“A lot of her obsession with being in relationships and getting married stems from her broken home – she really wants a family," a source told Sun Online.
“The trouble is that she’s looking to the wrong guys – men who have a lot of the traits of her dad – men who need fixing."
The 25-year-old former Nickelodeon star has been estranged from her father, Edward Butera, 60, since 2013 when she moved to LA to focus on her career.
Our source adds: "Ariana's dad let her down a fair bit after he split with her mum when Ari was eight or nine.
"He'd miss birthdays and important auditions while she was growing up."
The source adds that Ariana struggled with the fact that he was so passionate about his work as a graphic designer that she felt he put that first.
She also felt he wasn't that supportive of her dream to be a singer, while her mum Joan would move states to L.A. so she could pursue it.
"Ari also didn't like that Edward wasn't interested in Joan's son from a previous relationship, Frankie.
"Ariana grew up seeing all this and her mother's pain and endless tears.
"She tried for years to talk to him about the hurt, but he would never give her the validation she needed."
“With guys like Pete and Mac, she tried to find guys that were emotionally bruised like her and not independent.
"It’s as if she thinks guys who rely on her emotionally will stick around. But ultimately, there is that same selfishness in them – and drugs and their drama usually comes before her.”
'The toughest thing I ever had to deal with'
Following a string of heartbreak, Ariana put out number 1 hit, Thank U, Next, late last year.
The song, which references Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Mac Miller, and Pete Davidson, is an ode to the lessons each relationship taught her.
But, it’s the rare mention of her father in the middle of the song that has gained the most attention.
Ariana sings: “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."
Ariana and her dad have had a strained relationship for most of her adult life.
In an interview with Seventeen magazine in 2014, she described falling out with her dad, who split from her mother Joan when Ariana was eight.
“It was the toughest thing I ever had to deal with," she explained. "It's private, but it happened last year.
"It took me so long to be OK 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…
"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 OK not to get along with somebody and still love them."
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celebrating my little sister’s first #1 on the @billboard hot 100 with thank u, next… when i think back on the journey you have gone on to get to this point ariana i beam with pride. you have overcome TREMENDOUS obstacles and throughout it all have never lost you humanity or your ability to love even in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds. I love you. you DESERVE THIS! and it is so beautiful that this accolade happened not because you tried to be someone else, but because you fully embraced exactly where you are and who you are and spoke your truth. you are so inspirational and i am honored to have you in my life every single day!
Billion dollar p***y
It was around the time that her parents split up and she lost contact with her dad that Ariana went from dating squeaky clean boy-band members to striking up a romance with rapper Big Sean in 2014.
The singer showed up arm-in-arm with the musician, known for his lyrics about drugs, murder and strippers, at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
“This was Ariana’s shedding of the child star image,” says our source. “She found Sean’s streetwise persona exciting.
But while Ariana fell hard, Sean was not on the same page.
“Her feelings got the better of her and she started pressuring him about getting engaged,” reveals our source.
“The trouble is he just loved the idea of this innocent pretty pop princess being on his arm. It was not that serious to him.”
The unlikely pair’s relationship eventually ended in April 2015 when Ariana dumped the rapper after he made track Stay Down, in which he crudely boasted about her: “I got a million dollar chick with a billion dollar p***y. Every time I c*m, I swear to God I feel like I be rich.”
TMZ reported that Ariana was especially embarrassed when her grandmother asked about the lyrics.
The 'rebound queen'
Following the Big Sean break up, Ariana jumped into a romance with one of her back-up dancers, Ricky Alvarez, who she was pictured with again this week.
“Ariana is not one to wait around,” says our source. “She’s the rebound queen.
"Ricky appealed to her because he was edgy with all his tattoos and a bit of a daredevil."
In July 2015, the couple were caught up in an infamous scandal that threatened to end Ariana’s career when they were filmed secretly licking doughnuts.
In a clip that surfaced online, Ariana looked disgusted by a tray of doughnuts, and says: "What the f*** is this? I hate Americans. I hate America. That is disgusting."
The licked doughnuts were later sold to customers who were unaware of the contamination.
The star faced an intense backlash and took to Twitter with a lengthy apology.
Ariana and Ricky dated for just over a year.
While neither has spoken out about the reasons behind their split, our source tells us: “Ari got bored. Turned out his antics got a bit tiresome and she set her sights elsewhere.”
No one left to support her
Next, Ariana met rapper Mac Miller.
“The relationship was trouble from the beginning because of Mac’s substance abuse issues,” says a pal.
“They had loads of arguments and eventually everyone was worried that Ariana was becoming a bit like his carer. He needed constant emotional support.”
But in May 2017 their relationship would become particularly challenging when the tables turned and Ariana would be the one who needed help most.
Tragedy struck when a suicide bomber killed dozens of fans outside her concert at Manchester Arena.
“Mac tried to be her rock in the aftermath," says the friend. “But months later it was clear that he needed to focus on his own issues and supporting her was taking it’s toll…
“She’d have issues sleeping. They started having loads of arguments.
"She eventually ended things when his demons became too much for her to help him with. She needed to focus on her own wellbeing.”
Shortly after their May 2018 split, Mac was arrested for driving under the influence and fleeing the scene.
An online troll said Ariana’s dumping of Mac was behind this, and the singer hit back revealing for the first time that the relationship had been “toxic”.
"I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be," she said.
"I didn't share about how hard or scary it was while it was happening but it was.”
Following the split, Ariana soon embarked on yet another romance – this time, with self-professed pothead, Pete Davidson.
The pair confirmed their engagement just weeks after it emerged they were dating.
“She'd been through a lot with Mac,” an insider told E! News. “She was excited to have a fresh new start with someone new, but she’s a hopeless romantic.”
Saturday Night Live comedian Pete had previously revealed he couldn’t survive without drugs and booze and had checked into rehab for his issues in 2016.
While Ariana and Pete flaunted their relationship all over social media, something was about to happen that would change her life forever.
The little girl that tried to save him
Ariana was flying when she got the shocking news on September 7th 2018 that her 26-year-old ex Mac Miller had died in his California home from a suspected drug overdose.
"She completely broke down after she found out ," one insider told People magazine.
On top of grief, Ariana was then to face an onslaught of criticism from his fans who blamed her for his death.
Rushing to her defence was Mac’s close pal Shane Powers.
“I have to say, she was incredible when he was first sobering up. There could not have been anybody more supportive of him being sober than Ariana… This little girl was unbelievably involved and helpful to him being healthy,” he said.
But the pressure was too much.
On October 14, less than five months after getting together, Ariana and Pete split.
"It was way too much too soon," a source told People magazine.
"It's not shocking to anyone. Mac’s death really gave her pause. Pete wasn’t the support system she hoped for."
Only time will tell if the next love of Ari’s life will be another bad boy.
In the meantime, it seems she’s finally putting herself first – and growing from the drama.
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