9 Celebs Reveal What It's Like to Inspire a Hit Song
Stars dish on what it's really like to have a song written about yourself
While many of us can only dream that the radio’s latest passionate track was written specifically to celebrate our lovability, these lucky (and sometimes unlucky) stars really did inspire hit tunes.
From being moved to tears to finding themselves totally humiliated, see what happened when these muses heard their very own stories in song form.
Mandy Moore: Dawes’ “Never Gonna Say Goodbye”
The This Is Us star recently detailed the ridiculously adorable story behind the song her fiancé, Taylor Goldsmith, wrote for his band.
“About a year ago, I had this weird freak accident where I hit my eye on the handle of the shower,” she explained on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I was home by myself and my eye split open and there was blood everywhere and he was on tour, and he felt so bad. And he very very sweetly, which says a lot about him, wrote me this song and sent it to me, as like a way of making me feel better because he couldn’t be there to help me get to the doctor and stuff.”
“I remember hearing it, and I was like, ‘This has to go on the album,” Moore added. “And he was like, ‘No, no. That’s my language to you. I don’t know if I feel comfortable putting it out there.’ … I was like, ‘No, no. People should hear that song.’ And it’s on their record.”
Nick Jonas: Miley Cyrus’ “7 Things”
Though Cyrus herself has never confirmed (to the world or to Nick Jonas himself) that “7 Things” is about their short-lived relationship when they were teenagers, but the “Close” singer said he figured it out after Cyrus rocked a pair of dog tags that Jonas gave her at 14.
“I’ve heard that rumor … never directly, but she’s wearing a dog tag in this thing that I gave her when I was 14,” Jonas confessed during a Heart Rate Monitor game on BBC Radio 1. “I was actually kind of flattered, to be honest. It’s there forever. And I know it’s about me.”
Nicole Kidman: Keith Urban’s “The Fighter”
The country star penned his hit song, which also features Carrie Underwood, about his early relationship with now-wife Kidman. “It was a very quick song to write because I literally just thought about Nic and I, and our relationship at the beginning and some of the things that we’d said, and they all went into that song,” Urban revealed at a March event.
On her way into the ACM Awards in April, Kidman admitted to having had an emotional reaction to first hearing the in-her-honor track. “I remember when he first played it for me, and I started to cry because … he writes these things — they come out of I don’t know — and they’re like beautiful gifts,” she said on the red carpet.
Clearly, Kidman eventually got used to listening to “The Fighter” without bringing on the waterworks. She and Urban shared a cute lip syncing to the song in May 2016.
Miley Cyrus: The Jonas Brothers’ “Wedding Bells”
In 2012, the “Wrecking Ball” singer confirmed that she believed The Jonas Brothers’ song “Wedding Bells” was about her plans to walk down the aisle with Hemsworth.
“I don’t know who else is getting married … So I feel like that’s pretty blatant, it’s whatever. Like I said, everyone has to write songs that are about things that they felt and he even introduced that this isn’t the way that I am,” Cyrus told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show. “So, you can’t ever hate on someone for writing about something you’ve been through. I think that you kind of get a fair warning when you date an artist and someone that’s a writer. When you’re going through things that you’re going to end up hearing about it on the radio. I don’t know…wedding bells are in my future, so I don’t know.”
Chrissy Teigen: John Legend’s “All of Me”
Teigen has undoubtedly been the inspiration behind a number of her crooner husband’s songs. “I think it’s very obvious when a song that John writes is about me. He writes a lot of love songs, of course, but there is always something about — like maybe one line or so where I’m like, ‘That’s definitely about me,’ ” she told HuffPost Live in 2013. “But he actually came to me for the first time for a song all about me, which is called “All of Me.”
“I did cry when I heard it. I’m emotional but I don’t really cry at things like that, so yeah it’s beautiful and live it’s pretty unreal … The first line of it is ‘What would I do without your smart mouth,’ so if that’s not about me I don’t know what is,” she said.
Teigen later starred in the romantic “All of Me” video alongside Legend.
From Coinage: 7 Most Expensive Music Videos
John Mayer: Taylor Swift’s “Dear John”
“It made me feel terrible,” he told Rolling Stone about the song. “Because I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do.”
“I never got an e-mail. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?” he continued.
Mayer also took issue with the merits of Swift’s work. “As a songwriter I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting,” he told the magazine. “I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bull––––.”
Amber Rose: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
It has long been believed that the rapper’s 2010 album, which he made while dating Rose, is about his relationship with the model. In 2015, Rose revealed to GQ that she “never, ever, ever” intentionally listens to the record.
“Don’t get me wrong,” she explained, “I’ll hear songs and I’m like, ‘Oh, he said that about me.’ No one knows what he’s talking about but me and him. People can’t decipher. They’ll be like, ‘That’s a cool song,’ and I’m like, ‘That happened to us when we were together…’ Obviously, I know he’s talking to me through music.”
Gwyneth Paltrow: Coldplay’s “Fix You”
‘”Fix You’ was about him trying to put me back together after my dad died,” the actress shared on The Howard Stern Show in 2015. “I think it’s pretty nice.”
Pattie Boyd: Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”
Boyd was married to both Clapton and Beatles member George Harrison, and inspired a number of songs from each. In 2007, she wrote about being the muse behind “Wonderful Tonight” and other classics in her book, Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me.
“It was such a simple song but so beautiful and for years it tore at me. To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering,” she wrote. “Yet I came to believe that although something about me might have made them put pen to paper, it was really all about them.”