Selena vs. Hailey: A brief history of their alleged feud
By Maddie Dean
Two women, both alike in dignity, in fair LA, where we lay our scene, have at last put to rest their years long “beef”. That’s right. Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber broke the internet recently when images emerged of their cozy greeting at the Academy Museum Gala. I am highly doubtful that anyone reading this article will need to be informed of the significance of this. But… lest you have been living under a rock for the past five years, allow me to elaborate.
Let’s go back to December 2010. The iPhone 4 had just been released. Despicable Me and Tangled were taking the world by storm. “Like a G6” and “Firework” topped the charts. It was a simple time. A better time.
I personally can’t remember being more content. Fridays were a particularly special day. I’d come home from school, play a bit of Nintendo Dogs on my DS (it was pink with rhinestones on it), before tuning in to Disney Channel. For, of course, the latest episode of Wizards of Waverly Place would have just come out. To say I was a Selena Gomez fan is an understatement. I lived and breathed SG. I had posters of her in my room. I rewatched Another Cinderella Story a million times. I even kept a picture of her in my pencil case (yes, I do think I was actually in love).
You can imagine, therefore, how aghast I was when news emerged that Selena had been spotted with Justin Bieber getting pancakes at IHOP. I was somewhat consoled when Selena told Us Weekly that “It was pancakes! Oh my gosh!” and that Bieber was, “one of my best friends… It was just pancakes!”
Reader, it was not just pancakes. Only a month later were they pictured kissing in the Caribbean, before making it official at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in February. So began a decade of media speculation and obsession with their “tumultuous” relationship. And tumultuous it was. There were ups – Justin (gasp!) surprised Selena with a private dinner and Titanic screening in the Staples Center – and there were downs – Justin allegedly got in a fist fight with Orlando Bloom after Bloom was spotted with Selena. They would remain on and off for seven years until 2018.
All this while, they built a steady base of “Jelena” shippers. The most notable of them? None other than Mrs. Bieber herself. Yes, Hailey Bieber (then Baldwin) documented her love of the couple more than once on twitter. #word
Hailey and Justin first started dating in 2016, after a Jelena fallout. This marked the beginning of antagonism towards Hailey from the cultish Jelena stans. Such antagonism was only amplified when Justin said to GQ magazine: “What if Hailey ends up being the girl I’m gonna marry, right? If I rush into anything, if I damage her, then it’s always gonna be damaged.”
But alas, their romance was at the time short-lived, and Jelena reunited the following October.
And while I had initially despised the Jelena pairing, I’d warmed to them at this point. Perhaps it was because my mother was and continues to be a die-hard Justin fan. She literally refers to him as a “good Christian boy”, and blasts Purpose and Changes in the car all the time (I don’t think she understands the subtext of his lyrics). So I was once again invested, avidly swiping through all the pics on the Daily Mail and The Rundown on Snapchat.
They did of course break it off for good in March 2018, and Justin moved on very quickly, hooking up with Hailey and marrying her just a few months later in September. For context, Hailey attended the Met Gala in May with then boyfriend Shawn Mendes, so they moved fast. The outrage in the “Selenator” community was palpable. Hailey’s comments were flooded with hate. YouTube videos ridiculing her were published. She even shut down her Twitter account and turned off her Instagram comments after a ravage of online abuse.
Four years on, trolls continue to pit the two women against each other. When Hailey and Justin appeared at the Met Gala last September, they were met with cries of Selena’s name. After Selena posted a Tiktok doing skincare, people accused her of mocking Hailey’s plug of her skincare line Rhode. Essentially, the trolling had reached a ridiculous extent. Imagine if four years into your marriage, strangers online were still comparing you to your husband’s ex from when he was 16. Hailey recently addressed this on the Call Her Daddy podcast, venting her frustration at the hate and insisting that “It’s all respect, it’s all love” between her and Gomez.
Which brings me to these pictures. In a display of unity to shut down haters, the two women embraced and smiled in pictures together. And aren’t they just stunning.
I think this comment on Hailey’s post most effectively articulates the impact of these pictures:
The post has since accumulated nearly 1,400,000 likes and made headlines across all the tabloids. From the mass media coverage, you would have thought world peace had been solved.
But this whole saga reveals something more damning about the entertainment industry in general. For even with no public antagonism between the pair, so much has been made of their alleged feud. What’s more, Justin Bieber, the man at the center of this, has remained largely unaffected by hate.
There is clearly an appetite for pitting women against each other.
Even with the release of Selena’s new documentary My Mind and Me, which tracks her personal struggles with lupus and bipolar disorder diagnoses, these important topics have been overshadowed by the drama of her relationships with “bad friend” Raquelle and Francia Raisa, who famously donated her kidney to Gomez in 2017.
As someone who grew up aspiring for friendships resembling Alex Russo and Harper’s or Rosie and Carter’s (Wizards and PPI for life), I hope we can nurture our sororal bonds rather than seek to destroy them. Our energy would certainly be better spent looking at how women have empowered each other. For starters, we could spend a little more time focusing on Selena’s friendship with Taylor Swift, instead of the people she shares an ex with.