Ariana Grande’s mother is being hailed as a hero after she helped concertgoers get backstage following the suicide attack at Manchester Arena. TMZ reports that Joan Grande was sitting in the front row of the arena when the bomb went off. As word spread about what was happening, the gossip site says that Joan got Ariana’s security detail to help around 10 young fans backstage until it was safe to exit the building. TMZ had earlier reported that Ariana has suspended her world tour following the attack. The Daily Mail published photos of Ariana and Joan arriving in Florida by private jet in the hours after the bombing.
So far, 23 people have been killed in the attack with terror cops in the UK naming Salman Abedi, 22, as the perpetrator. It’s thought that it was a suicide bombing.
Here’s what you need to know about Ariana’s mom:
1. Joan Thought Ariana Would Grow Up to Be a Serial Killer
Ariana was born to Joan and Edward Butera in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1993. Her father ran a graphic design business in the town. The couple separated when Ariana was 9 years old.
Ariana told Billboard Magazine in an August 2014 feature that the family moved from New York to Florida while Joan was pregnant. The singer said her father’s business was successful adding, “My brother and my mom and my grandparents were always there.” In that same piece Ariana says:
For my fifth birthday party we had a Jaws theme and all my friends left crying. I mean, I still am that way. But when I was little it was more concerning. There was a stage, when I was 3 or 4, where my mom thought I might group up to be a serial killer.
In her Seventeen magazine cover in September 2014, Ariana talked about her estrangement from her father saying:
It’s private, but it happened last year. It took me so long to be okay with it. The thing that got me there was embracing the fact that I am made up of half my dad, and a lot of my traits come from him. So much of me comes from my father, and for so long, I didn’t like that about myself…
I had to accept that it’s okay not to get along with somebody and still love them.
2. Joan Was Fired as Her Daughter’s Manager in 2015
The New York Daily News reported in October 2015 that Joan had been relived of her duties as manager. A source told the tabloid:
Ariana was getting a bad rap, but it’s really her mother who is so demanding.
She wants to be a grown up, she wants to make her own decisions, she wants to be like Taylor [Swift], who has a camp but makes every single decision when it comes to her image at the end of the day. So she’s made her mom less of a manager, more of a source of support.
The source went on to say that Ariana’s “bratty rep is the result of her mom being overprotective.” While the August 2014 Billboard feature noted that it was Joan who accompanied her daughter with bottles of water during their interview.
In May 2015, Joan attracted attention online when she went on Twitter rant at P&O Ferries after the company was allegedly unhelpful in getting Ariana’s dogs from the UK to France. Joan called it the “worst experience” of her life.
3. Joan Regularly Tweets About Her Disapproval of the Trump Presidency
Joan’s Twitter account is dominating by the day-to-day movements of her daughter and her disapproval of Donald Trump. On May 20, Joan tweeted that she wouldn’t watch CNN until the network removed Trump-supporter Jeffrey Lord from their coverage. Joan says, “Giving idiots like Lord air time is part of the problem!” While Joan does actively watch MSNBC, on May 17 she wrote that her favorite hosts are Joe Scarborough, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell.
Besides being a fan of liberal broadcasting, Joan is also major Star Wars fan. In June 2014, Ariana posted an Instagram video of her mother on a rant about the franchise. While Ariana tweeted later that year that Joan “loves” Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” “more than any of her children.”
4. Joan is the CEO of an Company That Makes Alarm Systems for the Military
Joan is the Chief Executive of Hose-McCann Communications in Florida. The company makes and provides alarm solutions for the U.S. Navy and Marines. The company’s website says it is their products are also used by the Canadian Coast Guard as well as “the world’s leading maritime communications.”
5. Joan Co-Starred With Ariana in the Singer’s First Major Role
Ariana told the Daily Telegraph in October 2014 that Joan took on a role in her daughter’s first musical, Annie at the Little Palm Family Theater. Ariana said, “She had to wear a French maid’s outfit and use a broom. She was like, “I have no idea what I’m doing right now… but anything for my daughter.””