In September 2015, Selena Gomez told ELLE “I don’t know!” whether or not she’d ever get back together with Justin Bieber—the guy she officially broke up with in 2012, but had been on and off with until fall 2014. “I’ll forever support him and love him in a way that….we grew up together.”
In November 2015, Justin Bieber told Access Hollywood of Gomez, “I’m never going to stop loving her. I’m never going to stop checking in on her.”
They both went on tour; they both casually dated other people but still had their moments. (Multiple, most-liked-Instagram-ever-making moments.)
Then in August 2016, Gomez dealt the blow no one expected: “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,” she wrote to Bieber after he accused Beliebers of not being true fans for attacking new fling Sofia Richie.
Bieber immediately fired back in the comments: “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love.” He unfollowed Gomez shortly after. And the war went on that morning.
Gomez would take some time off to focus on her health, re-emerging in November 2016. Two months later, she’d start dating The Weeknd for nearly 10 months (Bieber was petty about it in the beginning). But then they broke up and Jelena got back together one last time. They broke up in March 2018.
Bieber then started dating Hailey Baldwin again in June 2018. They got engaged in July, married legally in September 2018, and married again in their official religious wedding on September 30, 2019. And like that, the romantic story of Jelena ends.
So how did things change so drastically? There’s a lot to it. Here, a breakdown of all the Jelena drama since the pair’s final big breakup in 2014:
October 2014: Gomez and Bieber are on-off in fall 2014, but one of their last major sightings was in Paris. They came there together for fashion week. But then Bieber was spotted getting lunch with Kendall Jenner alone, amid tabloid rumors Jenner and Gomez were having a falling out over Jenner’s close relationship with Bieber. (Jenner, in 2015, would come out and say that she and Bieber never dated.)
Gomez suddenly leaves Paris alone after suggesting via a cryptic tweet that she and Bieber—who reportedly had just made it official again weeks before—are done.
Bieber hints, a year later in an interview with i-d magazine, his cheating on her may have been a factor:
We were working out how to be in a relationship, how to be ourselves, who we were, in the middle of having people judge our relationship through the media. I think that really messed my head up too. Because then, it’s like trust and all this other stuff that starts messing with your mind. You’re on the road. And there are beautiful women on the road. And you’re just getting yourself into trouble...
November 2014: Gomez releases “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” a song about Bieber. The video’s emotional beginning voiceover hints at the pain she went through being on-off with him:
When I was on stage and I was thinking of…I know him though, and I know that I know his heart, and I know what he wouldn’t do to hurt me. But I didn’t realize that I’m feeling so confident and feeling so great about myself and then it [can] just be completely shattered by one thing. By something so stupid. But then you make me feel crazy, you make me feel like it’s my fault. I was in pain.
Gomez tells Ryan Seacrest that wasn’t scripted: “They taped the mic underneath the table when I was shooting the video. And I had shot the video over a year ago. So, in that state—where I was in that place emotionally—I went in and I went into the room by myself, and I looked at the actual mirror in the music video, and I had a conversation [with] myself to every question I had in my mind in that moment: ‘Wow, this feeling changes everything and you can’t help it.'”
Gomez said Bieber “has heard [the song] and he has seen the video, and it’s something that I feel like girls need to hear, and it’s something I’m willing to share with people.”
Days later, Bieber posts what seems to be a reply to the video on his Instagram:
Gomez, meanwhile, posts a pic of the leading guy in her video. Bieber unfollows her on Instagram shortly after.
In May 2016, Gomez will reveal she can’t perform that song anymore. “I don’t want to,” she’ll tell Entertainment Weekly. “It’s like when you smell a scent and it takes you back to a place that maybe wasn’t the best place. That stuff is a little bit more difficult.”
January 2015: Gomez dates Zedd briefly, after collaborating with him on their track “I Want You to Know.” They never go public about their relationship at the time (though they tweet and Instagram about each other and were spotted hand-holding), but Gomez confirms they dated later, in June 2015. “I adore Anton [Zedd] a lot and I definitely had a thing with him, which was nice.”
February 2015: Bieber drops “Where Are Ü Now,” the first of his Purpose tracks seemingly about Gomez. The music video comes out months later in June. Fans find Gomez’s name in the graffiti.
May 2015: Bieber and Gomez attend the Met Gala separately. Gomez’s friend Vanessa Hudgens later says she was helping keep Gomez away from Bieber. “We didn’t really try to avoid him or anything. I mean, no one really wants to see your ex boyfriend…”
Bieber, while leaving the Met Gala, is caught on camera by TMZ. “Hey, Selena looked gorgeous at the Met Ball!” he tells them.
