As one of the most famous faces of the millennial generation, Selena Gomez has gathered massive media attention over the years. Starting from her life before fame and all her ups and downs in between, there's a lot more to Selena's journey than you may think.
Way Back When
Selena Gomez was born on July 22, 1992, in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her mother, Mandy Teefey, who was adopted, is a part of Italian ancestry, whereas her father is of Mexican descent. Mandy was only 16 when she gave birth to Selena, and sadly, her parents got divorced when she was only 5.
Speaking about her Hispanic heritage, Selena has said, “I am a proud third-generation American-Mexican. My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church.” The star spent most of her childhood in Grand Prairie. Well, at least until she landed the lead role of Alex Russo and moved to LA in her early teens.
A Star on the Rise
As luck would have it, Disney discovered Selena in a nationwide casting call. She then made her debut in show business back in 2001 when she appeared as Gianna on the famous children’s program Barney & Friends. It was then that Selena began her friendship with Demi Lovato, who also appeared on the show as Angela.
Over the years, Selena took on several other roles, including Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Hannah Montana in 2006. Gomez also had her first movie experience early on in her career. More exactly, she landed a small role in the movie Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over back in 2003.
A Long 15 Minutes
It didn't take much time for Selena's name to infect the Hollywood scene. However, it was not until she got the leading role in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place that she gained worldwide recognition and fame. The show took place from 2007 to 2012, and Selena certainly got the best out of it.
Following her role in WOWP, Selena got several other roles, appearing on the big screen in movies such as Another Cinderella Story, and Getaway. Only a decade later, the Texas native had an estimated net worth of $75 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And acting wasn't the only thing she could do.
Come & Get It
We can trace the beginnings of Selena’s music career to 2009 when she released her first album “Selena Gomez & the Scene” together with her band, before playing her first concert. Unexpectedly, the album gained instant success, and ranked #9 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Later on, Selena released two more albums with her band.
But what about her solo career? Selena released her first solo album “Stars Dance” in 2013 when the album’s lead single “Come & Get It” became Gomez’s first top ten entry on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Shortly after, in 2015, Selena released her second solo album “Revival,” which debuted #1 on the Billboard 200 list.
It hard to think about Selena's journey without mentioning her lasting romance with Justin Bieber. Reportedly, the couple first hooked up back in 2010, and were on-and-off for several years. Fans worldwide were obsessed with the couple, giving them the celeb-name, “Jelena.”
Their first public appearance took place at a Philadelphia IHOP, and even though TMZ broke the news of the teen idols’ cuddly date, Selena told Us Weekly, “It was platonic, Bieber is one of my best friends… It was just pancakes!” As you can image, fan were rather disappointed.
The Roller Coaster Romance
What started as friendly 'pancakes,' quickly turned into romance. Selena and Justin, who were 16- and 18-years-old then, were caught by paparazzi kissing on a yacht in St. Lucia. Shortly after, the teen dream couple made a red carpet debut at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, letting the world know they were official.
They were in love, but it wasn’t always bliss. Back in 2011, a woman claimed that Justin was the father her child. However, according to CBS News, this was proven to be false. Then, in 2012, the couple unexpectedly split up for the first time. Rumors said it was because of their conflicting schedules, trust issues, and young age.
Unfollowed by Justin
2014 Was undoubtedly a confusing year in the Jelena timeline. More exactly, it was then that Justin’s image changed to full-on bad boy, including several incidents being under the influence and resisting arrest. Even so, the couple was spotted in several instances on “Maybe dates” in Starbucks and the zoo.
Gomez released “The Heart Wants What It Wants” after suggesting via a cryptic tweet that she and Bieber were done. Unexpectedly, Bieber replied to the video on Instagram saying, “Sometimes love isn’t a feeling but a choice.” Meanwhile, Gomez posted a picture with the video’s leading guy, after which Justin unfollowed her on Instagram.
