The "No Tears Left to Cry" hitmaker was left devastated last September (18) after learning rapper Mac had passed away from a drug overdose, just four months after they had parted ways.
She had already moved on with comedian Pete, but their whirlwind romance crumbled as she struggled to deal with her ex's untimely loss, and they broke off their engagement in October.
The double heartache made Ariana realise she needed to spend some time on her own after years of jumping from one relationship to the next.
"If I'm completely honest, I don't remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad," she tells Vogue magazine.
The pop superstar turned to music to help her heal, and released "Thank U, Next" six months after her 2018 release, "Sweetener".
"I don't really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board," Ariana says.
"I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I'm realising that I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me."
She continues, "I've been boo'd up (coupled up) my entire adult life. I've always had someone to say goodnight to."
"So Thank U, Next was this moment of self-realisation. It was this scary moment of, 'Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this s**t.' "
Part of her journey to recovery involved pushing herself to head out on tour so she could connect with her fans, but while she may appear to have it all together onstage, behind the scenes, she insists she's very much a work in progress.
"I'm a person who's been through a lot and doesn't know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world," Ariana shares. "I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this (behind the glitz and glam), I'm just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out."
And although performing live has brought Ariana some sense of peace, belting out some of her more emotional tunes - particularly ones inspired by Mac - has been tough.
"It's hard to sing songs that are about wounds that are so fresh," she explains. "It's fun, it's pop music, and I'm not trying to make it sound like anything that it's not, but these songs (from 'Thank U, Next') to me really do represent some heavy s**t."
"It's pretty all-consuming," she adds of the grief she experienced in the wake of her ex's shock death. "By no means was what we had perfect, but, like, f**k."
"He was the best person ever, and he didn't deserve the demons he had. I was the glue (in the relationship) for such a long time, and I found myself becoming... less and less sticky. The pieces just started to float away."
The former couple dated for two years before calling it quits in early May 2018.