Get in on the Gossip: These Songs Were All Written About Other Celebrities

Since the beginning of music-making, artists have been drawing inspiration from the world around them. We all tend to be influenced by the people in our lives, but the difference between us and music artists is they get to make music about those people. And since celebrities tend to hang out and date other celebs, it only makes sense that their songs are about them.

Kanye West on The Jonathan Ross Show in 2015. / Leonard Cohen in 1998. / Taylor Swift at the Billboard Women in Music event. / Kurt Cobain in concert in 1991.

Photo by Brian J Ritchie, Hot Sauce, Shutterstock.com / Richard Young, Shutterstock.com / Matt Baron, Shutterstock.com / Ian Dickson, Shutterstock.com

The fun thing about it is that sometimes we have no idea who the song is about and once we do find out, it makes listening to that song that much more fun. So on that note, let’s check out which songs were written about other celebrities. You might already know a few, but some will definitely surprise you. Like, did you know that Mariah Carey wrote a song about Eminem? I didn’t! Now you’ll get to see what made her do it…

These are the songs we’ve all heard time and time again – but now you’ll know who the muse was!

Mariah Carey – Obsessed

About: Eminem

Sometimes, recording artists will have full on duels with each other solely through their songs. And of all people, diva Mariah Carey and rapper Eminem got involved in a song battle. Their musical back and forth can get confusing, but this is the gist of it. Apparently, Eminem claimed that he and Mariah were something of an item. In fact, according to Marshall Mathers (his real name), they were at it for “a good six, seven months.”

Mariah Carey performing at the Billboard Music Awards in 2019. / Eminem performing at a festival in Manchester.

Photo by Rob Latour, Shutterstock.com / Mpifcu, mediapunch, Shutterstock.com

The harshness in his songs (like ‘The Warning’) that are about her evolved from her insistence that they were never even a couple. Eminem referenced her twice on his album, The Eminem Show. Then Mariah mentioned him on her album, Clown (“should’ve left it at ‘I like your music, too'”). Eminem later played voicemail messages from Mariah while on his Anger Management tour. Then, eventually, Mariah released her song Obsessed.

Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River

About: Britney Spears

Justin Timberlake did more than just write a song about his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. He went one step further and hired a Britney lookalike to be featured in his music video (“y’know, just in case you weren’t entirely sure who the song was about”). While it was obvious to pretty much everyone who saw the video, he only fessed up much later.

Justin Timberlake holding an award at the Hollywood Film Awards. / Britney Spears at the Billboard Music Awards.

Photo by Matt Baron, Shutterstock.com / Jim Smeal, Shutterstock.com

Timberlake finally admitted that the song was written about his ex: “I was on a phone call that was not the most enjoyable phone call. I walked into the studio and he [Timbaland] could tell I was visibly angry.” The result? Cry Me A River. By the way, Britney’s song, Everytime, was released a few weeks later in what was allegedly her response to JT. Oh, young dramatic love.

Carly Simon – You’re So Vain

About: Warren Beatty

I think that everyone who knows this song is aware that this song is written about a guy, but the question is who? Who is she calling vain? Rumors have long swirled around as to who was the target of Simon’s clever ridicule. Many speculated that the song was about Kris Kristofferson, David Bowie, or others.

Carly Simon performing in 1995. / Headshot of Warren Beatty in 1964.

Photo by Atashian, Mediapunch, Shutterstock.com / Kobal, Shutterstock.com

For 44 years, Simon declined to reveal her secret. During the years of speculation, even Warren Beatty himself thought the song was about him, claiming in 1999: ‘Let’s be honest, that song is about me.” The actor turned out to be partially right. Then Simon revealed 16 years after Beatty’s declaration: “I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” she told People Magazine. “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!” He really is so vain!

John Mayer – Your Body Is a Wonderland

About: Jennifer Love Hewitt (most probably)

Okay, it isn’t confirmed by John Mayer himself, but Your Body Is a Wonderland is widely believed to be about his ex-lover, Jennifer Love Hewitt. You would think any girl would want to be John Mayer’s muse, not to mention being referred to as someone with a body that’s described as a wonderland, right? Wrong.

