From Disney Channel sensation to award-winning pop star, Selena Gomez is one of the world's most celebrated celebrities. In honor of her 28th birthday on July 22, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at Selena's life and career in photos. Keep reading for her photo flashback…
Selena Gomez was born on July 22, 1992, in Grand Prairie, Texas to Amanda Dawn "Mandy" Cornett, who was just 16 at the time, and Ricardo Joel Gomez. Mandy, who split from her husband when their daughter was 5, briefly dabbled in acting and brought Selena along to a rehearsal. "On the way home, [6-year-old Selena] was quiet, and then she goes, 'You know, Mom, that might be funnier if you did it this way.' And I thought, 'Oh, no. She's going to be an actor,'" Mandy told The New York Times. Selena (seen here at a Disney movie premiere in 2007) earned her first on-screen credit playing Gianna on "Barney & Friends" in 2002 and continued in the role until 2004. While on the children's series, she befriended co-star Demi Lovato.
2007 was a pivotal year for the young star: Selena Gomez landed the starring role on the Disney Channel Original series "Wizards of Waverly Place." The show, which ran from Oct. 12, 2007, to Jan. 6, 2012, was about three teenage wizards who live with their family in New York City. Selena appeared alongside David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, David DeLuise and Maria Canals-Barrera.
Oh, young love! In 2008, Selena Gomez was romantically linked to fellow Disney star Nick Jonas (right, in February 2008). She even appeared in the Jonas Brothers' "Burnin' Up" music video that same year! But after a few months of dating, their flame fizzled out in 2009.
In September 2008, Selena Gomez attended the premiere of her movie "Another Cinderella Story" in Los Angeles. In the modern retelling of the classic tale, she starred as aspiring dancer and high schooler senior Mary Santiago.
June 26, 2009, marked the release of "Princess Protection Program," a Disney Channel film starring Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. The TV flick about two teens from disparate worlds who become best friends went on to win the 2009 Teen Choice Award for "choice summer movie."
In August 2009 at just 17, Selena Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador! She's pictured here at the UNICEF Ball honoring film producer Jerry Weintraub in December that year.
Success! At the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 2009, "Wizards of Waverly Place" took home the prize for outstanding children's program. This wouldn't be the last time the cast would accept the honor, however: Selena Gomez and her co-stars would go on to win in the same category in 2010 and 2012.
The singer-actress formed the pop-rock band Selena Gomez & the Scene in 2008 and the group released their debut album, "Kiss & Tell," in 2009. The album, which included singles "Naturally" and "Falling Down," marked Selena's first foray as a recording artist. "Kiss & Tell" debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by the RIAA in March 2010. Selena is pictured here at the album's release party on Sept. 29, 2009.
Happy New Year! Selena Gomez took the stage during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" in 2009 to perform "Naturally," the second single off Selena Gomez & the Scene's debut album, "Kiss & Tell." That night, she was also on stage for Justin Bieber's performance of "One Less Lonely Girl," an adorable moment that only fueled romance rumors about the two teen stars.
On July 23, 2010, Selena Gomez's film "Ramona and Beezus" hit theaters. In the flick, she played big sister Beezus to mischievous youngster Ramona (Joey King). The family-friendly film earned $27.3 million at the box office on a $15 million budget.
Selena Gomez & the Scene released their second studio album, "A Year Without Rain," on Sept. 17, 2010. The album, which incorporated dance and electro-pop elements, was certified gold by the RIAA in January 2011. Selena is pictured here promoting the record in Madrid in October 2010.
Actress, singer and fashion designer?! From 2010 to 2014, Selena Gomez had a fashion label called Dream Out Loud. She's seen here discussing the brand in New York City in July 2013.
July 1, 2011, marked the release of the romantic comedy "Monte Carlo," in which Selena Gomez starred alongside Katie Cassidy and Leighton Meester. The film followed three friends who embark on trip to Europe and end up pretending to be rich socialites. It also featured the track "Who Says" by Selena Gomez & the Scene. "Monte Carlo" earned $39.7 million worldwide on a $20 million budget.
Love is in the air! 2011 marked the official start of what would be a roller coaster romance between Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber — otherwise known as Jelena. The smitten teenage stars are pictured here making their red carpet debut as a couple at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party on Feb. 27, 2011, a few months after it's believed they started dating.
And the romance continues! In addition to attending parties and awards shows together, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber also sat courtside at NBA games. They're seen here at the San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers game at L.A.'s Staples Center on April 17, 2012.
