Selena Gomez turns 30: How she survived child stardom, illness, heartbreak, and came out on top


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Selena Gomez turned 30 years old Friday and says she is excited about getting older.

“I love growing up,” she told People magazine. “When I was younger, I was scared of it, and I thought by now my life would look so different. But now I’m like, ‘Wow, this is not what I ever expected, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.’ I’ve stopped caring about what people have to say, and that’s been wonderful.”

In her 30 years, Gomez has experienced many ups and downs regarding her health, career and romantic life, but she puts a positive spin on it all.

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Disney Starlet

Selena Gomez starred on “Wizards of Waverly Place” on Disney Channel for four seasons from 2007 to 2012.
(Photo by Adam Rose/Disney Channel via Getty Images)

Gomez got her start as a child actor on “Barney and Friends” then became a household name while starring on the Disney Channel show “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Selena played Alex Russo, a wizard in training living in New York City and trying to balance magic lessons with typical teenage girl problems.

She starred on the show for four seasons from 2007 to 2012, but was on Disney Channel in smaller roles before then. Gomez filmed two pilots for spin-offs of popular shows “Lizzie McGuire” and “Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” but neither one was picked up.

She appeared in one episode of “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” as Cody’s girlfriend Gwen and had a recurring role on “Hannah Montana” as Hannah’s musical rival.

In addition to appearing in a few “Wizards of Waverly Place” movies on the channel, Gomez also starred in “Princess Protection Program” with her best friend at the time, Demi Lovato. 

Public Split from Justin Bieber

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber started dating in 2010 and were an on again off again couple until they broke up for the last time in 2018.

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber started dating in 2010 and were an on again off again couple until they broke up for the last time in 2018.
(Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

When Gomez and Justin Bieber were first spotted on a date in 2010, fans were overjoyed. The couple dated on and off from 2010 to 2018. They broke up for the first time in 2012 but got back together shortly after.

After their second breakup in 2014, Bieber began dating Hailey Baldwin, who he went on to marry in 2018, and Gomez started dating The Weeknd. However, fans never lost hope that the two would find their way back to each other.

During their breakups, both Gomez and Bieber released songs about their failed romance, most notably Bieber’s song “Love Yourself,” which was released in 2015. While Bieber never said the song was about Gomez, fans jumped to that conclusion and were angry that the song painted her in a bad light.

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When Gomez and Bieber both found themselves single in 2017, they got back together after a source told People magazine “it wouldn’t be surprising if they got back together.” In 2018, Beiber got back together with Baldwin and married her later that year. 

Movie Career

Gomez tried to break out of her Disney persona by taking more mature roles in movies like "Spring Breakers"

Gomez tried to break out of her Disney persona by taking more mature roles in movies like “Spring Breakers”
(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

During her time on the Disney Channel, Gomez acted in several movies geared towards kids and young adults. She had leading roles in “Monte Carlo,” “Another Cinderella Story,” and “Hotel Transylvania.” 

As she got older, Gomez started experimenting with more mature roles, which didn’t align with her squeaky-clean public image. She broke away from her Disney persona with roles in “Spring Breakers,” “Getaway,” “Behaving Badly,” and “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.”

Illness

Francia Raisa donated her kidney to Selena Gomez when she needed a kidney transplant due to her lupus diagnosis.

Francia Raisa donated her kidney to Selena Gomez when she needed a kidney transplant due to her lupus diagnosis.
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

In 2015, Gomez revealed in an interview with Billboard that she had lupus and said she was undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments. She shared the diagnosis after her decision to cancel her tour to attend a rehab facility led to rumors that she was there for more scandalous reasons.

“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy,” she explained to Billboard. “That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke.”

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Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the body, and in Gomez’s case, targeted her kidneys. In September 2017, she announced to her fans on Instagram she had received a kidney transplant after being on dialysis and becoming so weak that she could not even open a water bottle.

The kidney was donated by the actress’ good friend Francia Raisa.  

“She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me,” Gomez wrote in her Instagram post. “I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”

Stepping away from the spotlight

Selena Gomez took a break from the spotlight after her breakup with Justin Bieber and her health issues.

Selena Gomez took a break from the spotlight after her breakup with Justin Bieber and her health issues.
( Richard Shotwell)

After her very public breakup and the intense scrutiny that came with it, coupled with her lupus diagnosis and her kidney transplant, Gomez took a break from public life. When speaking with Seventeen Magazine, she said she needed that time to find herself.

“I was, you know, obviously going through a really tough breakup, and then I was left with the question of my career and where am I gonna go and what’s gonna happen?” Selena told Seventeen Magazine, “And then my medical stuff kind of kicked in — I was dealing with my lupus, and I was dealing with some kidney problems. It was actually really hard.”

She says through her decision to step away and seek therapy she has been able to get to a place where she doesn’t allow the haters to get to her and is able to now brush off their words.

Back in action

Selena Gomez came back onto the scene in 2020 with a cooking show on HBO Max and with her third solo album.

Selena Gomez came back onto the scene in 2020 with a cooking show on HBO Max and with her third solo album.
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

One of Gomez’s first projects when she returned to the spotlight was her HBO Max cooking show, “Selena + Chef.” During quarantine, Gomez started an unscripted cooking show in her home in which she attempted to cook different cuisines, with different celebrity chefs dropping by to help her out.

At the end of each episode, the show donated $10,000 to a charity of the chef’s choice. The show was an instant hit and went on for three seasons.

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Gomez also returned to the music scene in 2020, with her breakup song “Lose You to Love Me.” Fans instantly fell in love with the song, which detailed a dysfunctional relationship.

TikTok

Selena Gomez has made a name for herself on TikTok with fans loving her videos and makeup hacks.

Selena Gomez has made a name for herself on TikTok with fans loving her videos and makeup hacks.
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Gomez has become a phenomenon on TikTok, quickly becoming one of the most loved celebrities on the social media platform. 

She makes all kinds of videos on the app, giving fans an inside look into her life, as well as posting videos making fun of herself. Her TikTok video demonstrating how to apply mascara using a pair of tweezers has been deemed “revolutionary” by fans.

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Fans also go wild when Selena posts videos with her famous co-stars, and when her famous friends comment and interact with her videos. Fans lost their minds when Taylor Swift commented under one of her videos showing fans her makeup routine. 

“Only Murders in the Building”

Selena Gomez stars in "Only Murders in the Building" with Martin Short and Steve Martin.

Selena Gomez stars in “Only Murders in the Building” with Martin Short and Steve Martin.
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Gomez’s biggest success since her return to the spotlight is her starring role on Hulu’s original show “Only Murders in the Building.” Gomez stars as Mabel Mora, a resident of the Arconia apartment building in New York City, who finds herself investigating a murder and recording a true crime podcast about the investigation.

She stars alongside Martin Short and Steve Martin. 

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“I think in general, my standards for humor and gentlemen, and just, professionals have been — the bar’s been lifted pretty high working with these two, so, it’s been really fun, but I’m now a little bit picky,” Gomez told Entertainment Tonight.

Season one of the show was an instant success and season two is currently airing on Hulu.



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