John Mayer in concert in Hong Kong. / Jennifer Love Hewitt at a red-carpet event in LA.

Photo by Imaginechina, Shutterstock.com / David Buchan, Variety, Shutterstock.com

Hewitt denied the rumors, telling Entertainment Weekly in 2007 that “My body is far from a wonderland. My body is more like a pawnshop. There’s a lot of interesting things put together, and if you look closely you’d probably be excited, but at first glance, not so much.” But let’s be honest, she doesn’t really know if the song is about her. John Mayer’s silence in the matter makes me think it’s true.

Aerosmith – Dude (Looks Like a Lady)

About: Vince Neil

Aerosmith’s wildly famous song, Dude (Looks Like A Lady), has a very specific origin story. Co-writer Desmond Child said in an interview with SongFacts that Steven Tyler showed him a song he was working on. It was then called Cruisin’ for the Ladies. Child thought that it was a boring title. Then Steven admitted how when he first wrote the melody, he was actually singing “Dude Looks like a Lady.”

Aerosmith performing in 1994. / Vince Neil at the South Park premiere in 1999.

Photo by Aceves, Mediapunch, Shutterstock.com / Bei, Shutterstock.com

Apparently, he got the idea for the song after going to a bar and seeing a girl at with ginormous blonde rock hair. That girl turned around and it was none other than Vince Neil from Motley Crue. So, they started making fun of him, saying: “That dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady.” So, there you have it.

Kings of Leon: Sex on Fire

About: Lily Aldridge

When a song is named Sex on Fire, you’re going to get people’s attention. And it will turn even more heads when you realize who the song is about. The Kings of Leon major hit single became a chart-topping tune in 2008. And, Elle magazine stated that the lead singer, Caleb Followill, wrote it about his girlfriend at the time.

Kings of Leon at the Women of the Year Awards. / Lily Aldridge out in New York.

Source: Shutterstock / Broadimage, Shutterstock.com

That woman? Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge. In the lyrics, he says “It’s not forever, but it’s just tonight.” The lyrics indicate that it was meant to be something temporary. But I think he must have been mistaken because Followill and Aldridge ended up getting married in 2011. The two are still together, which is always a shocker in this industry!

Elton John – Candle in the Wind

About: Marilyn Monroe

This one might be more commonly known, but I think it nonetheless deserves to be on a list of songs about other celebrities, would you not agree? The subject of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind can be seen as obvious from the get-go, considering the opening line of “Goodbye, Norma Jean” (which was her real name).

Elton John at the Gianni Versace shop opening in 1992. / A black and white headshot of Marilyn Monroe.

Photo by Richard Young, Shutterstock.com /

John was inspired by Monroe’s short but illustrious life. Others say that Marilyn was just a metaphor for fame and dying before one’s time. Then, Elton John rewrote Candle in the Wind for Princess Diana after she was tragically killed in 1997. In that version, the song was about another famous person; this time a beloved member of the royal family who also died before her time.

Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

About: Courtney Love

It’s safe to say that the song’s origins are rooted in a famous feud between the two. Courtney dissed Gwen in an interview with Seventeen magazine, saying: “Being famous is just like being in high school. But I’m not interested in being the cheerleader. I’m not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She’s the cheerleader, and I’m out in the smoker shed.”

Gwen Stefani at a festival in LA. / Courtney Love at the Catch-22 TV show premiere.

Photo by Broadimage, Shutterstock.com / AFF-USA, Shutterstock.com

That said, Stefani’s song is her reply to Love. “Hollaback girl” is a term that’s associated with cheerleading. In the song, Stefani uses the cheerleader analogy to describe her status as a leader. It can also be a challenge to Love to respond to her track – to holler back. This fight ended up scoring Gwen a UK Top 10. That’s more than Courtney can account for.

Kanye West – Runaway and Hell of a Life

About: Amber Rose

It’s easy to forget that Kanye had a love, and a love life, before Kim. But Kanye West’s 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is full of huge hits, many of which refer to the end of his two-year fling with model Amber Rose. The songs, Runaway and Hell of a Life give us a look into their rocky relationship.

