Ethan Slater’s ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Costar on Ariana Grande Romance

Ethan Slater’s ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Costar on Ariana Grande Romance

Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande’s budding romance didn’t just shock fans, it was news to his former SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical costars as well.

“I was surprised,” Lilli Cooper — who played Sandy Cheeks alongside Slater’s SpongeBob SquarePants on Broadway — told Page Six on Monday, July 24.

Cooper, 33, and Slater, 31, costarred in the quirky musical inspired by the Nickelodeon series by the same name during its Chicago and New York productions in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

While Cooper revealed she hasn’t “spoken to him in a while,” she called Slater and Grande, 30, “an interesting coupling.” She added that their romance is “for sure, unexpected.”

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Us Weekly confirmed on Thursday, July 20, that Grande and Slater “are dating” after growing close on the set of the upcoming Wicked movies. (Grande plays Glinda in the two-part production based on the iconic Broadway musical by the same name. Slater, for his part, landed the role of munchkin Boq in November 2022.)

“Things are fairly new,” the insider said, adding, “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.”

Grande and Slater’s relationship made headlines days after news broke that the “7 Rings” singer and husband Dalton Gomez were headed for divorce.

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Us confirmed on July 17 that Grande and Gomez, 27, called it quits after two years of marriage. A source told Us at the time that the pair had been “having some issues for months now.”

The estranged couple “couldn’t resolve” their problems, which began before Grande left for London late last year to film Wicked, the insider said on July 17. “The distance did not help,” the source added. “They haven’t been speaking and are separated.”

Us later learned that Grande and Gomez “split in January,” with a source explaining on Thursday that Slater “is separated from his wife.”

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Slater married Lilly Jay in November 2018. They welcomed their son in 2022 and celebrated 10 years as a couple that November. The following month, Slater jetted off to London to begin working on Wicked and his relationship with Jay eventually fizzled out. (Filming for Wicked was initially slated to begin in June 2022. However, director Jon M. Chu confirmed via his Instagram Story in December 2022 that the “first day of shooting” was that month.)

“Ethan sat Lilly down a few days before the news broke about him and Ariana and said that he wanted a divorce,” a source exclusively told Us on Tuesday, July 25. “Lilly never saw it coming!”

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A separate source close to Grande denied the timeline claims, while a third insider told Us that both Slater and Grande “were separated when they started dating and the relationship is recent.”

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