Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were on-again-off-again for the better part of a decade until he finally settled down and married Hailey Baldwin in September 2018. Before that, it gets very messy and very confusing, so bear with our rough timeline: Bieber and Gomez made their public debut at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in early 2011. They first split in November 2012, with a source telling Us Weekly that Gomez had « major trust issues » with the « Baby » singer, who was rumored to have hooked up with supermodel Barbara Palvin at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (Palvin denied it and said Gomez started the drama by retweeting a photo Palvin and Bieber took together.)
Despite Gomez starting fandom drama, it wasn’t over, nor was it the first time she’d be a headache for her ex: From April 2013 through December 2015, Gomez and Bieber were very on-again-off-again, with Bieber reportedly hooking up with Baldwin on New Year’s Eve 2015 before reuniting with Gomez in March 2016.
By that August, Bieber was dating Sofia Richie. Gomez moved on with The Weeknd for 10 months in early 2017 before splitting that October — after which she was spotted canoodling with Bieber again. The couple collectively known as « Jelena » were over, however, by summer 2018.
Phew, got all that? Now, behold how Gomez has exacted her revenge on her first love and most famous ex-boyfriend ever … because the pettiness seriously knows no bounds.
Was Selena Gomez trying to tell Justin Bieber something here?
In March 2013, Selena Gomez and her pals, including dancer and future kidney donor Francia Raisa, practiced an entire choreographed routine to the song « Everybody Knows » by Dustin Tavella. The song features deep lyrics like, « Your boyfriend is a douchebag / And everybody knows » and « You know he’s got somebody on the side, girl, and the way he talks to you is a sin / He just keep sinnin’ on / I really think it’s time girl you quit defending him. »
In the video, some outlets speculated Gomez was mocking Bieber specifically due to her outfit, but in fairness, she was just wearing sweats and a hoodie, which almost any and everyone would wear for a dance rehearsal. Chances are she actually was shading Bieber, though: One of her fellow dancers in the video tweeted then deleted (via E! News), « We danced tonight. It was awesome. Especially because we dedicated it to someone … and then ate Chinese food after. »
Gomez, joined by other stars including Raisa and Danny Trejo, later appeared in the music video for « Everybody Knows. »
Selena Gomez mocked Justin Bieber on Letterman
About a week after Selena Gomez and Co. filmed their dance video, Gomez appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman to promote Spring Breakers. Letterman asked her if she was dating, to which she replied, « No, not yet, no. » When he pressed about Bieber specifically, she said with a smile and head tilt, « I’m single, yeah. I’m so good. » The funnyman then brought up his last interview with Bieber from June 2012, in which Bieber had openly said Letterman made him uncomfortable by verbally attacking and physically rubbing his tattoos. « The last time he was on, we had a conversation about something … and I made him cry. »
Gomez replied without missing a beat: « Well then, that makes two of us. » Letterman cracked up, and she got both a laugh and applause break from the crowd for the remark. « Wow, » Letterman said, giving Gomez a fist bump, and adding, « Pretty good! Pretty strong — the kid! »
Remember when Selena Gomez put Justin Bieber’s voicemail in a song?
Despite trying to give the impression she was totally over Justin Bieber in her TV and social media appearances, Selena Gomez dredged up their relationship again in July 2013 for her song « Love Will Remember. » In the voicemail, Bieber can be heard telling the former Wizards Of Waverly Place starlet, « Hey babe, it’s me. I just want to call and tell you that I love you so, so, so, so much. I just wanted to let you know that you are my princess. You are worthy of all the love in the world. You are the love of my life. »
Though it was likely quite a strategic move in terms of getting Gomez’s song press, it may have been less opportunistic and more romantic: A source told E! News that Bieber was fine with her using the voicemail, noting that she actually sent him the then-unreleased track in February 2013 as a Valentine’s Day gift. « It was after they broke up and she told him he wanted him to remember the better times, » the source said. « Justin was blown away by it. »
Selena Gomez used her drama with Justin Bieber to promote The Heart Wants What It Wants
Selena Gomez had another hit on her hands with « The Heart Wants It Wants, » and she predictably used her connection to her famous ex while doing press for the single. She discussed the track in a rambling conversation with Ryan Seacrest, telling him (via Billboard) that she got Bieber’s blessing before releasing the song.
While Gomez never explicitly said Bieber’s name, she spoke about him openly, telling the DJ, « I think the biggest problem I had this year — even with [Justin] and on his side—is identity. I was trying to figure out what I’m doing, and that was the first time I was constantly being kicked down for doing that, » she lamented. « When I didn’t know, I just wanted to say, ‘This is what I want, this is where I am in my professional life, things changed in my personal life, things changed in my heart—everything.' » She admitted that she made poor decisions, but couldn’t help but throw Bieber under the bus, adding, « And so did he, and that’s why we went through all that to only make us better. »
Did Selena Gomez hook up with Orlando Bloom to spite Justin Bieber?
