While Nick Cannon has caused quite a stir since releasing “Alone,” he isn’t exactly the first celebrity to reference a former flame in his songs.
Just like the rest of the world, celebrities experience love and heartbreak. They also adopt strategies to cope with broken relationships and lost love.
We have seen this play out with most celebrities over the years. Many times, these public figures are opportune to rant about their failed affairs on national TV.
Some even get to address their heartbreaks and disappointment in music tracks, something most consider therapeutic. Recall Ariana Grande’s “Thank You, Next,” which summarized her dating history and its impact on her, or Future’s jealous outburst in his 2021 rendition of “Maybach,” where he dissed ex Lori Harvey following the onset of her relationship with Michael B. Jordan.
Others like Katy Perry, Big Sean, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Kanye West, Joe Jonas and Pink have also taken the route. More recently, Nick Cannon changed the narrative deviating from the usual diss or rants about broken hearts making up celebrity songs about exes.
He instead sang about his regrets over messing things up with a former love (assumed to be Mariah Carey). The lyrics held so much weight that Cannon changed the world’s perception of him to some extent.
The Truth Behind Nick Cannon’s Track, “Alone”
Back in February 2022, Nick Cannon released a new track titled “Alone,” adding to his list of insightful songs. The track, which debuted on Valentine’s day took everyone by surprise as it referenced someone he lost after messing up.
Not-so-coincidentally, those lyrics kind of summed up his love story with his ex-wife and singer Mariah Carey. As further confirmation he was writing about her, the icon included samples from her 90s song, “Love Takes Time.”
Nick Cannon later admitted the song was indeed inspired by Carey, but not in the way people thought. He simply utilized those lyrics as a means of owning up to his mistakes.
That said, here are eight other celebrities, aside from Nick Cannon, who have written songs about their exes or referenced them in their tracks.
1. Selena Gomez (Same Old Love)
The break up between former favorite teen couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez cut really deep in pop culture history. But it appeared to have cut through the couple even deeper, leaving some lasting wounds.
Ultimately, Selena Gomez turned to music to get things off her chest, releasing the track, “Same Old Love.”
The song told of an ex who pulled the same tricks repeatedly. Coincidentally, the song came on the heels of Bieber’s track “Where Are U Now,” which contained visual shades of Gomez, and another track, “Love Yourself.” A penny for your thoughts!
2. Justin Timberlake (“Cry Me A River”)
Following Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s split in the nineties, fans clamored to discover the reason behind it. While the former couple never shared their reasons, Timberlake released the track, “Cry Me A River” soon after, which remains the closest thing to a clue.
The lyrics of the song gave the perception that someone came between him and his ex, implying Spears cheated on him. Although he never mentioned her name, the vixen in his music video was a carbon copy of Spears. Sort of.
3. Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball,” “7 Things)
Former child star Miley Cyrus has been known to address her exes in her songs, from Nick Jonas to Liam Hemsworth. In her song, “7 Things,” the songstress addressed her relationship and breakup with Jonas, her first love.
The song listed seven things she hated about her first love but wasn’t exactly a diss track since her seventh point was a subtle reaffirmation of her love for him.
Years later, she wrote about another ex in her song “Wrecking Ball,” referencing how he left her broken. The song came in the wake of her break up from actor Liam Hemsworth who she was engaged to.
4. Ed Sheeran (“Don’t”)
Ed Sheeran’s brief fling with Ellie Goulding ended in a messy breakup that became the inspiration behind his next hit.
In his track, “Don’t,” the star sang about an ex who hooked up with his best friend. In real life, Goulding did something similar, gearing off an affair with One Direction bandmate Niall Horan. Okay, that might not be enough proof given he never mentioned either of them in the song.
But what better confirmation is needed than Sheeran’s admission that he had no hard feelings towards them since he got a killer song out of it?
5. Rihanna (“Cold Case Love”)
In “Cold Case Love” Rihanna dished the unspoken truth about her abusive relationship with Chris Brown leading to his arrest.
The star poured out her heart, holding little back as she sang of how love blinded her, forcing her to cage her emotions and suffer in silence.
In a later interview, the star admitted she indeed referenced Brown in the song, and wanted the world to know everything that went down in that relationship.
6. Joe Jonas (“Much Better”)
Although he has repeatedly denied it, Joe Jonas’ song “Much Better,” seemed like a jab at ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift.
It seems too much of a coincidence that he released a track about being in a better place shortly after his infamous breakup from the award-winning songstress.
7. Taylor Swift (Several Songs)
Post-breakup songs by Nick Cannon, Rihanna, Ariana Grande and other celebrities who have released songs about their exes do not hold a candle to Taylor Swift’s record.
The country singer has a reputation for tapping inspiration from her relationships and breakups. Hence, most of her songs feature lyrics about her numerous ex-boyfriends.
From “Dear John,” to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” there is no holding her back. In “Tears on My Guitar,” the crooner referenced Joe Jonas’ infamous breakup with her via a 27 seconds phone call.
“Dear John” addressed ex-boyfriend John Mayer while “I Did Something Bad” made it clear she had no regrets about moving on from Calvin Harris. She has also called out exes like Harry Styles and Jake Gyllenhaal in her songs, without mincing words.
Unlike most celebrities who outrightly deny garnering inspiration from their exes or directing obvious diss tracks at them, Swift makes no secret of that fact.
She unrepentantly pours out her heart into her music, showing fans her vulnerable side. This vulnerability makes it easier to relate to these public figures rather than consider them otherworldly. See? They have feelings too, just like us.