If you’re like us, you can probably name more of John Mayer’s famous ex-girlfriends than his songs.
For a spell, the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” singer, 39, was gossip gold. Highlights included his comments about “crazy” sex with Jessica Simpson; then basically calling his ex, Taylor Swift, crazy (“You’re like 22 girls in one”); that impromptu press conference he held outside his gym to explain why he dumped Jennifer Aniston, and his perennially on-again/off-again romance with Katy Perry. But some years — and time living out of the spotlight at his home in Montana — have given Mayer, who has also dated Minka Kelly and Jennifer Love Hewitt, a break from the public eye and a new perspective.
“It took me like 15 years to mellow out,” Mayer said on Tuesday’s Todd & Jayde in the Morning on 95.5 PLJ, in talking about his celebrity. “Now that I sort of have, and I know the value of one of my thoughts, which is a lot lower than I thought it was when I was younger, I watch other [celebrities] and I go, ‘Hey, man, power to you. Try to be a firebrand. Get it out while you can get it out.’”
As for him, “I now say: ‘I’m not it, I just do it. There’s a difference. People who are ‘it,’ ‘it’ will kill you. It will kill you if you consider yourself to be it.” Meaning? “If you think you are the star, like all the way down to your core that you are just made of star parts, you will die.”
Mayer, who’s promoting his first new single in two years (“Love on the Weekend”) in addition to touring with the Dead & Company, said that instead of viewing himself as a celebrity, “What I realize now is I have a very cool job. I get passes that I get to wear around my neck that [allow me to] keep walking to the microphone — and nobody tackles me,” he laughed. “And then the show is over, and I go home.”
Mayer said age — and living on a ranch in the Bozeman area, where a good amount of time was spent recovering from throat surgeries — has played a big part in his new outlook. It doesn’t hurt that his last famous girlfriend was Perry, whom he split from in 2015.
“There is humility in knowing that you’re not popular to the point where people are following you around anymore,” he admitted. “They’re following new people around. They’re not following me around anymore. There’s humility in: Yeah, don’t worry about it because you’re not going to be that hot [forever] anyway.”
Mayer doesn’t envy the up-and-coming stars who are constantly in the limelight, especially now that social media has become such a big part of stardom.
“The one thing I see … and [I] never had to deal with … is this always-on culture,” he says. “[Celebrities are] always on. People are on 24 hours a day.”
He continued, “You’ll hear reports like … ‘Chloë [Grace] Moretz is taking a break from movies. After 18 straight years and 6,000 films she’s taking a break from movies.’ I was in the car going: Whoa, are you kidding me? You’re taking a break from work? But it’s a story. It’s a story now that you have to take a break. It’s called punch the clock and go home and live your life. The expectation now is that you’re on all the time. That’s really weird. … Now that you can run your career all day every day.”
While he’s no longer stirring up Twitter drama (he was on and off — much like his relationship with Perry), he admits that he does sometimes use social media to his advantage. Or to help stroke his ego.
“If I’m low one day, I can put up an Instagram post and for two hours, just watch likes roll in. And it feels pretty damn good,” he admitted. “And I’m almost 40. So if you’re 22…”
He continued, “Everybody gets caught up in it. I think [young stars] should get caught up in it — and then I’ll see you when you get back.”
We all grow up — eventually. Some later than others.