Remember how Selena Gomez had a hand in making the Internet think Justin Bieber and Barbara Palvin may have hooked up when he performed at the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? It turns out there may have been fire to that smoke — Gomez just singled out the wrong supermodel.
E! News reported that it was actually Miranda Kerr, who was married to Orlando Bloom at the time, who may have gotten a little too close with Bieber at the infamous show. Kerr’s attorneys denied, and by October 2013, Kerr and Bloom called it quits. In July 2014, Bloom allegedly tried to punch Bieber in the face when they crossed paths at a restaurant in Ibiza, Spain. In 2016, TMZ cameras spotted Gomez getting very close with Bloom in Las Vegas, though sources close to Gomez insisted that nothing untoward went down. Regardless, their public hangs were very much interpreted as a clear signal to J.B.
Selena Gomez used her reunion with Justin Beiber to promote Revival
The dramatization of Jelena’s past, as much as Selena Gomez complains about it, is a big part of her narrative when it comes time to sell records, and that isn’t lost on Justin Bieber. When Gomez and Bieber got back together in 2015, An insider told Celeb Dirty Laundry that her motives have been obvious for years, like in 2015 when she promoted Revival — which featured songs including « Sober, » about messy drunken hookups, and « Same Old Love, » about on-again-off-again love.
« Justin has always felt like he gave Selena a boost in her career here and there, because of all the press they get when they are together, » the source said. « He is starting to feel a little used because Selena has made it very clear she doesn’t want to be with him — but keeps trying to make plans with him in public places. It’s not a coincidence that she is promoting her new album. » Bieber himself told Billboard he hadn’t listened to Revival, explaining, « I know I had a lot of play in that one. I don’t know what she’s saying about me. »
Did Selena Gomez drive Justin Bieber to temporarily quit Instagram?
Justin Bieber dated Sofia Richie very briefly in August 2016, and he posted snaps of their romance on Instagram. That didn’t sit well with his bizarrely possessive Beliebers, who left cruel comments on the photos. The trolling got so bad that Bieber threatened to leave the platform for good. And even though nobody asked her, Selena Gomez replied in the comments to his lament, « If you can’t handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol — it should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you. »
An incensed Bieber replied to his ex, « It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love. I’m not one for anyone receiving hate. Hope u all can be kind to my friends and each other. And yes I love my beliebers. » Gomez once more couldn’t help herself, commenting back (via ET), « Funny how the ones that cheated multiple times are pointing the finger at the ones that were forgiving and supportive, no wonder fans are mad. Sad. All love. » She later apologized for her remarks on Snapchat (via ET), writing, « What I said was selfish and pointless. » You think?
For what it’s worth, her and the Beliebers’ tactics got Bieber so annoyed, in fact, that he did actually quit Instagram, though he returned later on when things cooled off with Richie.
Selena Gomez dropped a revealing ballad about Justin Bieber’s rebound
In October 2019, Selena Gomez dropped two new songs clearly directly inspired by her Justin Bieber romance. In « Lose You To Love Me, » she seemingly references Bieber’s 2015 album Purpose, lamenting, « Set fire to my purpose / And you let it burn. » Elsewhere, she seems to call out the speed at which he moved on from her to his now-wife Hailey Baldwin, singing, « In two months you replaced us like it was easy / Made me think I deserved it in the thick of healing. » She went on On Air With Ryan Seacrest, and while no one mentioned Bieber by name, the host asked her about the « two months » phrase specifically. She responded with a hint of sass, « I’m really grateful, too, because I’ve actually experienced that a million times before, and that’s the unfortunate part about what I do. So, it’s all very real to me and I’m sure it’s just entertainment for other people. »
She also referenced the split in a press release, once more not mentioning Bieber by name. « This song was inspired by many things that have happened in my life since releasing my last album [in 2015], » Gomez said in a statement (via People). « I thought it was important to share the music, as I know many can relate to the fact that the road to self-discovery generally comes through the scars in one’s life. »
Selena Gomez dropped a post-Bieber breakup bop
Exactly a day after « Lose You To Love Me » was released, Selena Gomez dropped « Look At Her Now, » in which she sings of a former relationship, « It was her first real lover / His too ’til he had another / Oh God when she found out / Trust levels went way down. » Elsewhere in the song she snaps, « Of course she was sad / But now she’s glad she dodged a bullet. » Gomez later explained her thoughts about a certain relationship on The Zach Sang Show, saying, « You’re in a phase of life where you experience love for the first time, and I think that can just be a little toxic. Because when you’re young … you have this codependency that you think is love, and then you have this addiction to the passion and the frustration with each other that you think, ‘Oh that’s love.’ … I believed that for a long time. »
In the same interview, she was asked whether she wants the person she co-wrote her songs about to hear them. She replied in a way that made some think the lady doth protest too much: « My intentions are never evil. … I always want to come from a place that’s genuine, and when I feel like some things haven’t been said, then I get to turn that into art. So, naturally, for sure. But in general, the most important part was that the world got to hear it. »