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During an interview for the August cover of Vogue, Ariana Grande teared up so often that the writer, Rob Haskell, describes feeling bad for her. The crying led to a “bumbling interchange of apologies” from the two, according to Haskell. Probably because Grande was tasked with talking about her recent traumas—big and small—with unexpected grace and humor.

First off, she says she didn’t want to do the interview at first, feeling “dread and guilt about her dread,” as far as discussing her life.

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Grande explains, half-crying:

“I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world. I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this I’m just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out.” She laughs through her sniffles. “I have to be the luckiest girl in the world, and the unluckiest, for sure. I’m walking this fine line between healing myself and not letting the things that I’ve gone through be picked at before I’m ready, and also celebrating the beautiful things that have happened in my life and not feeling scared that they’ll be taken away from me because trauma tells me that they will be, you know what I mean?”

Grande says she has no problem playing her old hits—like the sexed up “Side to Side” and the super horny “Into You”—at concerts, though, she says, “A lot of my singles have been hilariously lacking in substance. You’re talking to someone who put ‘Side to Side’ out as a single. I love that song, but it’s just a fun song about sex.” Haskell writes:

I ask her if it ever feels uncomfortable to gaze out at an audience of thousands of nine-year-old girls while singing a song about having so much coitus that it’s hard to walk straight. “They’re for sure gonna have it. I promise. I promise that your kid’s gonna have sex. So if she asks you what the song’s about, talk about it.”

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When it comes to her late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, Grande has fewer clear answers. She stands by her tweet about people blaming women for their partner’s missteps—which she wrote after fans accused her of somehow causing Miller’s accidental overdose. But she also explains that the nature of their relationship took a toll on her and her ability to support for Miller:

“It’s pretty all-consuming,” she says of her grief over Miller. “By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, fuck. He was the best person ever, and he didn’t deserve the demons he had. I was the glue for such a long time, and I found myself becoming . . . less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away.”

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Her former fiancé Pete Davidson, on the other hand, was just for fun:

“My friends were like, ‘Come [to New York]! We’re gonna have a fun summer.’ And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction. It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him. I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff.”

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We should have guessed it from all that BDE talk.