Admit it — you’re fascinated with celebrity relationships. Especially those that are on-again, off-again, and feature two A-listers who can’t seem to stay apart.
We’re talking, of course, about Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. They first got together when they were just teenagers, and have been back and forth for nearly a decade now. Over the years, they’ve flaunted their love on the red carpet, kept things under wraps, and even talked about the other on occasion. Following is the unabridged history of their ups and downs, and all of the exes they’ve left in their wake.
Though the pair first met in 2009, rumors about their alleged romance began in 2010, when they were spotted at an IHOP, and then in Miami the next week.
Of course, at the time, this was all just speculation, and their reps denied that they were dating, giving the usual “just friends” excuse.
The infamous St. Lucia vacation occurred in early 2011, when the pair were photographed on vacation together, getting very cozy. Media outlets went nuts, and thus began Jelena, the epic saga. Little did we know how iconic this pairing would become.
After the first vacation comes the first official outing? That was certainly the case here, when Bieber and Gomez showed up to Vanity Fair Oscar party not long after their Carribbean vacay.
Despite not actually calling themselves a couple, this was enough of a confirmation and, the media explosion kicked off for real, with Ellen DeGeneres calling her out on her show just weeks later. An absolutely crazy ride was still to come…
Now that they were officially out, the couple made up for lost time by spending the summer and fall going out on dates. They were spotted kissing at the Billboard Music Awards in May, and numerous other times.
There were some breakup rumors at the end of 2011, in the wake of false paternity suit against Bieber. But the two held fast.
Jelena started out the year strong. There was a beautiful Valentine’s Day gift, public kisses, and even engagement rumors! But it wouldn’t last long.
In November 2012, official reports of their breakup were made public. Fan hearts were broken all over the world, but Bieber seemed to be doing OK: There were rumors that he was rebounding and dating a model.
If you thought that was a lot of back and forth, buckle in. The first half of 2013 was rumor-palooza. They allegedly reunited in Norway while he was touring, but all photo evidence was promptly deleted (that happens a lot throughout their relationship).
In May, they were once again spotted at the Billboard Music Awards. Though allegedly broken up, they share an awkward kiss-on-the-cheek moment, while Taylor Swift looks disgusted at the sight. They also took an Instagram photo on July 4, but still maintained they were not together.
Drama was at an all-time high in 2014. Bieber posted photos of the two on Instagram every couple of months. They’re possibly spotted together various times, but nothing serious.
Then comes the music. “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” Gomez’s single, is released. And she confirms that it is about their tumultuous relationship.
According to her, everything was good between them. But two more singles that sounded like they’re about Bieber came out, and he decided enough was enough: He unfollowed his ex on Instagram. This is also around the time that the rumors about his potential romance with Hailey Baldwin began to pop up.
Selena has moved on! That’s right, the singer has “a thing” with DJ Zedd. Their relationship doesn’t last long, though, and soon more Bieber rumors begin to surface.
Meanwhile, Bieber is writing songs about his ex, while she’s opening up about their past. It sounds like there are nothing but good vibes there.
Now it’s Bieber’s turn to release music about Gomez. In November, he tells Ellen that three of the songs on his new album are about his ex. Many believe them to be “What Do You Mean?”, “Mark My Words,” and “Where are U Now.”
This came just a month after he dropped a previously recorded and unreleased track featuring Gomez. While Gomez seems happy to be moving past everything, Bieber continues his tradition of posting throwbacks of the two on Instagram.
Bieber is linked to two women this year: First, Baldwin comes into the picture once more, and it seems definite that this time they were actually a couple. Meanwhile, Gomez is “so beyond done with talking about him.”
Then comes the feud to end all feuds. In August 2016, Bieber was reportedly dating Sofia Richie. He got a lot of hate from people on Instagram, and eventually deactivated his account for a time.
And while you’d expect Gomez to take the high road in this situation, she left a comment about how he should expect fans to comment if he publicly shares photos, mentioning if he doesn’t want them he should keep things more private. He fired back. It was a serious social media mess.
Things slowed down on the Jelena rumor train for a time. Other than Bieber allegedly visiting his ex while she was in rehab in late 2016, they weren’t linked for a time.
In January 2017, Gomez began dating rapper The Weeknd. Diss tracks were fired from all directions, and once again, the speculation was flying. The Weeknd releases “Some Way” in February, which includes the lyrics, “I think your girl, think your girl fell in love with me / She say my f*ck and my tongue game a remedy.”
Things are happening fast here, so try and keep up. Bieber releases his new single, “Friends.” The message is clear: He wants to make things good between them.
The same month, Gomez’s Instagram was hacked, and the hacker posted naked paparazzi photos of Bieber. Obviously, the situation was quickly remedied, but it still sparked rumors of tension between the two.
With her account back up and running, Gomez shares why she’d been out of the public eye for a little while: She had a kidney transplant, which was necessary due to her lupus.
Reports of Bieber sending her well wishes floated around, but most outlets were focused on the support coming from her boyfriend, The Weeknd.
And just like that, the tide turned. Gomez and The Weeknd broke up, and she was spotted hanging with — guess who? — Bieber once again. They go to church together, they bike together… they could just be friends, but how likely does that seem, given the timing of her breakup? Needless to say, Jelena fans were in paradise.
But things can’t stay perfect for long. Amid reports that the two were spending the holidays apart, a major story broke: Gomez’s mother, Mandy Teefey, was very unhappy about her daughter rekindling her romance with Bieber. So much so, allegedly, that she was hospitalized.
Still, they seemed to be going strong. Despite rumors that they were headed to couple’s therapy, Jelena spent New Year’s Eve together in Mexico.
More vacation fun! Bieber’s father, Jeremy, got married in Jamaica in February 2018. Bieber was a groomsman, and brought his girlfriend along for the trip. Gomez was photographed with some other girls, and the couple were spotted putting on the PDA.
Aw, how cute is this? On March 1, Bieber’s birthday, Gomez posted a cute photo on Instagram. Though not officially confirming anything between them (naturally), she shared a pic of herself laughing with a Polaroid taped to her forehead.
She captioned the pic, “March 1, 1994 someone I know that happens to be super cool was born. Boom.” Seems pretty straightforward.
Not long after the adorable birthday Insta, we were hit with more rumors of a split. First, it was “taking some space,” but that quickly escalated to a legit breakup. Apparently, they’re still friendly, and Bieber may even want Gomez back, but for now, a serious relationship is more than they can handle.