Selena Gomez provides the back story on her relationship with Justin Bieber and how they went from a “cute” teenage couple to being “so done” with the troubled singer. It’s all part of her quest to clear up long-standing issues about her image.
Gomez and Bieber were a darling media couple when they started dating in 2010. They became a tabloid staple and the subject of endless speculation about their relationship.
“At first I didn’t care. To me it was: I’m 18, I have a boyfriend, we look cute together, we like that,” she tells W magazine in a new interview. “Then I got my heart broken and I cared.”
The endless tabloid falsehoods linking her with Bieber at almost every turn proved to be too much for her.
“Because people had no idea what was going on, but everywhere it was a million different things,” she says “I was kind of in a corner, banging my head against the wall. I didn’t know where to go.”
They reportedly broke up for good in 2013. By then, Selena was 21 and ready to chart her own course. “I’m so exhausted. I honestly am so done,” she says. “I care about his health and well-being. But I can’t do it anymore.”
As part of her declaration of independence, Gomez, in April of that year, fired her mother and stepfather as her managers. The move was billed as “purely professional” and had nothing to do with her mother’s dislike of Bieber, despite rabid speculation.
Selena’s parents started managing her career when she broke into show business as a child star. She first appeared in 2002 on the childrens’ show “Barney & Friends.” Demi Lovato was one of her cast mates.
She left the show in 2004 when she became too old for the role. She’d landed cameo role in the 2003 film “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” and scored another part in the 2005 made-for-television film “Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.”
She moved to Disney the following year, and land a recurring role Miley Cyrus’s Disney series “Hannah Montana.” She finally broke out when she landed her own series “Wizards of Waverly Place.”
Tabloids reported that Selena and Miley were feuding because of the shared backgrounds, yet different styles. But Gomez now says they reports were false.
“We never feuded. We both liked the same guy when we were 16. It was just a Hilary Duff–Lindsay Lohan thing: ‘Oh, my God, we like the same boy!’ We are now completely settled in our own lives,” she says.
Disney has a habit of pushing their teen stars out of the nest when they turned 18. Both Selena and Miley hit that point around the same time. For Selena it was a key moment in her life.
“Once Disney was over, I was like: Oh, sh*t. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I had to learn to be myself,” she says.
It’s a well worn road that many ex-Disney stars have been forced to take–with varying degrees of success–from Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff to her own contemporaries, Miley, Demi and herself.
“Every single girl has done it completely differently,” she says. “Obviously, [Miley] wouldn’t want to be doing what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t want to be doing what she’s doing. But I’m a fan of her music — I don’t know if she’d say that about me.”
Since taking control of her own career–she signed with the WME and Brillstein companies to manage her career–her image has changed dramatically. She’s sexier and far more mature.
But she’s still struggling to control her image on social media.
“I’m utilizing social media right now because of my age and because, to be honest, everybody else in the world was talking about me, so I wanted a f*cking say,” she says.
“I honestly had to, because I didn’t really expect my life to be as public as it was. Is this going to destroy me or make me? I still have to make that choice on a daily basis. In a few years, I’ll give all of it up.”
Last year, Gomez ended her relationship with Disney’s Hollywood Records and signed a record deal with Interscope Records, home to a number of top pop and hip-hop artists. She released her second studio album Revival, last October.
She’s also appearing in three films this year, “The Fundamentals of Caring,” the risque “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “In Dubious Battle.”