Kanye West at the Night of Stars Gala in New York. / Amber Rose at the Hotel Transylvania 3 film premiere.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin, Shutterstock.com / John Salangsang, Shutterstock.com

The album as a whole is considered an ode to Amber. In a GQ article from 2015, Amber revealed that she won’t even listen to that album, but has “caught bits” of it while out in public. “I’ll hear songs and I’m like, ‘Oh, he said that about me,'” she said. She also said how she is fully aware that he’s talking to her through his music.

Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean

About: Selena Gomez

The two young and good-looking pop stars were once an on-again off-again couple that would potentially make super good-looking babies. But as of now, their current status is off since Bieber is married to Hailey Rhode. Anyway, all the relationship drama between Biebs and Gomez has resulted in a lot of speculation about their songs.

Justin Bieber out in Los Angeles. / Selena Gomez at the Frozen II premiere.

Photo by Broadimage, Shutterstock.com / Michael Buckner, Variety, Shutterstock.com

It’s all those coded lyrics and music videos that gave more than just hints. But the Biebs revealed to Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show that his songs, What Do You Mean, Mark My Words, and a “little bit” of Sorry were all about his dear ex, Selena. As for Selena, fans are suggesting that her single, Bad Liar, really can’t be about anyone other than her ex Justin.

Billy Joel – Uptown Girl

About: Elle Macpherson (Maybe)

The basis of the very popular belief that Billy’s Joel’s Uptown Girl was about supermodel Elle Macpherson is become at the time of the song’s release, the two were actually dating. So, it was only natural for people to assume the song was about her. Brinkley was even in the music video.

A photograph of Billy Joel performing. / Elle Macpherson at an awards ceremony in 1992.

Photo by Musacca, Mediapunch, Shutterstock.com / Steve Back, Daily Mail, Shutterstock.com

In an interview with Howard Stern, Joel suggested that he was first inspired to write the song while dating Macpherson. But the song was about a number of women, considering its original title was “Uptown Girls.” The Australian model is also a businesswoman, television host, and actress who earned a net worth of $95 million dollars. Her real name is Eleanor Nancy Gow and she was born on March 29, 1964, which makes her 55 years old today.

Britney Spears – Everytime

About: Justin Timberlake

We heard Justin’s side of the story with Cry Me a River, and since there are two sides to every coin, it’s only fair to give Britney’s version. Well, it’s more of an apology than her version of the story. Either way, ‘Everytime’ was Britney’s response to Justin’s angry track.

Britney Spears at NSYNC’s celebrity album launch party in 2001. / Justin Timberlake at Radio City Music Hall in 2002.

Photo by Chris Weeks, BEI, Shutterstock.com / Davila, Mediapunch, Shutterstock.com

Britney’s lyrics included lines like “I may have made it rain, please forgive me. My weakness caused you pain, and this song is my sorry.” The two have since moved on; Justin is married to the gorgeous Jessica Biel since 2012, and Britney is dating Sam Asghari. But JT and Britney’s past romance is still one that fans will always love to look back on.

Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

About: Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol

Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone is six minutes of dissing an unnamed person. Although it isn’t 100% confirmed, many believe that the song is aimed at the late actress and model, Edie Sedgwick. The former debutante, and the lyrics “Once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?” seem to go together.

Bob Dylan at a press conference in Australia in 1986. / Andy Warhol and Edi Sedgwick at Vidal Sassoon’s Launch Party 1965.

Photo by Rob Walls, Shutterstock.com / Associated Newspapers, Shutterstock.com

Dylan was apparently upset that Sedgwick ditched his group of friends to hang out in the art world with Andy Warhol. Dylan felt that Warhol was mistreating her. His lines “Ain’t it hard when you discover that he really wasn’t where it’s at, after he took from you everything he could steal,” are probably aimed at Warhol.

Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

About: Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus revealed herself to be Katy Perry’s inspiration behind her hit single, I Kissed a Girl. Confused? I’ll explain. Cyrus was speaking on the radio and said: “When she came out with I Kissed A Girl, I was doing the Hannah Montana movie and I heard her on the radio. They said, “Who’d you write that about?” and she said me… and I heard it and I started screaming and freaking out.”

Katy Perry performing on NBC’s Today at Rockefeller Center. / Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana.