Gomez and Bieber are Snapchatted at dinner together with friends later that month, sparking reconciliation rumors.
August 2015: Gomez makes her first appeal for people to get over her and Bieber.
“It’s difficult for people to separate us,” she tells The Sunday Times Style magazine. “The Internet wants to freeze this moment in time and constantly repeat it.”
She defends her actions during that relationship: “I didn’t think I was doing anything bad by falling in love. There’s such an emphasis on people being the perfect thing and then destroying them because it’s good press. Throw in the fact that you’re a teenager—it makes it more difficult.”
September 2015: Gomez and Bieber, about to drop new albums and both single, start doing press for them. They talk a lot about each other.
Gomez, who covers ELLE‘s October issue, says she hasn’t ruled out getting back together with Bieber. When they got dinner with friends in May, they were “genuinely” friends. “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.” She talks about taking control of her image and finding her own identity, outside of any relationship.
Bieber covers Complex magazine and reveals he and Gomez were much more serious than people knew. He brings back the quote he Instagrammed in November 2014, right after they broke up: “Love is a choice.”
I moved in with my girlfriend when I was 18. Started my own life with her. It was a marriage kind of thing. Living with a girl, it was just too much at that age. But we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other. But when it’s like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you. Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin’ mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out.
Bieber, who has debuted a new, more sensitive, humble, and likable side to him during his public apology tour that summer, is applauded by Gomez. “While people were writing that I was stupid for being in it, this is what I always saw in him. I’m like, duh!” she tells The New York Times.
October 2015: Gomez’s new album Revival comes out. Bieber will reveal in November he didn’t listen to it then—and still hasn’t two months later, either. “I know I had a lot of play in that one. I don’t know what she’s saying about me.”
A new duet featuring Gomez and Bieber leaks and is promptly removed, sparking reconciliation rumors. It’s reported later it was recorded years before, while they were dating.
Bieber goes on vacation in Bora Bora with model Jayde Pierce. Full frontal naked photos of him leak, starting a “What Do You Peen” Internet scandal.
November 2015: Purpose comes out. Bieber confirms to Ellen DeGeneres that three of the songs are officially about Gomez (“Sorry”, “What Do You Mean?”, and “Mark My Words”).
This is the month in interviews that Bieber makes it abundantly clear he’s not over Gomez.
“[She] is someone I love dearly,” he tells Access Hollywood. “I’m never going to stop loving her. I’m never going to stop checking in on her. I don’t think if you end a relationship, you should end that, unless it was super toxic and you guys were hurting each other physically or mentally. We always respected each other and we still respect each other.”
He tells DeGeneres maybe they’d get back together. “I mean we have a lot of history together so I’m sure—I mean, it possibly could happen. But I think we’re both just on our own journeys of just figuring ourselves out and I think maybe once we figure ourselves out we can come together and make an awesome duo or you know, she’ll find someone awesome; I’ll find someone awesome. I just want her to be happy, honestly.”
But the Jelena reconciliation rumor really sparked at the end of the month. Bieber is filmed serenading Gomez with “My Girl” out in Beverly Hills. They’re photographed walking together after. Days later, Gomez attends his AMA Awards after party.
December 2015: Bieber posts the first of his “crazy throwback” photos of Gomez, sending the Internet (and Drake) into a frenzy.
He posts a second one, five days later:
Gomez performs during the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which airs December 8. Outlets speculate she’s dating One Direction’s Niall Horan after they’re photographed together. During the broadcast of it, she makes it clear who she prefers—Horan to Bieber—with one meme like and one comment.
Days later, she publicly friendzones Horan. When asked whether she’s dating him, she says “Oh my god! No. I love him, I always have. He’s amazing.”
Bieber, meanwhile, is reported to be hooking up with Kourtney Kardashian. They both never really confirm or deny that very convincingly.
January 2015: Bieber spends his New Year’s Eve on vacation with new fling Hailey Baldwin and makes it Insta official. Gomez spends her New Year’s with rumored boyfriend Samuel Krost and friends. They’re spotted holding hands out in January.
Gomez attempts to give the last word on Bieber, tired of discussing him in interviews about her music and finding herself outside of him. “Well, I am sorry, first of all,” Gomez said of the “My Girl” reunion buzz to Rolling Stone. “And honestly, what I would love to be printed is that I am so beyond done with talking about that, and him.”
