Ethan Slater and wife Lilly Jay’s relationship spanned more than a decade before they parted ways — and he began seeing Wicked costar Ariana Grande.
The Broadway star — who is best known for playing SpongeBob SquarePants in the musical by the same name — found love with Jay in 2012. The twosome proceeded to make a life for themselves in New York City two years later.
Their romance culminated in saying “I do” in fall 2018. “Two years into marriage and we still find each other funny. Phew,” Slater wrote via Instagram in November 2020, sharing a rare photo from the pair’s nuptials. “Happy anniversary to the love of my life.”
While Slater and Jay appeared to be going strong in fall 2022 — they welcomed a baby boy that same year — by summer of the next year, they were no longer together.
In July 2023, Slater and Grande — who married Dalton Gomez in May 2021 — sparked romance speculation after getting close during their U.K. filming of the Wicked movie beginning in early 2023.
“Ariana and Ethan are dating; however things are fairly new. Ariana and Dalton split in January, and Ethan is separated from his wife,” a source told Us Weekly at the time. “Ariana and Ethan have only recently begun seeing each other but they have a lot of fun together and are enjoying each other’s company.”
Scroll down for Slater and estranged wife Jay’s relationship timeline from the beginning:
Slater and Jay, who were high school sweethearts, began their romance.
The pair moved to New York City together after growing up in Maryland.
Jay was by Slater’s side when he attended the 2018 Tony Awards following his nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for SpongeBob SquarePants.
The twosome got married after six years of dating.
“My best friend. 4 years married, 10 years together,” Slater wrote via Instagram in honor of their anniversary. “And this is easily the best (and most *bizarre*) year yet.”
Slater confirmed via social media that he and Jay welcomed a baby boy before the new year. “Super vague post, but we have a baby now,” he joked, sharing photos of Jay’s positive pregnancy test from December 2021, and a picture of them pushing a baby stroller in December 2022.
“Happy first Mother’s Day to the most loving caring and wonderful mom/person in the world. — from me and this little guy,” Slater captioned a series of snaps via Instagram.
Days after Grande attended Wimbledon with Wicked costar Jonathan Bailey — and was seen without her wedding ring — Us confirmed that Grande and Dalton were headed for divorce. Per a source, they parted ways in January shortly after the actress jetted off to London to start filming the two-part movie event.
Days later, Us confirmed that Grande, who plays Glinda, and Slater, who was cast as munchkin Boq in the musical-inspired film, are dating in the wake of their respective splits. Neither Grande nor Slater have publicly spoken about their romance nor their recent breakups.
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Slater filed for divorce from Jay on July 26. The reason for the split was not listed at the time.