Whenever a celebrity singer releases a breakup anthem, the public can't help but do some digging as to which of their famous significant others the song could be about. From Justin Timberlake's overt shout-out to Britney Spears in his "Cry Me a River" video to Taylor Swift's plethora of cryptic lyrics referencing past paramours, it's hard not to play detective and try to decode the possible messages. After Justin Bieber dropped his hit single "Sorry," people wasted no time declaring it a public apology to his ex Selena Gomez (for her part, Selena's 2014 hit "The Heart Wants What It Wants" was widely speculated to be about Justin as well).
High-profile musicians write song lyrics about their wayward romances just like most nonfamous people would write in their journals — the only difference is that while your diary entry may be for your eyes only, their scrawled-on, tear-stained pages become chart-topping radio staples and songs of the Summer, popping up on postsplit playlists around the globe. Can you imagine being out with your friends, dancing the night away in a bar, when all of a sudden your ex's hit song (the one that everyone knows is about you) starts blaring from the speakers? Picture yourself in a beautiful restaurant on a third date, sipping wine and listening intently to them talk about their day before . . . what's that sound? Oh, it's just that person you dated for six months singing about how you broke their heart into a million tiny pieces. Such a bummer, right?
We may never, ever find out who Carly Simon thought was "so vain," but at least we have these modern breakups tunes to scrutinize. Keep reading for 17 celebrities who will likely be haunted by the songs about them for the rest of their lives.