Photo by Hoo-Me, Mediapunch, Shutterstock.com / Rich Powell, Disney Channel, Kobal, Shutterstock.com

It isn’t really clear why Cyrus was Perry’s muse in this case, but what is for sure is that the two pop stars hadn’t even met at that point, back in 2008. But after the fact, the singers became good friends. The song scored Perry 5 weeks at No.1 in the UK.

Ed Sheeran – Don’t

About: Ellie Goulding

Rumors had swirled around for months about how Sheeran’s hit track was about his messy break-up with Ellie Goulding, his rumored girlfriend. Apparently, she was cheating on him with close friend, Niall Horan. While Sheeran didn’t confirm that that’s the case, he did reveal that he and Goulding were definitely an item when they attended the 2013 MTV VMAs together.

Ed Sheeran at the 2013 MTV VMA Awards. / Ellie Goulding at the MTV VMA Awards.

Photo by Erik Pendzich, Shutterstock.com / Matt Baron, BEI, Shutterstock.com

Fast forward two years and fans were convinced that Ellie’s 2015 song, On My Mind, was her reaction to ex- Ed. The lyrics are kind of harsh with: “You wanted my heart but I just liked your tattoos.” Ellie never elaborated on that. Fast forward another four years and, according to Ed, the drama has died down: “That’s the end of it. I’m grateful I could get a song out of it, to be honest.”

Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble

About: Harry Styles

This number from her album, Red, is definitively about Harry Styles. She performed it at the Grammys and with a mocking British accent, Taylor said, “Well, it’s not hard to access that emotion when the person the song is directed at is standing by the side of the stage watching.” Well, that’s awkward…

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles

Source: Instagram/Roma/IPA/Shutterstock

Taylor Swift might just be the most prolific of the heartbreak-to-hit songwriter. She has written countless songs about ex-boyfriends. From this song to Style to Out of the Woods to The Last Time and All Too Well, Swift is no stranger to dissing exes in her tunes. She’s even written songs about Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer (but, we’ll get to those songs soon).

Katy Perry – By the Grace of God

About: Russell Brand

The pair got married in 2010 only to get divorced less than two years later. The lyrics of this song are pretty self-explanatory and do a good job at painting a picture of a distraught Perry trying to make her way through a bad heartbreak. And by bad, I mean she had near-suicidal thoughts.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand at a benefit celebration in 2011.

Photo by Jim Smeal / BEI / Shutterstock.com

Speaking in an interview with The Project, Perry spoke about the relevance of her lyrics. She said, “I can only write autobiographically. I put all the evidence in the music. I tell my fans if they want to know the real truth about stuff, just listen to the songs.” I guess that’s good to know for Katy Perry fans. Wanna feel close to her? Listen to her music!

Amy Winehouse – Me and Mr. Jones

About: Nas

Amy’s track, which includes one of the greatest song lyrics of all time – “What kind of f*&kery is this?” – is her tribute to rapper Nasir Jones (aka Nas). While Nas isn’t mentioned by name, Amy refers to his daughter and Amy and Nas’ shared birthday. Nas himself even admitted to the song’s references of him.

Amy Winehouse at the South Bank Show Awards in 2007. / Nas performing in Lloyd Park in London.

Photo by Richard Young, Shutterstock.com / Karyn Louise, Shutterstock.com

So, what is the song about? If you read the lyrics, you’ll see it’s about accepting that Amy never made it to a Slick Rick yet she refused to miss out on a Nas show. Me and Mr Jones is one of Amy’s more light-hearted songs. It looks like the song worked out in her favor as a true Nas fan, because the pair became friends after he heard the track.

Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel #2

About: Janis Joplin

Based on the name of the song, you would think that it has something to do with the famous New York hotel that has been frequented by generations of writers and artists. It was actually the spot where Sid Vicious’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, was found dead. But that’s beside the point. The song does have something to do with the hotel, but more specifically, it’s about Janis Joplin.

Leonard Cohen performing in 1973. / Janis Joplin performing at her last concert in New York in 1970.