When He Returned the Favor
Artists often express their feelings through their music lyrics. And apparently, Bieber did the same by dropping “Where Are Ü Now,” allegedly about Gomez in February 2015. Even though fans claim to have found her name in the video’s graffiti, Gomez made her first appeal for fans to get over her relationship in 2015.
Selena told The Sunday Times Style magazine, “It’s difficult for people to separate us. The Internet wants to freeze this moment in time and constantly repeat it.” Both Gomez and Bieber were single in September 2015, when they were about to drop new albums and started doing press, during which they talked a lot about each other.
His Songs Were About Her
Selena covered ELLE’s October issue, saying that she hasn’t ruled out getting back together with him. Gomez said, “I think people want it to be different, [and more dramatic]. We’re too young for that. Nobody was married. There was no…I respect him. And I think he respects me, in a healthy manner.”
Justin also made it abundantly clear that he was not over Selena, confirming to Ellen Degeneres that his three hits, “Sorry,” “What Do You Mean?” and “Mark My Words” were officially about Gomez. What’s more, Bieber told Complex magazine that he and Gomez were much more serious than people knew.
Considering the information given to the press and Justin’s statement that they’d get back together, no one expected the couple to be in such a conflict. More exactly, fans worldwide were well-aware of the on- and offs- in the couple’s relationship. However, no one knew the reason behind it.
The couple separated in 2015, but it wasn’t until the following year when the two got in a bitter social media battle, and fans learned of the apparent reason for the split up. More exactly, Selena called Justin out for allegedly cheating on her “multiple times,” whereas Justin implied she was unfaithful to him with Zayn Malik.
"I'm Never Going to Stop Loving Her"
Without a doubt, Selena and Justin had their ups and downs. They both casually dated other people and spent time apart. However, fans worldwide admire their connection and respect for one another. Despite the allegations, Selena told ELLE, “I don’t know!” whether or not she’d ever get back together with Justin Bieber.
Gomez also added, “I’ll forever support him and love him in a way that….we grew up together”. Similarly, Bieber told Access Hollywood of Gomez, “I’m never going to stop loving her. I’m never going to stop checking in on her.” At the time, we could only wait and see whether they were going to stay true to their words.
Fighting Over Social Media
Fans almost got used to the peace between Selena and Justin until Gomez did what no one expected. She dealt a blow, saying, “If you can’t handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your [new] girlfriend lol. It should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you."
Selena supposedly wrote this to Bieber after he accused his fans of attacking his new fling with Sofia Richie or not being loyal to him. Justin immediately reacted in the comments, saying, “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love.”
Apart from Justin, Selena had several other flings over the years. One of which was the rumored romance with Taylor Lautner, somewhere around 2009. Allegedly, Selena met Taylor while filming Ramona and Beezus, during which he was filming Twilight: New Moon. Once again, Selena’s fans were quick to get excited about the unconfirmed news.
Rumors claimed that public interest killed Selena and Taylor’s vibe. Even so, the couple supposedly ended on good terms. Another one of Selena’s relationships was with DJ Anton Zedd, which ended in early 2015. She told radio show The Edge Afternoons, “I definitely had a thing with him, which was nice”. Yet, it didn’t last.
The Health Scare
During 2013, Selena went through a challenging period. Especially after romance drama's that seemed to be never-ending. However, Selena also had additional concerns to take care of. More exactly, it was back in 2013 when she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that attacks your tissues and organs.
Selena’s medical condition worsened, making her prone to anxiety and depression. The nature of the Lupus disease can leave one feeling tired, down, and achy. So, Selena had to undergo chemotherapy and rehabilitation, and as a result, she canceled her two world tours: “Stars Dance” and “Revival” in 2013 and 2016.
Why She Went to Rehab
Radar exclusively revealed that Selena Gomez had undergone a secret stint in rehab at Arizona’s The Meadows back in January 2014. More exactly, the source said that the reason behind Selena’s treatment was her partying lifestyle. However, Selena later revealed that this was not the truth. But what was the cause?
