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Carly Simon Finally Admitted Who “You’re So Vain” Is Really About

Carly Simon.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Few songs feature characters as iconic as the one in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” The song describes an unnamed narcissistic douche, and has been used by generations to refer to egomaniacs of all stripes. But all the while, people have wondered: Who is the seminal douche? Today, Simon finally gave the world its answer.

In an interview to publicize her forthcoming memoir, Boys in the Trees, the singer, now 70, told People that the song’s second verse is about Warren Beatty. In case you need a refresher, here are the verse’s lyrics:


You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive

Well you said that we made such a pretty pair

And that you would never leave

But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me


I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee

Clouds in my coffee, and …

Simon told CNN years ago that the song’s subject had an “E” and an “A” in it, and added “R” to the list on Regis & Kelly. “Warren Beatty” certainly fits the bill, but she also said decades ago that the song is not about one crappy guy, but several. Other rumored sources have included Mick Jagger (whom Simon has repeatedly insisted did not inspire any part of the song), Kris Kristofferson, and perhaps most amusingly Cat Stevens. Nicholas Delbanco is probably the guy who sported the apricot scarf, if Simon’s words in Janet Jackson’s “Son of a Gun” are to be believed.

Whatever guesses people have thrown out, Simon’s responses are often vague, and even include the occasional red herring. But whoever the other guys might be, Simon says Beatty—predictably—“thinks the whole thing is about him.”