Ariana Grande is still morning the tragic loss of her longtime friend and ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, who passed away from an overdose back in September. Now, the singer has just opened up about how they first met and the impact he had on her life and career, and it could not be more touching.

In honor of being named Billboard‘s Woman Of The Year, the 25-year-old sat down with the publication, where she revealed that the two first started talking via Twitter. He was 20 and she was 19 at the time, and they hit it off right away. This was right after she had signed with Republic Records, and she was gearing up to release her first single. But Ari admitted that even though she’d been performing since she was young, she still wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to pursue music at that point. But working with Mac on “The Way” really concreted that for her.

“When we made ‘The Way,’ I was like, ‘Oh, wow, I’m onto something here,’” she explained to Billboard, adding that doing the duet with Mac was the moment that it “felt like, ‘I should do this forever.’”

How sweet is that? The singer has been very public about missing Mac ever since his unexpected and sad passing — sharing multiple heartbreaking tweets about him, posting a touching throwback selfie in honor of Thanksgiving, and even getting a tattoo for him. It’s definitely been difficult on Ariana, and she opened up to Billboard about just how hard everything, in general, has been for her since along with coping with Mac’s sudden passing, she also endured the end of her romance to former fiancé Pete Davidson and the tragic bombing that took place at her concert in Manchester back in 2017.

“I can’t even say ‘Good morning’ to anyone without crying,” she explained. But the singer added that although it’s been rough, it’s definitely made her so much stronger.

“I guess there’s not much I’m afraid of anymore,” she continued. “When life tries you with such serious s–t so many times, your priorities change. I don’t give a s–t. I just want to be happy and healthy — one day — and make music.”

You go, girl. She’s just getting stronger every day.

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