According to Gomez, the reason for rehabilitation was her health condition or chemotherapy treatment for her Lupus. Undeniably, it was a challenging period for the star. However, Selena managed to return to the charts with the single “Good for You” in the summer of 2015. She also released “Revival” as her fifth album later on the year.
In Need of More Treatment
According to multiple sources at Us Weekly, Selena entered a rehab facility in Tennessee once again in September 2016. In addition, they said "Selena is dealing with lupus, but this break is to focus on her mental health. She can go to a very dark place." For the break from the spotlight, Gomez revealed a similar truth.
Selena said she needed time to deal with the side effects of Lupus: “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness, and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off . . . I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best.”
The Ultimate Gift
Selena’s fans were desperately waiting for her condition to get better, yet faced a disappointing reality. Her Lupus caused additional health complications, resulting in severe kidney damage, eventually requiring Selena to undergo transplant surgery. Because of her health condition, the pop star further shied away from the limelight.
After a while, in summer 2017, Selena shared her painful story. She also revealed that her best friend, Francia Raisa, gave her a kidney transplant due to Selena’s Lupus disease complications. Gomez wrote online about Francia, "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me….I love you so much."
The Idea Behind Rare
The idea for “Rare” came to Selena during her extended hiatus from show biz. She recalled, “I had started to play around. This was probably three years ago. I didn’t feel inspired by much, so I would just drift in and out.” Allegedly, nothing was forced or deliberate, but quite fortunate instead.
Selena added, “I went away for a little bit, and when I came back. I heard a song called ‘Rare,’ and that was the moment I knew that my album was starting. This was going to be the name of the album before I even recorded it.” It was then that she started focusing on transformation, vulnerability, and heartbreak.
13 Reasons Why
In addition to her acting and music career, Selena Gomez also played a role behind the scenes. More exactly, she served as the executive producer in Netflix’ American teen-drama web television series 13 Reasons Why. Initially, Selena was set to star as Hannah, the leading role in the series.
However, after Netflix ordered an adaptation as a limited series in October 2015, Selena instead served as the executive producer. The producing team allegedly believed that Selena was too much of an influential character to be put in a role as sensitive as Hannah's.
Dating the Weeknd
Selena took some time off to focus on her heath when she broke up with Bieber. However, she re-emerged two months later, in November 2016, when she started dating rapper The Weekend. Bieber seemed rather petty about it in the beginning. Even so, Selena and The Weeknd’s relationship lasted nearly ten months.
According to People, they split up because they couldn’t maintain a long-distance relationship. More exactly, Selena had work commitments in New York, while The Weeknd was touring. After a while, Jelena got back together one last time, ending in March 2018. Bieber then started dating Hailey Baldwin later on in June.
Struggling With Depression
Justin Bieber got engaged to Hailey Baldwin in July and married legally in September 2018. The couple had their official wedding on September 30th, 2019. However, 2018 wasn’t as positive for Selena. More exactly, according to Page Six, Gomez checked into treatment in a Connecticut facility for two weeks in early 2018.
Page Six added that, along with therapy, they offered Selena healthy eating plans, meditation, and pilates. Even more, Gomez shared, “Depression was my life for five years straight. Depression and anxiety were the forefronts of everything that I did in my life - every single thing” on an Instagram live video.
The Breaking Point
It was not until October 2018 that Selena suffered a mental breakdown. The “It Ain’t Me” singer once again went into rehab, all to work on and improve her health condition. Supposedly, Selena became “despondent and emotional” over a low white blood cell count, which led a family member to take action.
Selena was hospitalized in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA. She spent a few days there, before going home. However, she was readmitted the following week because her white blood cell count didn’t improve, sending her further downward. According to Radar Online, Selena’s partying and drinking possibly contributed to her meltdown.
