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Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson?
The couple have become our national obsession.
Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson are newly engaged after just weeks of dating. Even my husband, who does not follow celebrity goings-on at all, was excited by this news, which somehow seeped into his brain. He came home from work asking me if I’d heard about it. Then he had opinions on how they’re “just two crazy kids in love.” This baffled me. Yes, she’s a world-famous pop star, he’s the cute kid from Saturday Night Live. But why are people so into finding out every detail about their romance?
Let’s start with the fact that Davidson popped the question on the heels of his breakup with Cazzie David, and Ariana’s split from Mac Miller. Pete and Cazzie broke up just weeks ago, Ariana and the rapper split in April.
“It’s a recent engagement. They’re just two people who found love quickly and make each other happy all the time. They both started talking about it this past weekend. It’s nothing they’ve been hiding,” a source told People of Pete and Ariana.
A brief timeline of their interactions:
In March 2016 Ariana appeared on SNL alongside the comedian.
On May 10, 2018 Ariana Grande confirms split from Mac Miller. She writes on Instagram: "This is one of my best friends in the whole world and favorite people on the planet. I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for both of us!"
On May 16, 2018 Pete and Cazzie break up.
On May 20, 2018 Pete cheers on Ariana backstage at the Billboard Music Awards.
On May 24, 2018 Pete defends Ariana Grande relationship with a lengthy post on social media. "Normally I wouldn’t comment on something like this cause like f--k you. But I been hearing a lot of “people with bpd can’t be in relationships” talk. I just wanna let you know that’s not true. Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they can’t be happy and in a relationship,” he writes.
The two confirmed their relationship on May 30, with Pete posting the two dressed in Harry Potter-themed costumes. “The chamber of secrets has been opened ...," he captioned it.
They have been planting emoji kisses and hearts on each other’s Instagram accounts ever since.
On June 2, 2018, Pete gets two tattoos for Ariana, AG on his thumb and a pair of bunny ears behind his ear. That same day, Ariana is photographed wearing her engagement ring. According to TMZ, it’s worth nearly $100,000.
On June 9, 2018, Pete thanks Ariana in an Instagram comment, writing that he’s "the happiest boy on earth."
OK cool, but why do we care?
New York City-based celebrity publicist and founder of Brandsway Creative, Kelly Brady, says it’s simple — we all love love.
“America loves celebrity couples as it give them something to relate to, root for and feel connected to,” she says. “When a celebrity couple is born, it raises both celebrities’ star power. Brands want to endorse them and magazines want to write about them. Falling in love, getting married, and having a baby is a great story for the American public to follow and for brands to capitalize on. It’s a win-win for everyone. We all want to believe in a true love story.”
Marriage and relationship counselor Tamara Green says we become obsessed with certain public relationships because it's a delightful diversion from our own life challenges.
"Daily life is stressful for most and sometimes, we just need a break from our own thinking minds. From time to time, there's nothing wrong with a little innocent distraction," she says. " It's also a way to connect or unite with others, 'Hey, did you hear about so-and-so?'"
But don't get too crazy.
"Those that are totally obsessed about other people's lives is because they're unconsciously avoiding their own personal growth..'It's too painful to explore my life, so let me completely focus on others.'"
Psychotherapist Jason Ross brings up a few good points, saying that we think celebrities are living these fantasy lives. "While we know the reality, the fantasy is something that's a guilty pleasure for most to indulge in. It's escapism and, let's face it, people do so much to escape nowadays; more than ever before," he says. "If we look at the rates of mental and physical health issues, you don't need a Ph.D to figure this one out. And this story has had some drama to it with the individual relationships/breakups they have each had, and people like drama too...What also makes these two rather unique is that they openly discuss mental health and personal issues. These are very public lives...Mental health stigma is still just that; a stigma. Pete has helped to diminish that. People are always looking for something to connect to. Humans want some form of validation."
Second, as far as fantasy and fairy tales, Americans don't have a King and Queen like in the UK for example, and the political climate in the U.S. is, well, harsh at best. So this couple becomes a/the fairytale. The questions abound..."Can they make it? Is it real? Did you see the ring? OMG they are really in love! What's gonna happen?" Americans are certainly enthralled with reality TV and this is a massive source of unscripted reality TV.
Body language expert Patti Wood even liked dissecting the couple's Instagram pictures, saying it's evident the two are into each other (even though their Instagram pictures are highly posed.)
“This picture is not spontaneous,” she says. “You can tell the way she’s sticking out her tongue. Her head is thrown back, she looks like she’s in the throes of rapture, and there’s not a hair out of place. It’s very clear it’s posed. She’s sticking her tongue out to be sexual and playful, he’s being playful too by kissing her.”
But wat’s really interesting is how locked together their hands and arms are,” Wood adds.
“His arm goes all the way across the body there’s an emphasis on how locked together they are. She’s got her hands holding him tight — there’s a lot of energy locked in together about them here.”