Bieber echoes that, in a December interview that comes out Jan. 5: “I just want her to be happy. I love [Selena]. We’re friends still. We needed time to grow for ourselves and we were like, ‘Maybe we’ll come back together in the future,’ and then it ended up being so long and we just grew apart and we’re not the same people anymore.”
February 2016: Gomez tries again to end the Jelena discussion, explaining the toll the tabloid rumors had taken on her to W magazine: “At first I didn’t care. To me it was: I’m 18, I have a boyfriend, we look cute together, we like that. Then I got my heart broken and I cared. Because people had no idea what was going on, but everywhere it was a million different things.”
Then she says it again: It’s over. “I’m so exhausted. I honestly am so done. I care about his health and well-being. But I can’t do it anymore.”
Bieber, meanwhile, covers GQ magazine. He talks about how he is trying to erase the tattoo he has of Gomez.
March 2016: Baldwin and Bieber are reported to have ended their romance and are just close friends. Bieber kicks off his Purpose world tour—and, in the hopes of convincing Gomez to come watch one of his Los Angeles shows, he posts another throwback of them. It becomes Instagram’s most liked photo.
Gomez likes it then. She responds to his caption “Feels” with “Perfect.”
Three days later, Gomez attends Bieber’s Purpose tour.
E! News reports he was going to rent out Staples Center after—where the concert was—to show Titanic to her and recreate one of their more viral, heyday dates. That doesn’t happen. He reportedly just takes her home instead. Sources tell TMZ they’re really just friends for now, but there’s unresolved feelings. Things could change once their tours end.
Bieber ends the month by liking a photo of Gomez clad in a bikini on a piano.
May 2016: Gomez begins her Revival tour in Las Vegas. Fans speculate Bieber may have left her a voicemail her opening night from New York City when footage comes out of him wishing someone luck on the phone.
Gomez debuts “Feel Me,” on stage, a song that seems to be about “crazy throwback” Bieber.
“So one night, I was really irritated and I wrote this whole song,” she tells the crowd during her second show, before singing the lyrics “I won’t be caught up in the middle/through your highs and your lows/Baby, long as you’re not with me/you’ll always be alone.”
During her Fresno, California show May 8, she crumbles a fan’s sign that says “Marry Justin Please”.
Gomez tells Marie Claire that the Bieber ex label makes her feel defeated. “I would try to promote something that I loved, and the entire interview would be about my personal life. I would leave a room feeling defeated, feeling embarrassed, but I would always make sure to put that smile on my face because I wasn’t going to let them get to me.” She maintains she’s single.
Gomez momentarily has a scandal when she and her friend/Bieber’s rival Orlando Bloom (then and now Katy Perry’s partner) are spotted being handsy at her Las Vegas opening night after party. She and Perry shut the tabloid rumors down:
June 2016: Bieber re-follows Gomez on Instagram. Jelena fans celebrate.
July 2016: Gomez posts a Snapchat of herself singing “Let Me Love You,” a new Bieber-DJ Snake track, sparking rumors it’ll be a duet. Snake confirms Gomez recorded her own version. A Bieber-only one is released.
Pattie Mallette, Bieber’s mother, wishes Gomez a happy birthday on Twitter to everyone’s surprise and gives Jelena fans hope with one liked tweet:
Gomez repeats again in a new interview, never naming names, that Bieber has hurt her career. “You want to do what you love, but all this other stuff overshadows it. So it makes it a little harder for people to take me seriously.”
Bieber goes on vacation in Hawaii, where more nude photos of him are released alongside a bunch of blonde models. He comes home and starts dating with 17-year-old Sofia Richie very publicly. He takes her with him to Tokyo, fills his Instagram with pictures of her. Fans hate on her, he strikes back, and then Gomez roasts him.
Then he hits her right back:
Gomez doesn’t directly respond but makes it clear she’s no fan of his and Richie’s relationship.
Bieber, in response to all of it, unfollows Gomez on Instagram again. That night, he deletes his account.
Gomez goes on Snapchat and issues a statement saying she regrets commenting on Bieber’s Instagram: “What I said was selfish and pointless.”
September 2016: It’s been a month since the Jelena Instagram blowout—and Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are reportedly not talking.
A source tells Us Weekly that Gomez “changed her phone number. She told everyone not to give it to him.” After the entire thing, “Selena lost it. She can be fragile emotionally and Justin is a major factor.”