Source: Photo by Ilpo Musto, Shutterstock.com / Peter Tarnoff, mediapunch, Shutterstock.com

The song is about Cohen’s affair with Joplin, who were staying in rooms 424 and 411. Cohen sings about a night they spent together after he claimed to be Kris Kristofferson when they shared an elevator to the fourth floor. “She wasn’t looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson; I wasn’t looking for her, I was looking for Brigitte Bardot,” he said. “But we fell into each other’s arms through some process of elimination.”

Selena Gomez – Heart Wants What It Wants

About: Justin Bieber

It’s only fair that Selena Gomez gets her chance to write a song about her ex-boyfriend, the one who sang about her. Her heartfelt ballad, Heart Wants What It Wants, was written about her relationship with Justin, and her apparent internal battle between her mind and her heart.

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber at the Academy Awards in 2011.

Photo by Broadimage / Shutterstock.com

The lyrics “million reasons why I should give you up, but the heart wants what it wants” pretty much explain her feelings on the whole ordeal. Selena gave an emotional performance of the song when she presented the song at the American Music Awards. She sang to tears. A few weeks after Bieber and Hailey got married, Gomez released Lose You to Love Me. With lyrics like “I needed to lose you to love me,” many think it’s her final farewell to her drama with Bieber.

Taylor Swift – Bad Blood

About: Katy Perry

Taylor Swift doesn’t only pen songs about ex-boyfriends; she sings about ex-friends, too. Their feud was born of a fight about backup dancers (Swift said that a ‘certain female musician’ tried to ruin things for her by hiring some of her dancers). Bad Blood from 2015 is still being talked about to this day. Wondering what Perry thinks about all this?

Taylor Swift at the Golden Globe Awards in 2020. / Katy Perry performing at the Jingle Bash in 2019.

Source: Shutterstock / David Davis, imageSPACE, Shutterstock.com

Perry spoke to Entertainment Weekly and said: “I think my new album is a very empowered record. There is no one thing that’s calling out any one person. One thing to note is, you can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person, and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. It’s not about that.”

Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger

About: Mick Jagger

This one is pretty obvious, yes. The song praises Mick Jagger’s smooth moves which resulted in dance floors all over the country flooded with people trying to hip-thrust like Jagger. So what did The Rolling Stones lead vocalist have to say about the song? On the Late Show with David Letterman did a segment called “Top Ten Things I, Mick Jagger, Have Learned After 50 Years In Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Adam Levine performing with Maroon 5 for a radio show. / Mick Jagger in concert at Hyde Park in 1969.

Photo by John Salangsang, Shutterstock.com / Alan Messer, Shutterstock.com

On the list, he jabbed at Maroon 5’s song, saying that he learned “You don’t earn a cent when someone does a song about having moves like Jagger.” The legend also got laughs from his other advice, like “Be considerate of other hotel guests – trash your room by 10 pm.”

Nick Jonas – Wedding Bells

About: Miley Cyrus

Is anyone else amused by how many pop stars date each other and get upset or amazed when their exes write songs about them? At this point, I think it’s safe to say that it comes with the package. This song is by Nick Jonas and it was written about his ex-girlfriend, Miley Cyrus who had to break the news to him of her then engagement to Liam Hemsworth.

Nick Jonas performing at a Jonas Brothers concert in Florida. / Miley Cyrus at Saint Laurent Show in 2019.

Photo by Larry Marano, Shutterstock.com / John Salangsang, WWD, Shutterstock.com

The lyrics are far from discreet: “She says, can you keep a secret, a ceremony set for June, I know it’s a rush but I just love him so much, I hope that you can meet him soon. No, I don’t wanna love if it’s not you, I don’t wanna hear the wedding bells bloom. Maybe we can try one last time, But I don’t wanna hear the wedding bells chime.” If he’s not referring to Miley and Liam then there’s another couple we’re unaware about…

John Legend – All of Me

About: Chrissy Teigen

It’s common knowledge that John Legend wrote and dedicated the beautiful song to his wife, Chrissy Teigen. 2013. But if you’re curious as to what Legend has to say about his super famous song, he said this: “The song is saying things that balance each other out: even when I lose, I’m winning; my head’s under water, but I’m breathing fine; I give you all of me, you give me all of you.”

