They say you have to take the bad with the good — and blossoming pop star Ariana Grande seems to be learning that at the tender age of 21. Despite chart-topping albums, the former Nickelodeon star has been at the center of reports alleging she’s a behind-the-scenes “monster” who makes nonstop demands.
But Star has exclusively learned that this behavior, as well as the singer’s admittance that she’s struggled with insecurity, may have roots in her being caught up in the extremely nasty divorce between her mom, Joan, and dad, Edward, that began when Ariana was just 9 years old.
Ariana was living with her parents in a $1.1 million mansion in Boca Raton when their 10-year marriage fell apart. According to Palm Beach County (Fla.) court documents obtained by Star, Edward file for divorce in August 2002. At the time, Joan was making $700,000 a year, and Edward earned $99,000 yearly. The documents spell out the privileged lives Ariana and her family were living: monthly expenditures for the young star alone included $1,000 for clothes, $1,000 for entertainment and $350 for “grooming” — which may explain why one source recently claimed Ariana “acts like a child and constantly needs people to coddle her.”
The family also spent $1500 a month on restaurants and had a live-in maid and full-time babysitter. Joan had three cars, in addition to keeping a limo service at the family’s beck and call for $600 a month.
But money can’t buy happiness, and the divorce quickly became contentious. Joan accused Edward of being “totally out of control and in a rage” when he confronted her near their home, and also of “stalking ” her outside Ariana’s dance classes (Edward denied the allegations).
Joan was awarded primary custody of her daughter when the divorce was finalized in August 2003 — but not before she told the court she intended to introduce the then 10-year-old’s diary as an exhibit.
“Children who are placed in the middle of their parents’ divorce can suffer from emotional issues as they become teens and adults,” Sue Cornbluth, professor of psychology at Temple University and an expert on parenting and childhood trauma, tells Star. “The most notable emotional issue is a difficulty in interpersonal relationships.”
As for Ariana’s reported diva behavior, Cornbluth (who has not treated the pop star) cites the singer’s seemingly pampered upbringing and adds: “If you’re used to getting everything you want, then you begin to expect it from everyone. That can lead to a lifelong pattern of self-entitlement.”
To her credit, Ariana acknowledges the hurtful circumstances she’s endured. “Everyone with divorced parents knows what it’s like to be in the middle,” she says. “Even years later, I’m still in the middle.”
For more information, and to see the court documents, pick up the latest issue of Star, on newsstands now!