Time Off From the Spotlight
After her last rehab-stay in October 2018, Selena took a long break from social media platforms. A source told Life & Style that Selena was doing everything she could to stay positive post-rehab. Supposedly, the Gram is an unhealthy place for her, as her ex was sharing snapshots of the newly wedded bliss.
On the other hand, sources have revealed to Radar that Justin continued contacting Selena and refused to let go, even after he married Hailey. What’s more, a source claimed that Hailey had caught Justin texting Selena, adding that “Hailey absolutely lost it and reached out to Selena to tell her to stay away from her man!”
Ending the Social Media Break
Following her social media break, Gomez returned to Instagram early in 2019. She wrote, “It’s been a while since you have heard from me, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year and to thank you for your love and support.” Since then, the star appears to be doing well in every way.
Selena also added, “Last year was definitely a year of self-reflection, challenges, and growth. It’s always those challenges that show you who you are and what you are capable of overcoming. Trust me, it’s not easy, but I am proud of the person I am becoming and look forward to the year ahead. Love you all.”
"I Realized That I was Bipolar"
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Selena suffers from a bipolar disorder. More exactly, the actress/singer confirmed this for the very first time on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram Live chat show, Bright Minded. What’s more, Gomez said that this helped her to understand more about her anxiety and depression.
Cyrus asked Selena how she’d been dealing with social distancing and the current coronavirus pandemic. She revealed, “Recently, I went to one of the best mental health hospitals in America, McClean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar.”
The Push She Needed
Over the years, Selena Gomez has collaborated with people from the most varied niches. Even more, it seems as though she loves working with different music artists and producers. However, we are aware that Selena found her constants back in 2014 when she started working with Julia Michaels and Justin Trent.
But Selena got the push she needed when she heard Julia and Justin’s song “Good for You” from the album Revival. She said, “I fell in love with the song. It was exactly where I was stepping into: Being more of a woman and being OK with who I am and not so scared to explore deeper into that”.
"I Took Control Over What I Was Going to Say and Do"
When Selena felt content with who she was, it was time to change her music. In other words, she was determined to embrace her creativity and take ownership of her story entirely. What’s more, Selena was dedicated to reflect her desire into her album and transfer this energy to her followers.
Gomez told the Rolling Stone magazine, "Becoming more involved than I ever have been [in creating an album] helped me gain confidence and empowered me completely. I took control over what I was going to say and do." The 28-year old also took charge of her single releases. And ultimately, it all paid off!
A Global Hit
As a pop-dance album with R&B and a Latin pop flair, Rare debuted at the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart. What’s more, the album’s single “Lose You to Love Me” became her first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, whereas the follow-up release, “Look at Her Now,” peaked at No. 27.
Selena wanted to put out the ideas about self-discovery and to move on after a breakup in her singles. She stated, “I wanted people to take away that this was a journey and that it was completely closed. I don’t want people to see me as just sad and hurt. That part of me is over.”
A Romance or a Rumor?
Another romance in Selena’s life was said to be with heartthrob Zac Efron. Or at least, that’s what fans wanted. According to Radar’s source, Selena Gomez was flirting with Zac Efron early in 2019. Supposedly, the former Disney Channel stars/singers had a lot of chemistry going on. But who was there to confirm?
Just good ol' insta-theories. After all, drama usually loves to unfold on the Gram. According to Elle, Efron posted a thirst trap the same day that he followed Selena on the platform. Apparently, this was enough for fans to go crazy over the possible couple, posting supportive messages and Tweets.
The Best Is Yet To Come
Without a doubt, the world has seen an enormous change in Selena’s music, work as an actress, and overall character. What’s more, Time magazine named Selena as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 for using her platform to advance charitable initiatives, along with raising awareness about social injustices.
There's no doubt about it, Selena is a force to be reckoned with. She's proven several times that regardless of the challenges that life may throw her, Gomez always comes out on top. With an already successful career on the rise, we have a feeling the best is yet to come.