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen at the Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala in 2019.

Photo by Andrew H. Walker / Shutterstock.com

The couple met in 2007 while on the set of his music video for the song, Stereo. They later got married on September 14, 2013. It may seem like the two were ga-ga about each other from the second they met, but that wasn’t the case. It took Legend some time, as he says that he’s a very cautious guy. “For me I’m the kind of person who needs to grow into that feeling. It was probably a couple of years in when I could already see us being together forever,” he explained.

Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and All Too Well

About: Jake Gyllenhaal

This hit single from her album, Red, is another song penned about an ex. This time, it’s about A-list actor, Jake Gyllenhaal. Did you know they dated? Because I sure didn’t. Well, from her lyrics about Jake’s love of indie bands to the scarf that was featured in the music video that is the exact same one she wore on a date with Jake, the jury is in: the song is about the puppy dog-eyed actor.

Taylor Swift at the Billboard Women in Music event. / Jake Gyllenhaal at a Broadway play opening night in New York.

Photo by Matt Baron, Shutterstock.com / Gregory Pace, Shutterstock.com

Gyllenhaal and Swift hooked up in 2010. At the time, he was nine years her senior, but the relationship only lasted three months. I guess that was enough time for Swift to get the material she needed to make another ex-inspired hit. Gyllenhaal has officially joined the club: the group of men who inspired Swift’s songs.

John Mayer – Paper Doll

About: Taylor Swift

It’s about time a song was written about Miss Swift! She even said herself: “If I’m gonna write songs about my exes, they can write about me. But it seems like no one accepted her challenge until John Mayer came out with Paper Doll in 2013. It was pretty much a direct response to her 2010 song, Dear John.

John Mayer in concert at the 02 Arena in London. / Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards in 2019.

Photo by Richard Isaac, Shutterstock.com / PictureGroup, Shutterstock.com

The song is full of Swift references. Mayer sings about a girl trying on different dresses like different identities, hence the term “Paper doll.” John’s implication: that as soon as they broke up, she became somebody else. In her song, Dear John, Swift refers to herself as “the girl in the dress” who “cried the whole way home.”

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

About: Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth is said to be the inspiration behind Miley’s 2013 hit single, Wrecking Ball. The pop ballad featured the lyrics: “Don’t you ever say I just walked away / I will always want you / I can’t live a lie / running for my life / I will always want you.” And those words were literally everywhere, burning up the Billboard charts.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth at The Last Song film premiere in 2010.

Photo by BDG / Shutterstock.com

Not to mention her steamy music video, where Miley is swinging around nude on a giant wrecking ball. It won video of the year at the 2014 VMAs, no less. Liam probably had a hard time avoiding all the hype about their breakup. At the time, they were exes, but they later married…and divorced. In 2019, he officially filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

Coldplay – Fix You

About: Gwyneth Paltrow

Chris Martin wrote Fix You for his then-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. When Paltrow was on Howard Stern’s radio show, she said the song was “about him trying to put me back together after my dad died. I think it’s pretty nice.” Interestingly enough, Coldplay’s music fixed her even before the two met.

Chris Martin of Coldplay in concert at the Natural History Museum in London. / Gwyneth Paltrow at an Elle Women in Hollywood event.

Photo by Anthony Harvey, Shutterstock.com / Matt Baron, Shutterstock.com

Before she met Martin, Paltrow said Coldplay’s song Everything’s Not Lost helped her deal with her father’s death. “He wrote this song before I met him, and I think another reason it’s sad for me is my father had just died when this album came out.” She said how she and her brother used to listen to it on repeat.” After hearing that, it makes her marrying him even more surreal!

Outkast – Ms. Jackson

About: Kolleen Wright (Eryka Badu’s mom)

Yes, the hugely popular song was written about Eryka Badu’s mom, but not in the way you’re thinking. Get your mind out of the gutter! OutKast’s 2000 hit, Ms. Jackson, was inspired by André 3000’s struggles with his then girlfriend’s mom, Kolleen Wright. André and Erykah were in a relationship throughout the late 90s. They have a son together, Seven Sirius Benjamin.

Andre 3000 of Outkast performing in 2014. / Erykah Badu and her mother posing for a selfie.

