John Mayer has said at shows—the kind where you have to zip your phone up in a little locked pouch so the magic doesn't make its way online—that, at this point in his life, he'd just like to meet someone who'll be nice to him.
It's hard to imagine a scenario in which there isn't a line of women eagerly waiting their turn to be nice to the Grammy winner, or to meet him underneath the moonlight for just one night, but obviously dating a guy like Mayer isn't so simple.
For them or for him.
But the 45-year-old musician has, in fact, grown more introspective with time, owning up to the fact that he had a reputation as a real hound dog—and acknowledging that he didn't exactly discourage that interpretation of his romantic life. (Ahead of Taylor Swift's re-release of Speak Now—featuring "Dear John," seemingly about him—he made a plea to fans: "Please be kind.")
"What has to happen for a guy to believe that he's totally well-adjusted and be that far out of touch?" Mayer reflected to the New York Times in 2017. "My GPS was shattered, just shattered."
He continued, "I'm old enough to look back on my life and go: 'That's probably the photonegative shot in Behind the Music.' Coming up after the break—boom—the downfall."
Of course, it took more than his kiss-and-tell antics to put that hound in the doghouse. Mayer said a lot of stuff before being literally silenced by granuloma on his vocal cords, which required two surgeries, and he ended up accounting for a variety of questionable comments.
But he didn't feel the need to apologize for being an appreciator of women.
He remembered thinking, when in 2014 he started writing the songs that made up 2017's The Search for Everything, "I'm a young guy. I like girls. I want girls to like me. I want to make music and be thought of as attractive. I was finally ready to re-enter that world and grow back into it."
Turned out, the world he'd left behind was still there waiting for him.
But though he cut quite the swath through the celebrity dating scene at one point, his intentions questioned at every turn, not all was always as it seemed.
Keep reading to look back on his star-studded dating history...
This story was first published on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 at 7 a.m. PT.