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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Let’s leave Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez in the past

Kellyn Taylor
Illustration Kellyn Taylor

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice. 

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez—famously referred to as Jelena—were one of Hollywood’s most famous on-off couples for close to a decade throughout the 2010s. So many people loved them, including myself. They were two teenagers in love, how could you not be obsessed with them? 

However, like most celebrity teen couples, they broke up in earth-shattering fashion and now no longer associate themselves with one another. Still, original Jelena fans will not let their relationship rest; they continue to support their romance despite the relationship ending six years ago and each having several romantic partners since. 

Justin Bieber is literally married, yet Jelena fans are pushing for divorce or even worse, infidelity just to see the return of their favorite childhood couple. Why?

While I see the appeal of the return of Jelena, again I grew up with them too, it’s important to acknowledge the recurring issues that arose during their relationship. Fans continuously highlight their “best moments” without taking into account how emotionally draining that relationship realistically was. 

The pervasive nature of the Jelena fanbase is real and continues to bombard Gomez and Bieber online with comments to rekindle their all-consuming teenage love. Fans even go to the extent of harassing their current partners—especially Hailey Bieber. 

If they were to analyze Jelena’s relationship timeline, fans would realize the pair broke up justifiably and should stay that way, instead of labeling the tumultuous 10-year relationship as successful. 

Gomez and Justin were first introduced in 2009 through their managers, developing a strong friendship. Soon after, speculation began circulating that the two had sparked a romantic relationship, which they repeatedly denied. Until, at the 2011 Vanity Fair Oscars, they debuted as a couple to the public. However, due to both individuals being at the height of their careers, whether that be on set for filming (Gomez) or touring to promote a released album (Bieber), the couple broke up in 2012. 

Not too soon after, Bieber confirmed rising rumors that Jelena had gotten back together by posting a picture on Instagram. They broke up again in 2014 because they fought a lot, motivating each other to date others (Gomez and The Weeknd, Justin and Hailey) from 2015-2017. Another happy reunion happened in 2018 when they were spotted spending Valentine’s Day together, but things ended a month later. 

Now, let’s take a moment to compare that shit show to Justin and Hailey’s relationship after their original breakup in 2016, shall we? 

Justin and Hailey rekindled their romance and got engaged in July 2018. Two months later, they had a secret courthouse wedding in New York City but then held a more traditional wedding in February 2020. They have now been together for almost six years filled with appearances at Toronto Maple Leaf ice hockey games and celebration launches of Hailey’s skincare line Rhode

Once Justin and famous nepo-baby, the then-Hailey Baldwin, officially announced their engagement in July 2018, the media spiraled out of control and fabricated a war between Hailey and Gomez. There were (and still are) repeated accusations of Hailey “stealing” Justin from Gomez, and comments on how Justin looks unhappier in photos with Hailey than Gomez. 

The “feud” all began around October 2019,  just after Gomez released her new single “Lose You To Love Me” in response to officially ending her relationship with Justin. Hailey later posted on her Instagram story the song “I’ll Kill You” by Summer Walker, causing speculation that she was responding to Gomez’s newly released song.  

Due to these rumors, Hailey began to receive tweets calling her insensitive towards Gomez’s feelings, and how all the shade being spoken about her was justified. Hailey addressed these rumors by commenting, “Please stop with this nonsense … there is no response. this is complete BS.” 

As an ally, Gomez also addressed these rumors by saying, “It doesn’t matter what the situation is, if you’re my fans don’t be rude to anybody, please. Don’t go off and say things that you just feel in the moment.” 

However, this was not the only fabricated altercation involving Gomez and Hailey. The internet constantly tries to overanalyze their TikToks, social media posts, and interview responses to see how the content can be related to the two women. 

But the reality is, there is no tension between the two, which they have attempted to make clear in interviews. 

During an appearance on Bloomberg’s “The Circuit” in June 2023, Hailey speaks out about the supposed feud and says, “This is not about this pitting between two women—it’s about the vile, disgusting hatred that can come from completely made-up and twisted, and perpetuated narratives that can be really dangerous. Time and time again I say there is no issue and it’s so disappointing that people still behave this way over a man.”

However, even if the “feud” were to end, Jelena fans are restless and only ever fuse more drama regarding the three individuals. 

Fans repeatedly try to prove the love between the married couple is unrequited by posting ridiculous TikTok conspiracies or compilation edits of Gomez and Bieber together, reminiscing on the 2010 “power couple’s” best moments. 

And although having been together for almost six years, I remind you, Jelena fans still remain convinced that Justin is miserable in his marriage. Only two months ago, a YouTube video was released dissecting specific interviews, red-carpet appearances, paparazzi ambushes, Instagram lives, and how they all prove that Justin is unhappy with Hailey. 

People are only convinced that the marriage is unrequited because they choose to hyper-focus on the problems within the relationship which are universal issues and make it seem that it is unique to them. Living in the public eye, their personal life is vulnerable to all forms of online humiliation and bashing of even the simplest things, but this is ridiculous. 

They are both adults who mutually chose to marry one another because they envision a future together and enhance each other’s quality of life. While doing a Carpool Karaoke interview with James Cordon in February 2020, Justin said, “Being married is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She’s extraordinary.” 

As supporters and fans, it is very easy to become emotionally invested in celebrities, especially in their relationships. Jelena was so clearly and unconditionally enamored with one another and always eventually rekindled, even after breaking up. Once the separation was permanent, it is understandable fans were left to mourn this loss of what they viewed to be “the perfect couple.” 

Unfortunately, some still believe they are soulmates and are stuck in the 2010s mentality of Jelena eventually going back to one another. But Justin and Gomez have forged ahead on their own individual paths of self-discovery and personal growth. And social media’s actions of online harassment and public shaming won’t change anything. 

Reflecting on past childhood memories and consuming nostalgic media can help us celebrate how we’ve grown as individuals or see how time has changed. And while I can understand the reminiscence of Jelena and the remembrance of how undeniably in love they were, that doesn’t intrinsically mean they’ll love each other the same in the present day, which the fans aren’t conceptualizing. 

Every relationship is unique and in some instances, couples can successfully reconcile by learning from their past and have more self-awareness when re-entering into the relationship. However, some relationships are not meant for reconciliation but instead reflection on how they have grown individually, which includes Jelena. While they don’t remain in each other’s lives in the present day, they helped each other navigate through very formative times during their life and that is what should be celebrated.

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