Photo by Joe Okpako, Shutterstock.com / Source: Pinterest

Shortly after they split up in 1999, André wrote the song about all of the arguments he had with Kolleen, who, judging by the song lyrics, was a tad too involved in their relationship. Some of the lyrics: “Thoughts of me, thoughts of he, thoughts of she/ Asking what happened to the feeling that her and me had/ I prayed so much about it need some knee pads.”

Gwen Stefani – Used to Love You

About: Gavin Rossdale

Anyone from my generation loved when Gwen and Gavin were a couple and were upset when we found out that they got divorced in 2015. Two months after she announced their split, Gwen Stefani released her breakup song called Used to Love You. And just the name of the song begs a big fat OUCH. There’s no doubt the song is about Rossdale.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009.

Photo by BDG / Shutterstock.com

Gwen debuted it on stage during a concert, having said that she wrote it “recently.” It also has lyrics like “I don’t know why I cry, But I think it’s ’cause I remembered for the first time, Since I hated you, That I used to love you.” The bulk of her album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, is said to be mostly about their split.

Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box

About: Courtney Love

Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box, which is truly an excellent song, does have its strange lyrics (but don’t all of Nirvana’s songs?). Kurt Cobain wrote the lyrics “Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet, cut myself on angel hair and baby’s breath.” Yeah, those are lyrics that are weird even for Cobain’s standards. Most people have no idea what Cobain was talking about.

Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain out with their baby Frances.

Photo by Globe Photos / Mediapunch / Shutterstock.com

But then in 2012, Lana Del Rey performed a version of the song in concert, which eventually prompted Courtney Love (Cobain’s widow) to feel the need to explain to Del Rey what the true meaning of the song was. Love posted on Twitter: “You do know the song is about my vagina right? So umm, next time you sing it, think about my vagina will you?” Too much information, Courtney. But, also, thanks for clearing that up!

Kanye West – Famous

About: Taylor Swift

Third time’s a charm: Kanye West’s third entry on this list is about his song, Famous, which is dedicated to Taylor Swift. Rather than making hidden insinuations, West full-out name-dropped his frenemy: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b***h famous.” Kanye asked Taylor to release his single on her Twitter account.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift interacting on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2015.

Photo by Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock.com

She declined and warned him about releasing a song with such misogynistic vibes. Taylor didn’t know about the b***h line at that point. But West claimed that she was in the know. “I did not diss Taylor Swift and I’ve never dissed her. I asked my wife for her blessings and she was cool with it… I called Taylor and had an hour-long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings.”

Timbaland Feat Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – Give it to Me

About: Janet Jackson, Prince, Fergie, and others

The once very popular song, Give it to Me, featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado is said to be about their feuds with other singers. Timbaland’s verse is about a dispute with fellow producer Scott Storch. Timberlake’s verse is about Janet Jackson or Prince, and Furtado’s is about Fergie.

Justin Timberlake in 1997. / Prince at the Brit Awards in 2014. / Nelly Furtado and at Olympus fashion week in New York.

Photo by Andre Csillag, Shutterstock.com / David Fisher, Shutterstock.com / Source: Shutterstock

The rivalry between Timbaland and Storch flared up in 2007. The tension started with the single Give It to Me with lyrics like: “I’m a real producer and you’re just the piano man.” Timbaland confirmed in an interview that he was indeed talking about Storch in the song. Their rivalry stemmed from controversy over writing credits for Timberlake’s Cry Me a River.

The Weeknd – Call Out My Name and Wasted Times

About: Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid

The Weeknd released a 6- track EP called My Dear Melancholy, which has been understood as a reference to his relationships with both Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez. The song Call Out My Name specifically talks about his connection with Selena, their time together, and her going back to Justin Bieber.

The Weeknd and Bella Hadid in 2016. / The Weeknd and Selena Gomez in 2017.

Photo by Broadimage, Shutterstock.com / Matt Baron, Shutterstock.com

The lyrics read: “We found each other, I helped you out of a broken place, You gave me comfort, But falling for you was my mistake. Guess I was just another pit stop, Until you made up your mind, You wasted my time.” Ouch. The song Wasted Times is considered to be about his ex, Hadid, comparing his relationship with her to his with Selena: “Wasted times I spent with someone else, She wasn’t even half of you.”