Gomez canceled the rest of her tour at the end of August to focus on her mental health (particularly her anxiety and depression that are side effects of lupus). Bieber, who deleted his Instagram at the end of their spat, remained off the platform and seemingly with Sofia Richie, who told Billboard that she and Bieber had a “special relationship.”
Gomez was silent on social media after her final Bieber fight on Snapchat.
January 2017: Gomez starts publicly dating The Weeknd. TMZ reports shortly after that Bieber thinks Gomez is just using The Weeknd for publicity. Bieber then make his first petty remark about The Weeknd. He tells the paparazzi when asked whether he listens to The Weeknd’s music, “Hell no, that shit is whack.”
February 2017: Gomez briefly likes and then unlikes a Jelena throwback collage, freaking out Jelena fans on Instagram:
Later that month, Bieber’s second petty move comes on an Instagram Live story when he mocks The Weeknd’s music again. The Weeknd then releases a song with Nav, “Some Way” days later. Some of the lyrics appear to be pointed remarks to the Biebs:
I think your girl, think your girl, fell in love with me
She say my f–k and my tongue game a remedy
Oh yeah, yeah, I just hit a lick and I know you feelin’ some way
(nah, nah nah nah, nah nah nah)
I just took that chick, and I know you feelin’ some way, oh yeah
She just want a n–a like me, you feelin’ some way, way, way, yeah
She just want a n–a like me, I play no games
June 2017: Gomez, who’s in an all-out, very public relationship with The Weeknd at this point, pays Bieber a compliment during a Sirius XM radio interview. “It was beautiful,” she said of the One Love Manchester show that Bieber played. “I thought everyone did such a beautiful job. It was so gorgeous. I love how she [Ariana] ended it. I thought Justin did great. It was really beautiful.”
September 2017: Gomez’s then-assistant Theresa Mingus likes a comment that says Jelena is “NEVEERRRR” going to happen again.
She also posts an Instagram Story about how real and authentic The Weeknd and Gomez’s love is:
October 2017: Gomez and Bieber start hanging out again as friends, TMZ reports. Paparazzi photograph Gomez walking into her Studio City home 10 minutes after Bieber arrived there in his car (TMZ has the photos) one night; he was there with mutual friends.
Multiple sources tell TMZ that Bieber and Gomez reconnected around the time Gomez announced she had gotten a kidney transplant in September. Days later, Gomez and Bieber are photographed having breakfast together, going to church, hanging at Bieber’s Los Angeles house. Bieber’s car is photographed that night, arriving at Gomez’s. He leaves the next morning.
Gomez and The Weeknd’s breakup is reported by E!, Us Weekly, and People (along with the fact it happened before Gomez hung with Bieber during that all-day marathon.)
A source insists to E!, meanwhile, that Gomez and Bieber are just friends, but that could be temporary. “It’s not romantic right now but their connection is so strong that it could change at any moment.”
November 2017: Apparently, things did shift between the two as Gomez is seen watching Bieber play hockey not once, but twice. They even display PDA for onlookers (and TMZ) declaring Jelena 3.0 officially a go!
December 2017: Gomez and her mother, Mandy Teefey no longer follow each other.
A TMZ report claims that Teefey was voluntarily hospitalized and released the same day after a “heated conversation” with Gomez about Bieber. Gomez reportedly told her mom about attending couples’ therapy with Bieber and her mom “flipped…realizing the relationship was going to be more long-term than she thought.”
However, a People source said, “It’s been a stressful time for Mandy and she made the decision herself to go to the hospital and make sure everything was okay. This wasn’t just about Justin.”
TMZ and People both reported that Gomez’s family is not a fan of Bieber . “Selena’s family is still not happy about her seeing Justin. Selena doesn’t bring Justin to any family events. Selena is spending Christmas with her family. As of now, Justin is not invited.”
By February, mother and daughter had seemingly made peace.
January 2018: People and E! reported that Bieber crashed a New Year’s trip of Gomez’s in Cabo. A source told E! that despite the couple’s busy schedules, they “are still going strong. Everything is so different this time around.”
March 2018: In a since-deleted Instagram post, Gomez confirms her relationship with Bieber by wishing him a happy birthday on the platform. “March 1, 1994 someone I know that happens to be super cool was born. Boom,” she writes.
