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Marie Claire
Marie Claire
Jenny Proudfoot

Why did Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber break up?

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were one of the most talked-about couples of the noughties. 

First meeting as child stars, the teenage sweethearts' on-again, off-again relationship spanned eight years, with the pair becoming one of our generation's most beloved couples from 2010 to 2018. 

But five years on from their third and final break up, the former couple is still making headlines, with Gomez and Bieber back in the spotlight over a rumoured feud between Selena and Justin Bieber's now-wife Hailey. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The rumours of a feud started on social media, after Hailey posted an Instagram story of her and Kylie Jenner comparing eyebrows - something that was interpreted by fans as a dig at her husband's ex. These fan theories were intensified after Selena's absence from the Oscars, with Hailey losing millions of Instagram followers and receiving an onslaught of online abuse.

This is something that Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber both spoke out about last week, quashing rumours of a feud between them, and posting statements to Instagram.

"Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity," posted Selena Gomez. "This isn't what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying. I've always advocated for kindness and really want all of this to stop."

"I want to thank Selena for speaking out, as her and I have been discussing the last few weeks how to move past this ongoing narrative," Hailey Bieber posted to her Instagram in response. She later continued: "In the end, I believe love will always be bigger than hate and negativity, and there is always an opportunity to meet each other with more empathy and compassion."

While the drama is now dying down, it has however propelled Justin and Selena's former relationship back into the spotlight, with fans eager to know more about their eight-year courtship, and the nature of their multiple break ups.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber met in the early noughties, back when Selena was 18-years-old and Justin was aged 16. 

Like a lot of celebrity couples, their relationship was founded in friendship, with Selena opening up about their early days back in 2010, telling MTV: "I love Justin. When he first started to come over from Canada, his manager contacted me and he just said that he would like to meet me and he was just such a good kid. And I feel like a big sister now, ’cause I want to protect him. So I’m always very cautious with him, but he is so talented and he’s so sweet, so that just started us wanting to work together. Now he’s just become one of my good friends.”

This friendship then quickly developed into a relationship, with the pair becoming official in 2011, spotted kissing on New Year's Eve in St. Lucia. They made their red carpet debut at the Vanity Fair Oscars party, and moved in together just a couple of years later. And so began "Jelena".

“We were so in love," Justin reflected on their early relationship in an interview with Complex. "Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other... I learned a lot. I moved in with [Selena] 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. 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.”

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why did Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber break up?

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber had a famously on-again off-again relationship, thought to have broken up on three occasions. 

The former couple is rumoured to have first broken up in November 2012, two years after they started dating, with their busy and conflicting work schedules cited as the reason for the split. 

They rekindled their relationship in 2014, officially confirming their reunion in September 2014. But according to reports, they broke up the following month. While it is not known why the couple parted ways for the second time, their split did come after the Baby singer was photographed with Kendall Jenner in Paris.

The on-again, off-again couple are reported to have reunited for the third and final time in October 2017, when they were photographed on a bike ride. And five months later, after a reported break, Selena and Justin broke up for the last time in March 2018.

"Selena started seeing the bigger picture when it came to their relationship," a source explained to Us Weekly about the split. "Like what was more important: her general happiness and her family and friends approval, or her being together with Justin, where no one really supported their relationship".

Months later, Justin Bieber proposed to and married his now wife, Hailey Baldwin.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Everything was so public," Selena Gomez has said of the end of their relationship, opening up in her 2022 documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me. "I felt haunted by a past relationship that no one wanted to let go of. Then I just moved past it, and I wasn't afraid anymore."

She continued: "I feel like I had to go through the worst possible heartbreak ever and then just forgetting everything at the drop of the hat, it was really confusing. But I just think that needed to happen and ultimately it was the best thing that ever happened to me."

There is clearly no bad blood between the former couple, with Selena and Justin only speaking highly of each other in the years since.

We will continue to update this story.

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