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John Mayer: “I Would Have Rather Killed Myself Than Been Killed”

Being just a few months younger than him, I’m a huge John Mayer fan. I love his music and I feel like his style is always evolving. What always struck me most was the honesty of his lyrics and how he was able to tap into how our generation must be feeling at a particular stage in life. LOS ANGELES - FEB 10:  John Mayer arrives to the Grammy Awards 2This fascination with him began many years ago, long before his casual dating and sometimes cavalier attitude gained him a reputation.

Good looking and successful, it was hardly surprising to most when Mayer started playing the field and spending time with some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. From Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Aniston to Katy Perry, his most recent love connection, the singer has been accused of womanizing and failing to commit. Some defended his actions but took offense after a particularly noteworthy interview was published.

Interview Gone Wrong

He spoke with Playboy magazine in 2010 and, during the discussion, he revealed a little too much about the 10 months he spent dating Jessica Simpson in 2006. He described his former flame as “a drug” and then went on to refer to their relationship as “sexual napalm.” Many felt that it was completely insensitive and demonstrative of his lack of respect for women.

Taylor Swift Controversy

When it was reported that he was dating Taylor Swift, a young woman 12 years his junior, people seemed completely shocked. Women many years her senior with far more experience had been seriously hurt by his dating style and some worried that someone so much younger was at a greater risk of having her heart broken… and then it happened.

Swift has made a name for herself writing songs about failed relationships and the men she has dated so, it wasn’t a surprise when their duet “Half of My Heart” was followed up by her solo track, “Dear John.” Among the scathing lyrics, Swift wrote: “Dear John, I see it all, now it was wrong / Don’t you think 19 is too young to be played by your dark twisted games, when I loved you so?”

At the time, Mayer responded by saying that he was “humiliated” by the song because he felt like he didn’t deserve it and that he had become better at taking accountability for his actions. He called it a “really lousy thing for her to do,” referred to it as “cheap songwriting” and claimed that he was “really caught off-guard” because she had never told him how she felt personally.

Fast forward to 2013, when his relationship with Katy Perry became more serious, and he began singing a different tune. He sat down with CBS Sunday Morning and admitted that he had been “a jerk” and was sorry for how he treated all of the women in his past, including Swift. It seems that his remorseful attitude has now transitioned into one that simply wants to put the past behind him.

Change of Heart

In a very recent interview with MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, he gave Swift credit for being an artist who has taken a stand against music streaming services such as Spotify. Mayer said that it is “really cool” to have someone as popular as Swift taking action and explained that “artists need the person with the loudest voice to speak for them” and acknowledged how powerful she has become.

In his own attempt to put everything in perspective, Mayer went on to say: “’Look, I can say the name Taylor Swift. She’s an artist. I’m an artist. Let’s just…everybody stop. Nobody’s got an incurable cancer. We’re rich people who get to live out our dreams. Let’s just stop it.’ I’m a musician who’s bigger than one song or one record. It’s really about the longevity of all the work that goes together, and I’m just not interested in the things that won’t last forever.”

Deep Reflections

How is this change in attitude possible? He explained that he “didn’t have a drinking problem” but, rather, began his career at just 23 years old at the top of the chart and didn’t know how to deal with it in the healthiest of ways. He added: “When you invariably do find out that not everything you touch turns to gold, you’ve got a choice: You either bleed out or you tie off. . . I tied off after I went, ‘Alright, dude, you did a couple interviews where you were out of touch and being a ham and basically breakdancing into a nitroglycerin plant. Now you don’t even have the chance that everyone’s gonna love you – ever again. In that period of time, I would have rather killed myself than been killed. I was never going to wrap my Corvette around a tree. My high-speed crash was an intellectual one.”

It seems that those humbling moments were good for him. He now refers to himself as a “recovered ego addict” and keeps a much lower profile. He has openly discussed having an anxiety disorder in the past which, likely, made all of this a little more difficult to overcome and address. Hopefully, this really is the beginning of a new chapter in his life and he can return to focusing on the music that brought him such acclaim and fame.

John Mayer: “I Would Have Rather Killed Myself Than Been Killed”

Jeanne Croteau

Jeanne has been a celebrity blogger for eight years and also teaches psychology at the college level. In addition to her passion for mental health, she is an avid reader, hockey fan and mother of four.

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APA Reference
Croteau, J. (2015). John Mayer: “I Would Have Rather Killed Myself Than Been Killed”. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Mar 2015
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