Famous Songs Written About Other Celebrities
Celebrities fall in love like the rest of us, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they can get their hearts broken. Although they may seem to have everything they could want or need, they don’t always succeed at love. On a positive note, those tumultuous emotions sometimes lead to amazing songs about falling in love and heartbreak.
When you sing along, you probably have some non-celebrity in mind, of course, but imagine if the whole world knew exactly who you were singing about. That would be pretty brave, right? Queue the drama! These famous songs you belt out in your car about your high school crush were actually written about some pretty famous people.
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
The lyrics of this hit song are so taunting: "You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you." In November of 2015, Simon admitted that the second verse was about Warren Beatty, but the big reveal didn’t stop there. The song is also about two other famous men.
"Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani
In an interview with Seventeen Magazine, Courtney Love compared being famous to being in high school. She declared Gwen Stefani was a cheerleader and said she didn't want to be like her. Stefani, not liking the comment, fired back with the hit song "Hollaback Girl."
"Famous" by Kanye West vs. "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" by Taylor Swift
One of the most well-known celebrity feuds took place between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. It started when West interrupted Swift’s award acceptance speech. Shortly after, Swift wrote the song "Innocent" about him, saying that everybody makes mistakes, and she wasn't going to hold it against him. They later reconciled and were friendly.
"You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins
Phil Collins initially wrote this song as a lullaby for his daughter, Lily Collins. Later, it was finished and recorded for the Disney movie "Tarzan" in 1999. The lyrics are about a loving and protective relationship.
"Thank U, Next" by Ariana Grande
The lyrics make it quite obvious who the song is about. "Thought I'd end up with Sean, but he wasn't a match. Wrote some songs about Ricky, now I listen and laugh. Even almost got married, and for Pete, I'm so thankful. Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm, because he was an angel."
"All of Me" by John Legend
Not surprisingly, this song is about John Legend's wife, Chrissy Teigen (although she was only his fiancee at the time the song was written). The production of the song was inspired by Imogen Heap's song "Hide and Seek." The song has very subtle instruments with the main sound focused on the vocals of the legendary singer.
"Delicate" by Taylor Swift
Ever since her album Reputation came out, it has been clear that Taylor Swift is very much in love with her boyfriend, actor Joe Alwyn. That is especially clear in the track "Delicate," where she talks about trying to hide their relationship from the media.
"Dear John" by Taylor Swift vs. "Paper Doll" by John Mayer
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift hasn’t been shy when it comes to writing songs about people who don't treat her right. One of those times is when she penned the song "Dear John" about her relationship with John Mayer.
"Style" by Taylor Swift vs. "Perfect" by One Direction (Harry Styles)
While the obvious clue is the name of the song "Style" is essentially Harry's last name, there is also a lot more evidence in the song that points at him. "Long hair, slicked back, white T-shirt" sounds like a pretty good description of the British boy. Also, there is "Midnight, you come and pick me up, no headlights."
"Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift vs. "Swish Swish" by Katy Perry
This feud started when Katy Perry hired dancers who were a part of Taylor Swift's Red tour without her knowledge. Clearly, there was a lot of miscommunication and hurt feelings, but Swift was the first to sing about it in her hit Grammy-winning song "Bad Blood." Later, Perry fired back with her song "Swish Swish."
"Don't" by Ed Sheeran vs. "On My Mind" by Ellie Goulding
The song "Don’t" is said to be about Ellie Goulding cheating on Ed Sheeran with Niall Horan from One Direction. Sheeran sings: "And I never saw him as a threat, until you disappeared with him to have sex, of course, [...] and I wasn't looking for a promise or commitment, but it was never just fun, and I thought you were different."
"Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake vs. "Everytime" by Britney Spears
Another heartbreaking song is Justin Timberlake's hit ballad "Cry Me a River." The song is reportedly about the end of his relationship with Britney Spears. The lyrics "You don't have to say what you did, I already know, I found out from him" suggest cheating, and he goes on to say that now that they will never be together again she should cry a river for him.
"Sex on Fire" by The Kings of Leon
One of the few love songs on this list is "Sex on Fire" by The Kings of Leon. The song is about model Lily Aldridge, who is married to lead singer Caleb Followill (although they were just boyfriend and girlfriend at the time the song was written).
"7 Things" by Miley Cyrus
As teenagers, Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas were a very famous couple. They met when The Jonas Brothers were an opening act on Miley's Hannah Montana Meet Miley Cyrus Tour. The pair then dated for a while but eventually broke up.