Just a week later multiple sources tell E! that Jelena was “on a break” once more. “They were having a lot of little disagreements recently and one fight in particular blew up and caused them to decide to ‘break up,’ however, they’ve been in contact the entire time and their feelings for each other have not changed,” a source clarified. “They will absolutely get back together and they are not over, but they both need some time away from each other.”
Shortly after conflicting reports about what this “break” meant for the pair, Bieber is spotted with fantastically-named Sports Illustrated model Baskin Champion. E! promptly reports that Jelena’s break is in fact a split and that Champion has reportedly met Bieber’s friend group.
April 2018: Gomez and Bieber attend church on the same night—separately. Sources emphasized that while the two “are still very close,” and overall civil, there isn’t room for a serious relationship between them.
May 2018: E! reports that Gomez has “completely moved on” from Bieber and is “not interested in getting back together with him anytime soon. She respects him as a person but has decided she is much happier doing her own thing. Selena rarely even talks about Justin anymore, and is fully open to dating.”
June 2018: Bieber attends a Miami church conference with his ex Hailey Baldwin. The two start dating after.
July 2018: News breaks that Bieber proposed to Baldwin after reconciling weeks earlier. Gomez’s friend Theresa Mingus shares a video of the singer boating in a bikini in New York, clearly unbothered by the developments.
Nearly every major outlet reports on Gomez’s mindset post-engagement. An insider told People, “They haven’t spoken in months. She hasn’t been talking about him since they ended things again earlier this year. It was never a healthy situation for Selena and Justin.” The source added, “Their relationship was always very complex and complicated. It was just too much baggage. It was like their past tainted everything. It wasn’t possible for them to have a future.”
September 2018: A couple of months later, Gomez spoke to ELLE about lessons she’d learned from her twenties and new music. She also announced a break from social media, writing on Instagram, “As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given. Kindness and encouragement only for a bit! Just remember- negative comments can hurt anybody’s feelings. Obvi.”
October 2018: After news breaks of Gomez’s hospitalizations for low white blood cell count and her decision to seek treatment for her mental health, photos of Bieber crying alongside Baldwin emerge. Us Weekly reports the next day that Bieber “doesn’t feel whole,” despite marrying Baldwin a month earlier and that he “still loves Selena a lot, but as a friend and is praying for her.”
An Us Weekly source goes further, saying, “For Justin, there’s always going to be a soft spot in his heart for Selena. Because you don’t just stop loving someone and caring about someone, especially when they’re going through a difficult time like she is, but he’s still totally infatuated with Hailey and he’s made Hailey his priority.”
November 2018: The following month, Baldwin unintentionally follows and then unfollows a Selena Gomez fan account, making fans go wild.
March 2019: Seemingly out of nowhere, Bieber responds to a troll who accuses Bieber of marrying Baldwin to get back at Gomez. His lengthy comment reads:
“Ur immature the fact that you have an account dedicated to dissing my wife and I is absolutely absurd why would I dedicate my whole life to someone in marriage to get back and [sic] my ex, anyone who believes this is mean spirited or 10 years old or younger because a logical person doesn’t talk or think this way u should be ashamed of yourself really. I absolutely loved and love Selena she will always hold a place in my heart, but I am head over heels in love with my wife and she is absolutely the BEST THING that has ever happened to me period. The fact that you want to spend your day dedicating yourself to hate says a lot about you, and if this was some sick ploy to get my attention U to get are wrong on so many levels I’ve seen multiple people say things like this and will never respond again to a message like this because I don’t like to even give it my energy but this is a reply to all immature sick people who send Hailey hurtful messages like ” he always goes back to Selena” or “Selena is better for him” YOU HAVE NO IDEA MY LIFE AND WHATs good for me. Hailey is my Bride period if you don’t like that or support that that means you don’t support me and if you don’t support me your not a fan nor a good person.”
April 2019: Baldwin also voiced her thoughts on persistent Jelena fans writing, then deleting, on her Instagram Stories, “You little internet kiddos need to learn how to move on for real. We’re adults that have better things to do than waste time explaining something just so you can stop your delusional fantasies. I’m not gonna sit here and let obsessive strangers try to tell me about my own husband, you wanna talk about somebodies [sic] husband then get ur own. G’night!!”
June 2019: Gomez quietly deletes her final remaining trace of Bieber on her Instagram, her birthday post to him from the year before.
September 2019: Just as quietly, Baldwin likes a photo of Gomez and her pals on Instagram, hinting at possible civility amongst the three parties ahead of her second wedding to Bieber.