pete Davidson. Davidson’s dad was a firefighter who died on 9/11 and that was his badge number.
All Of Her Albums Have Been Well Reviewed
As of October 2018, Grande has released four albums and each of them has received positive reviews from top critics. According to Metacritic, which assigns an average score to albums based on top reviews, all four records have earned ratings of “Generally Favorable” to “Universal Acclaim.” “Sweetener” and “Yours Truly” have earned the highest scores yet.
She Has A Pet Pig
When Grande and Pete Davidson were dating, the couple adopted a pet pig named Piggy Smalls. The cute animal starred in a music video for Grande’s song “Breathin” and quickly became an internet sensation. Grande has apparently kept Piggy Smalls since the breakup and has called her “the absolute love of my life.”
Pretty Much Everyone Follows Her On Instagram
As of September 2018, Grande was listed as having the third-most followed personal Instagram account. She has 131 million followers, which ranks her above Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift. Her most-liked Instagram ever was a picture of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller posted on Sept. 8, 2018, the day after he died, which earned more than 12.7 million likes.
Her First Televised Performance Came On The Ice
Her history with the NHL didn’t end with a Zamboni ride. In 2002, when Grande was 8 or 9 years old, she made her musical debut on television, performing the national anthem before a Florida Panthers game. Her voice wasn’t nearly as big back then but she was adorable as could be.