"Love Bug" and "Wedding Bells" by The Jonas Brothers (Nick Jonas)
In The Jonas Brothers documentary "Chasing Happiness" that released in 2019, we finally got an answer about who their song "Lovebug" was about — Miley Cyrus. The brothers talked about how Nick Jonas was totally smitten when he met Cyrus and how he wrote the song about her.
"The Heart Wants What It Wants" by Selena Gomez vs. "Sorry" by Justin Bieber
One of the most talked-about, high profile relationships — it was even known as "Jelena" — was between Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Their rocky relationship played out in the constant media frenzy surrounding them as well as the hit songs that were inspired by their love story.
"Lose You to Love Me" by Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez's recent hit song made it clear she was finally done with Justin Bieber. The beautiful song talked about the way she was finally able to let go of the relationship: "I needed to lose you to love me." After facing the reality of the loss, she was able to recognize how much better her life was and finally move on.
"Call Out My Name" by The Weeknd
As noted, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber had an on-again/off-again relationship. At one point when they were off, Gomez dated The Weeknd. They had a fairly serious relationship, even posing together on the red carpet at the Met gala (celebrity speak for being "official") in New York City. However, eventually the relationship ended, and Gomez resumed her relationship with Bieber.
"Boyfriend" by Ashlee Simpson
This hit song was written in response to being accused of stealing another girl's boyfriend. Specifically, Lindsay Lohan accused Simpson of stealing her boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama.
"Much Better" by Joe Jonas vs. “Better Than Revenge" by Taylor Swift
One of the first public relationships Taylor Swift had as a teenager was with Joe Jonas from The Jonas Brothers. The first song she wrote about him was called "Forever and Always," which was a breakup song for him.
"Last Kiss" and "Holy Ground" by Taylor Swift
On the same Speak Now album where she called out Jonas’ girlfriend, Taylor Swift also wrote the mellow heartbreak song "Last Kiss" for Jonas. The song talks about an unexpected heartbreak, and Swift tearfully sings: "Never thought we'd have a last kiss."
"All Too Well" and "The Moment I Knew" by Taylor Swift
"All Too Well" wasn’t one of her hit singles, but this song was ranked number one on the ranked Taylor Swift song list by Rolling Stone. Most Taylor Swift fans would say it’s the saddest song she has ever written. And the subject of the song? Jake Gyllenhaal.
"Obsessed" by Mariah Carey vs. "Bagpipes from Baghdad" by Eminem
Although Mariah Carey has consistently denied the rumor that she ever dated rapper Eminem, these songs may make you believe otherwise. Eminem's song came first with the lyrics "Mariah, what ever happened to us, why did we have to break up?"
"Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth met on the set of their movie "The Last Song." Their romance blossomed quickly, and then the pair became engaged. However, their happiness was short-lived, as they broke up after only a few months of being engaged.
"Malibu" and "Slide Away" by Miley Cyrus
Fans loved it when it seemed the relationship between Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth was given a second chance with the announcement of a second engagement. Cyrus seemed happy when she sang her song "Malibu," which talked about their happy life living together in Malibu. They even ended up getting married the second time.
"Getaway Car" by Taylor Swift
Okay, sorry, but the list of Taylor Swift songs continues. (The artist does love to use songwriting as therapy!) "Getaway Car" talks about how she wanted to end her relationship with Calvin Harris, so she did so by dating Tom Hiddleston. However, "nothing good starts in a getaway car." She implies her relationship with Tom was like running away from the scene of a crime in a getaway car.
"Back to December" by Taylor Swift
In an interesting twist, this song has a story that isn’t often found in Taylor Swift’s songs. It’s a breakup song like many others, but the song fully acknowledges that it was Swift’s fault the relationship ended.
"What Goes Around Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake
It’s not actually clear who inspired this song, but it is crystal clear that whoever Justin Timberlake is singing about messed up big time! The song talks about a girl who cheated on him who will likely get cheated on too in a circle that continues.
"Man of the Woods" by Justin Timberlake
When talking about his album, Justin Timberlake declared that this song was a love letter to his wife, actress Jessica Biel. The song includes some sweet lyrics: "How do I ever explain what I've got with you? I try to find the words, but they hide, and that's the truth, and nobody ever will understand what we do, there's only one me and you."
"I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry
The story behind this song isn’t as scandalous as you might think. The idea was born when Katy Perry was flipping through a magazine and saw a photo of Scarlett Johansson. She showed her then-boyfriend the photo and made a comment that inspired the lyric: "I kissed a girl, and I liked it. Hope my boyfriend don't mind it."