We finally know who John Mayer was singing about in his Grammy-winning hit song “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” and it’s not who we thought it was. It turns out, the person whose body is lauded in song for her skin like porcelain, pair of candy lips, and bubblegum tongue was his high school sweetheart.
Mayer released the song in 2001 as part of his debut studio album Room For Squares. A year later, he dated actor Jennifer Love Hewitt for a few months. Despite the math not adding up, some still speculated that the ballad was about the Ghost Whisperer star. On Dec. 21, Mayer appeared on the Call Her Daddy podcast and put an end to those rumors. “No, that’s one of those things where people just sort of formed the idea. It gets reinforced over the years. No, I had never met a celebrity when I wrote that song,” the 45-year-old said of the misconception.
He then clarified what the song was actually about. “That was about my first girlfriend,” he said, adding, “That was about the feeling which I think was already sort of nostalgic. I was 21 when I wrote that song and I was nostalgic for being 16.”
When host Alex Cooper asked, “Did your high school girlfriend know you wrote that about her?” Mayer responded, “Maybe she didn’t. To this day, maybe she didn’t.” He then spoke directly to his ex-beau and said, “So, if you were my one and only high school girlfriend that was actually about you.”
Mayer also revealed that he has a “rule” when composing to keep his songs’ “sanctity intact.” “I don’t write songs about people,” he said. “So I don’t like telling anyone that a song is about somebody because most of the time it’s not, and it takes people away from themselves because they’re just visualizing who I’m writing about.”
Despite this “rule” about not revealing his music’s inspiration, he did admit years ago that he drew inspiration from another ex-girlfriend, Katy Perry. In a 2017 New York Times interview, he confirmed that his single “Still Feel Like Your Man” was about the “Fireworks” singer. “Who else would I be thinking about?” he said of his then-recent ex.
Fans think Perry may have reciprocated the act in her 2017 album Witness, pointing to at least three potential songs with lyrics pertaining to her musician ex: “Witness,” “Miss You More,” and “Save As Draft.” Prior to her post-breakup tracks, Perry also released songs about Mayer including “Unconditionally” and “Roar” while the two were still dating in 2013. The pair broke up in 2015 after three years together.
Perhaps the most controversial tracks thought to be about Mayer are from another one of his ex-girlfriends, pop icon Taylor Swift. In 2010, Swift released “Dear John” and fans immediately linked the song to the “Gravity” singer. For starters, his name is in the title. The lyric about her age was also a major giveaway: “Don’t you think 19 is too young, to be played by your dark twisted games, when I loved you so?” Swift dated Mayer, who is 13 years her senior when she was just 19. Mayer responded to the song via a 2012 Rolling Stone interview where he said it “really humiliated” him and made him “feel terrible.”
In October 2022, Swift released her tenth studio album Midnights and shrewd Swifties think there’s another Mayer-dedicated track on it. about Mayer. In “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” Swift again alludes to the time she dated Mayer. The lyrics go: “I would’ve stayed on my knees and I damn sure never would’ve danced with the devil at 19.” Mayer has yet to respond to the song.