Kanye West – Bound 2

About: Kim Kardashian

Rapper Kanye West’s song is about his then-fiancé and now-wife, Kim Kardashian. This is by no means a revelation, considering the notorious music video for the song features a topless Kardashian straddling West on a motorcycle. The video became a source of mockery among many comedians, including Ellen, Seth Rogan, and James Franco.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West at an event in New York looking in love.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin / Shutterstock.com

When Kanye West was asked what is up with the video, he explained: “I wanted to take white trash T-shirts and make it into a video. I wanted it to look as phony as possible. I wanted the clouds to go one direction, the mountains to go one direction, the horses to go over there. ‘Cause I want to show you that this is The Hunger Games. I want to show you that this is the type of imagery that’s been presented to all of us. And the only difference is a black dude in the middle of it.”

Jonas Brothers – Lovebug

About: Miley Cyrus

The song Lovebug was originally released in 2008. But it was only after the preview of their documentary Chasing Happiness came out in June 2019 that the boy band finally confirmed that the tune was in fact written about Miley Cyrus. The brothers first met the former Disney star during a cameo appearance they made on an episode of Hannah Montana. That was before opening for the Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds Tour.

Miley Cyrus posing with the Jonas Brothers at a Walk Disney premiere event.

Photo by Eric Charbonneau / Shutterstock.com

In the 2019 documentary, Kevin Jonas described how Cyrus “changed girls” for Nick, his younger brother. He said, “When we met Miley, I think that kid’s head exploded.” The lyrics of the song talk of a blossoming crush, which can now be read in a new light: “Now I’m speechless, Over the edge, I’m just breathless, I never thought that I’d catch this lovebug again, Hopeless, head over heels in the moment.”

Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next

About: Pete Davidson

It may be common knowledge among fans of hers that Thank U, Next was about her now ex-boyfriend, Pete Davidson, and her previous partners Ricky Alvarez, Big Sean and Mac Miller. But not everyone knows that Grande actually wrote three different versions of the song, each with a different ending. It all depended on how her relationship with Davidson turned out.

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson at the MTV video music awards in 2018.

Photo by MediaPunch / Shutterstock.com

“In my relationship at the time, things were like up and down and on and off, and so I didn’t know what was going to happen and then we got back together. So, I had to make a different version of it, and then we broke up again, so we ended up going with that verse. There’s a version where I was getting married, there’s a version where I’m not getting married, there’s a version with nothing.”

Miley Cyrus – Malibu

About: Liam Hemsworth

Who said you can only write a song about a person once? Miley Cyrus has made another track about her ex-hubby, Liam Hemsworth. Malibu, from her album Younger Now, was released in 2017 she and her ex-fiancé Liam Hemsworth rekindled their relationship and were now living together in Malibu. This was after the Wrecking Ball dedication to Hemsworth in 2013.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth cozying up at the G’Day USA Gala in 2019.

Photo by David Buchan / Variety / Shutterstock.com

The lyrics read: “If three years ago you told me, I’d be here writing this song, But here I am, Next to you, The sky is so blue, In Malibu.” Very sweet, right? But let’s remember that they got divorced very recently. But if this is a pattern, then it’s very likely that these two will again rekindle their relationship. And another song will be made in his honor.

Nick Jonas – Area Code

About: Selena Gomez

After splitting up with Olivia Culpo recently, Nick Jonas was spotted getting close to another one of his exes, Selena Gomez, at the MTV VMAs. Days later, Nick posted an unfinished track on his Soundcloud account. The song referenced Selena’s latest hit Good for You which had the lyrics “You say I never been good for you, You can’t deny I gave it good to you.”

Nick Jonas in 2007. / Selena Gomez in 2010.

Photo by Matt Baron, BEI, Shutterstock.com / Dave Allocca, Starpix, Shutterstock.com

That’s it for now, folks, and I hope you enjoyed the juicy gossip. Does it make you want to YouTube your favorite songs and listen to them again with the inside knowledge you have now? I sure hope it does! Happy listening, everyone.