Selena Gomez attended a children's charity event in June 2012 with mom Mandy Teefey and stepdad Brian Teefey, who'd managed her career for years. But two years later in 2014 during a difficult time in her life, Selena fired her parents and signed with powerful Hollywood manager Aleen Keshishian, whose clients include Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom and more A-listers. Reports have since confirmed that any lingering awkwardness between Selena and her ex-momager has since been resolved.
The Teen Choice Awards on July 22, 2012, marked Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber's last official appearance as a couple. In November 2012, the teen stars split reportedly due to trust issues. This wouldn't be the last time they sent the rumor mill into a frenzy — Jelena would become known for their complicated on-again, off-again antics.
Selena Gomez kicked off a successful film franchise with "Hotel Transylvania," which hit theaters in September 2012. The singer-actress — seen here at the first movie's Toronto International Film Festival premiere — voiced Count Dracula's vampire daughter, Mavis, in the animated comedy co-starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. Sequels were released in 2015 and 2018, a TV series launched in 2017, and a fourth movie is in the works for 2021.
In March 2013, Selena Gomez left her Disney image behind when she starred alongside James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine in the sexy, rowdy Harmony Korine crime drama "Spring Breakers." The film — which chronicled four teenage girls who vacation in Florida during their spring break, where they befriend a dangerous drug dealer — was the most mature project Selena had taken on at the time. "Spring Breakers" earned $31.7 million on a $5 million budget.
After releasing two albums with Selena Gomez & the Scene, the actress and pop star decided to launch a solo career. July 19, 2013, marked the debut of Selena's first solo album, "Stars Dance," which included hit singles "Come & Get It" and "Slow Down." This was her first album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. She's seen here performing "Come & Get It" during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.
In January 2014, Selena Gomez voluntarily checked into an Arizona rehab facility for two days. While it was initially unclear as to why she sought help — tabloids speculated it had to do with substance or alcohol abuse issues or her toxic romance with Justin Bieber — the pop star later revealed that a lupus diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy treatments were behind the decision. "I was diagnosed with lupus, and I've been through chemotherapy. That's what my break was really about. I could've had a stroke," she later told Billboard. In response to fans assuming she was dealing with drug abuse issues, Selena explained, "I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I'm in chemotherapy. You're a–holes.' I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again." The same month she sought help, Selena attended the Sundance Film Festival (she's seen here posing for a portrait at the annual event) to promote her indie film "Rudderless" co-starring Billy Crudup and William H. Macy.
In March 2014, two months after her two-day stay in rehab, Selena Gomez attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party and stunned in a floor-length Rodarte gown.
On Nov. 23, 2014, Selena Gomez took the stage during the 42nd Annual American Music Awards to perform her poignant single "The Heart Wants What It Wants." The song about ex-flame Justin Bieber includes a beginning voiceover in which Selena candidly speaks about the pain of their tumultuous romance: "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." In the track's video, she continued, "By something so stupid. But then you make me feel crazy, you make me feel like it's my fault. I was in pain." In May 2016, she revealed that she was no longer able to perform the song live. "I don't want to," she told 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."
Moving on! In January 2015, Selena Gomez briefly dated music producer Zedd after collaborating on the track "I Want You to Know." "I adore Anton [Zaslavski, aka Zedd] a lot and I definitely had a thing with him, which was nice," she told New Zealand radio show "The Edge Afternoons" in June 2015. They're seen here embracing after their performance of "I Want You to Know" at Z100's Jingle Ball in New York City in December 2015.
On Oct. 9, 2015, Selena Gomez debuted her second solo studio album, "Revival," which contained the singles "Good for You" featuring rapper A$AP Rocky, "Same Old Love," and "Hands to Myself." It was Selena's second album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. She's seen here performing during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York City on Dec. 8, 2015.
Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift attended the 58th Annual Grammy Awards together in February 2016. The women have enjoyed a strong and enduring friendship that dates back to when they were both dating members of Jonas Brothers in the late aughts (Selena was with Nick while Taylor was with Joe). "We clicked instantly and, man, that was my girl," Selena told WSJ. Magazine in 2020. Added Taylor: "I knew from when I met her I would always have her back. In my life, I have the ability to forgive people who have hurt me. But I don't know if I can forgive someone who hurts her."
In early 2016, Selena Gomez embarked on her "Revival" world tour (she's seen here on stage in Auburn Hills, Michigan, that June). However, it was cut short when she entered a rehab facility in Tennessee in the summer of 2016 to seek treatment for anxiety and depression. "As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus. I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," Selena said in a statement in September. "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."
Despite being a platinum-selling recording artist, Selena Gomez still made time to hone her talents as an actress! In 2016, she appeared in three films: "In Dubious Battle" (pictured), "The Fundamentals of Caring" and "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising."
