Ariana Grande has a pretty unusual name for someone who was born in Florida, but what does this say about her heritage, and could she actually be Italian?
Ariana Grande doesn’t hold Italian citizenship but describes herself as an Italian American of “half Sicilian and half Abruzzese” descent. Her parents hail from Italy, but the Grammy-winning singer also has Greek and North African roots.
Stick around to learn more about Ariana Grande’s family and her Italian heritage.
Grande’s Italian Roots
Ariana Grande’s parents Joan Grande and Edward Butera met in NYC during the early ‘90s and tied the knot in 1992. They decided to start a new life in Boca Raton, Florida and their daughter was born shortly after they moved to this city in 1993.
The “Thank U Next” singer was born Ariana Grande-Butera, adopting her parents’ last names as her own. Joan and Edward are both of Italian descent, and their daughter refers to herself as “half Sicilian and half Abruzzese”, in addition to having Greek and North African roots.
The Grammy-winning artist dropped her father’s last name once she started pursuing a professional music career, but she’s not planning to change it again. Even if she gets married one day, she’s keeping her last name Grande as a way of honoring her late grandpa Frank.
She also paid homage to her grandpa by tattooing the word “bellissima” (beautiful in Italian) on her rib cage because it used to be his nickname for her. Grande described her family as “eccentric and weird and loud and Italian” in an interview with Vogue and told Mirror that she’s proud of their “amazing history”.
Ariana Grande’s Parents
Ariana Grande’s father Edward started his own graphic design company after moving to Florida, while her mother Joan served as the CEO of Hose-McCann Communications. They split up when Grande was nine, and she had a strained relationship with her dad after their divorce.
The Victorious actress started going to therapy shortly after their separation and fell out of touch with her father in 2013. She described it as the toughest thing she has ever had to deal with, but also an important learning lesson.
“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 okay not to get along with somebody and still love them,” Grande told Seventeen Magazine.
She famously referenced her relationship with her dad in the chart-topping hit “Thank U, Next” with lyrics “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 Edward managed to work through their problems, and the singer invited both of her parents to join her at the 2020 Grammy Awards. She changed the lyrics of “Thank U, Next” during her live performance and paid homage to her dad by calling him “really awesome”.
Pop Stars with Italian Roots
Ariana Grande isn’t the only American hitmaker with Italian roots. Madonna and Cyndi Lauper are two of the biggest music legends whose ancestors hail from this country. Alicia Keys is also part Italian since her maternal grandparents moved from Sicily to the US.
Madonna even made a cameo in the music video for “God Is a Woman”, and Grande spoke highly of her in an interview with Cosmopolitan. The “7 Rings” singer said she loves Madonna with every ounce of her being and that she’s “inspired by her bravery and her strength.”
Grande also had a chance to work with one of the most popular Italian American artists working today – Lady Gaga. The two singers collaborated on chart-topping hit “Rain on Me”, and Gaga described the process of making this song as “very healing” because Grande was “so open to trying things”.