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Adele’s Ex-Boyfriend and 12 Other Jerks Who Deserved to Be Called Out in Breakup Songs
Miley Cyrus, '7 Things'
What Did the Jerk Do?
More than seven things, by our count, but highlights include: being vain, liking other ladies, and acting like a total teenage butthead in front of his friends.
Is the Jerk Famous?
Yes! (Nick Jonas, whose diabetes dog tags
Miley wears in the video.)
Was Vengeance Enacted?
Not really — Taylor Swift's "Forever and Always" is the more memorable Dumped-by-a-JoBro Anthem, and Nick moved on to Selena Gomez, while Miley moved onto … Salvia.
Alanis Morisette, 'You Oughta Know'
What Did the Jerk Do?
Dumped Alanis for an older woman who probably would not perform any sort of sexual favors in a theater.
Is the Jerk Famous?
Yes. (Dave Coulier.
Was Vengeance Enacted?
Yes, in that "You Oughta Know" arguably made Alanis's career. No, in that the whole world still remembers she slept with, then got dumped by, Uncle Joey.
Taylor Swift, ‘Dear John’
What Did the Jerk Do? Mostly ambiguous, noncommittal stuff: "twisted games," "giving love and then taking it away," "keeping lines blurry." Also hinted that jerk is a bit of a ladies' man/manwhore.
Is the Jerk Famous? It is, awesomely, John Mayer.
Was Vengeance Enacted? Mayer's scumbag rating certainly spiked after the incident. But don't you get the feeling he's secretly elated Taylor Swift wrote a song about him?
Robyn, “Dancing on My Own”
What Did the Jerk Do? In the song, Robyn recounts going out dancing and hiding in the shadows while her ex gets frisky with his new girl. Ask yourself: Is your ex-girlfriend hiding in the shadows something an upstanding person wouldn't notice?
Is The Jerk Famous? Maybe in Sweden?
Was Vengeance Enacted? Well, Robyn just wrote this sad song about it, so no.
Whitney Houston, 'It's Not Right But It's Ok'
What Did the Jerk Do? Cheated, then did a truly terrible job of covering it up ("If six of y'all went out / then four of you were really cheap / 'Cause only two of you had dinner / I found your credit card receipt.")
Is the Jerk Famous? Yes, probably. (Whit says Bobby Brown was unfaithful throughout their marriage, so we'll assume it's him.)
Was Vengeance Enacted? Yes, though it took a couple of years for Whitney to finally kick Bobby's ass to the curb.
Kanye West, ‘Blame Game’
What Did the Jerk Do? Lied about being physically abused, didn't pick up late-night phone calls, had her brother lie about her whereabouts, let her brother buy cocaine with Kanye's money, generally acted ungrateful that "a nigga like [Kanye] even noticed" her.
Is the Jerk Famous? Amber Rose, most likely.
Was Vengeance Enacted? Well, not fully. You'd think getting dumped by 'Ye would be the end of her "career," but Rose has been plucky: After West, she was rumored to be dating first Fabolous, and then New York Knicks' star Amar'e Stoudemire, then Wiz Khalifa. Haven't these guys heard "Blame Game"?!
Madvillain, ‘Fancy Clown’
What Did the Jerk Do? Okay, bear with us: MF Doom is rapping here as his alter ego Viktor Vaughn and is accusing his girl of sleeping with Doom. Yes, himself. Yes, this didn't actually happen. Makes the list, though, because Doom is obviously crazy, and maybe thinks it did?
Is the Jerk Famous? No. Also, fictional.
Was Vengeance Enacted? Well, in the duration of the song, Vaughn lets it slip that he's been sleeping around, too — most notably, with a maid named Carolyn during a vacation to Maryland and "ya moms." But he still seems genuinely hurt: "If you spoke soft coulda still preserved the friendship."
The-Dream, ‘Florida University’
What Did the Jerk Do? The-Dream is really worked up, but the only specific offense he mentions is "cursing me out on your Twitter account."
Is the Jerk Famous? Probably not — The-Dream broke up with Christina Milian after this song was released.
Was Vengeance Enacted? He spends half the song dropping thinly veiled F-bombs. Petulant, but effective.
Adele, 'Set Fire to the Rain'
What Did the Jerk Do? Lied, played games, turned Adele into an arsonist.
Is the Jerk Famous? No. Except that the entirety of 21 was written about him, so: maybe one day.
Was Vengeance Enacted? Yes — the album is everywhere, and Dude X has to hear all about it.
Marvin Gaye, ‘You Can Leave But It’s Going to Cost You’
What Did the Jerk Do? In the midst of a tiff at the party of a mutual friend named Gwen, told Marvin that "you can leave" — as in, leave the marriage — "but it's going to cost you" and proceeded to aggressively sic divorce lawyers, thereby casting a pall on the entire marriage.
Is the Jerk Famous? Anna "sister of Berry" Gordy, and Marvin's ex-wife. He wrote most of his 1978 album Here, My Dear — infamously named as such because Anna was getting a chunk of the royalties in the divorce agreement — about her.
Was Vengeance Enacted? The album's now considered a landmark in Gaye's career, and he got to spend most of it bashing his ex-wife. So, yeah, we say good job on that one!
Justin Timberlake, ‘Cry Me a River’
What Did the Jerk Do? Cheating (with someone Justin knows well enough that the philanderer then told Justin about it); not admitting to cheating.
Is the Jerk Famous? Britney Spears, of course.
Was Vengeance Enacted? By default, yeah: Britney's not the car wreck she once was, but she's not quite all the way back, either; Justin's making Oscar-nominated movies.
Carrie Underwood, 'Before He Cheats'
What Did the Jerk Do? Cheated with "a bleached-blond tramp" who sings "white-trash versions of Shania karaoke" but doesn't know how to play pool or shoot whiskey (in summary: the lamest girl ever).
Is the Jerk Famous? Probably not. (Though ex Chace Crawford is from Texas and probably does have a soft spot for country ladies.)
Was Vengeance Enacted? A Louisville slugger is involved, so: Yes.
Ghostface Killah, ‘Back Like That’
What Did the Jerk Do? Cheated on Ghostface with a guy he's had beef with forever: Not only did Ghost once break his jaw in the back of a mall (for some undisclosed but surely justifiable reason), but the guy also snitched on a friend named Trevor.
Is the Jerk Famous? No.
Was Vengeance Enacted? Obviously: Ghost takes back all the nice things he's bought his girl, including her puppies, then threatens to have his "girl cousins" beat her up.