At the 2016 American Music Awards, Selena Gomez made a surprise return to the spotlight to accept the award for favorite female pop/rock artist of the year. "In 2014, this stage was actually the first time that I was authentically 100% honest with you," she began her heartfelt speech. "I think it's safe to say that a lot of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not and I had to stop. Because I had everything, and I was absolutely broken. And I kept it together and I swore I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down." She went on to say, "I'm not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore."
Before getting back together with ex Justin Bieber for the final time, Selena Gomez dated singer-songwriter The Weeknd. The couple began dating in January 2017 and were an item for nearly 10 months. Four months into their romance, Selena and the Canadian hitmaker attended the 2017 Met Gala together.
On March 31, 2017, Netflix released the first season of the controversial series "13 Reasons Why," which Selena Gomez executive produced. It was criticized for glamorizing suicide, but Selena defended the show's graphic portrayal. "This is happening every day," she said on "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show." "Whether or not you wanted to see it, that's what's happening." She's seen here with the stars of the first season, Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford, at the "13 Reasons Why" premiere.
In the summer of 2017, Selena Gomez underwent a kidney transplant due to complications of lupus. Her close friend, actress Francia Raisa, was her donor. "So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health," she wrote alongside this photo she shared on Instagram that September. "I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren't words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis."
During the 2017 American Music Awards, a blonde Selena Gomez took the stage to perform the track "Wolves," which she collaborated on with music producer Marshmello. The song dropped on Oct. 25, 2017, and has been certified platinum in 15 countries.
In late 2016, Selena Gomez inked a $10 million deal with Coach. She's pictured here at the fashion brand's London concept store in December 2017 celebrating her limited edition Selena Grace handbag collection.
In November 2017, Selena Gomez attended the Billboard Women in Music event, where she was honored with the woman of the year award. "With my music, I've really been able to illustrate the things I want," she said during an emotional speech. "I've never felt this proud to be a woman in the industry than I do today. And that's because I actually feel comfortable with every single woman that's encouraged me."
On May 7, 2018, Selena Gomez again attended fashion's biggest night — the Met Gala! She opted for a stunning, sheer gown by Coach for the evening's "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" theme.
In June 2019, Selena Gomez appeared in the Jim Jarmusch zombie horror flick "The Dead Don't Die." The film, which focuses on a suburban town's police force as deputies try to navigate a zombie apocalypse, boasted a star-studded ensemble cast including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi. The movie receiving mixed reviews and earned $14.9 million at the box office.
Selena Gomez is seen here in October 2019 at a screening of Netflix's "Living Undocumented," which she executive produced. The docuseries chronicled the experiences of undocumented immigrant families in the United States. "I don't claim to be an expert. I'm not a politician, I'm not a doctor, and I don't work in the system at all. I understand it's flawed and that we need rules and regulations, but we also have to remember that our country was formed by people who came here from other countries," she wrote of the immigration crisis for Time magazine. "It's time to listen to the people whose lives are being directly affected by immigration policies. It's time to get to know the individuals whose complex stories have been reduced to basic headlines."
Selena Gomez is very close with half-sister Gracie Teefey — mom Mandy's daughter with second husband Brian Teefey. They wore matching looks to the premiere of "Frozen II" at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Nov. 7, 2019.
At the American Music Awards held on Nov. 24, 2019, Selena Gomez performed her emotional ballad "Lose You to Love Me," which reports confirmed was inspired by her on-again, off-again toxic relationship with Justin Bieber, then dove into the upbeat track "Look at Her Now," complete with an outfit change, colorful lights and backup dancers.
Jan. 10, 2020, marked the release of Selena Gomez's third solo album, "Rare." The pop album, which included singles "Lose You to Love Me," "Look at Her Now," "Rare" and "Boyfriend," debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart — Selena's third effort to do so. "Rare" was praised by music critics as being Selena's best album to date, with Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone calling it "an act of divine ruthlessness, full of dance-y, mid-tempo clarity." Selena is seen here during the "Rare" iHeartRadio album release party on Jan. 9, 2020.
Selena Gomez voiced Betsey, an amicable Giraffe, in "Dolittle," which hit theaters on Jan. 17, 2020. Unfortunately, the family-adventure flick, which starred Robert Downey Jr. as the titular character with a unique ability to communicate with animals, was a commercial failure that grossed just $225.9 million on a $175 million budget and failed to break even. But just a few weeks later, the pop star announced an exciting new project: After two years of planning, she would be launching her own makeup brand, Rare Beauty, in Sephora stores in the summer of 2020.