Celebrity Then And Now
Celebrity Then And Now
Selena Gomez
Name: Selena Gomez
Birthdate: July 22, 1992
Famous Years: 2002-Present
Currently Known For: Singer, Actress, and Producer
Networth: $50 MillionFamous For: Selena Gomez & the Scene (Band), Wizards of Waverly Place, and singles "The Heart Wants What It Wants," "Come & Get It," and "It Ain't Me"
Selena Gomez
Name Selena Gomez
Birthdate July 22, 1992
Famous Years 2002-Present
Currently Known For Singer, Actress, and Producer
Networth $50 Million
Famous For Selena Gomez & the Scene (Band), Wizards of Waverly Place, and singles "The Heart Wants What It Wants," "Come & Get It," and "It Ain't Me"

“You have every right to a beautiful life.” First rising to fame on the children’s television series Barney & Friends, Selena Gomez gained an even bigger following when she made her Disney Channel debut as Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place in 2007. Wrapping up the show after five seasons in 2012, Gomez ventured into the music business with her band—Selena Gomez & the Scene—and has earned international stardom thanks to top-selling albums like Kiss & Tell, A Year Without Rain, and When the Sun Goes Down. Earning a long list of awards and selling over seven million albums and 22 million singles worldwide, the 25-year-old has also returned to acting with credits in Another Cinderella Story, Princess Protection Program, Ramona and Beezus, Spring Breakers, and The Fundamentals of Caring. So, what’s Selena’s secret to success? Let’s take a look at the top followed Instagram user in the world and her rise to fame!

From The Lone Star State to Hollywood

Selena Marie Gomez made her debut into the world on July 22, 1992 in Grand Prairie, Texas to 16-year-old Amanda Cornett and her husband, Ricardo Joel Gomez. Named after the Tejano singer and actress Selena Quintanilla-Perez, Selena was raised to appreciate her Hispanic heritage even after her parents divorced and she went to live with her mother at five years old. “My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church,” Selena later said. “We do everything that’s Catholic, but we don’t really have anything traditional except that we go to the park and have barbecues on Sundays after church.”

After her parent’s divorce, life was difficult for the mother-daughter duo as Selena’s mother worked three jobs and struggled to put food on the table. “I was frustrated that my parents weren’t together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me,” Selena said. “My mom was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me.”

Often eating spaghetti from the nearby dollar store and spending her afternoons trying to find enough quarters to put gas in the family car, Selena started spending more and more time with her grandparents, which boosted her confidence and gave her a more stable home life. This, in turn, took some pressure off her mother who started working in stage productions, which inspired the young Selena’s interest in acting. After watching her mother prepare for auditions, Selena decided to try auditioning herself and, after a handful of tryouts, caught her first big break in 2002 opposite Demi Lovato on Barney & Friends. “I was very shy when I was little,” Selena said of winning the part of Gianna. “I didn’t know what blocking was. I learned everything from Barney.”

Spending two seasons on the show, Selena was eventually released from Barney & Friends in 2004 but, by then, she’d already made her silver screen debut in the 2003 kid’s film, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. In 2005, she appeared in the made-for-television film, Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire, and made a special guest appearance on an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in 2006. Luckily, the guest spot was enough to catch the attention of The Disney Channel as Selena was invited to star opposite Miley Cyrus as Mikayla on Hannah Montana in 2007. Coincidentally, she also starred in two pilot episodes for The Disney Channel—Arwin! and Lizzie McGuire—before auditioning and winning the starring role of Alex Russo on the network’s Wizards of Waverly Place.

With a starring role and a contract with The Disney Channel, Selena and her mother left Texas and settled down in Hollywood in what would later be the best decision of their lives. As Wizards of Waverly Place became a hit for the network, Selena skyrocketed to stardom and even proved her talents as a singer after recording the show’s theme song, “Everything is Not What It Seems.” During the show’s second season, she joined her Disney co-stars on the Studio DC: Almost Live special and recorded her first single, “Fly to Your Heart,” which was featured in the animated film, Tinker Bell. She then snagged her first leading film role in Another Cinderella Story and enjoyed her biggest commercial success in 2008 when she was invited to voice the role of Helga in Horton Hears a Who.

Making the Crossover to Music

Continuing to find success on Wizards of Waverly Place and even extending her role in a crossover episode of The Suite Life on Deck, Selena reprised her role as Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, which became the Disney Channel’s second most-viewed film premiere after High School Musical 2 and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program. By then, Selena was already looking to crossover into the music industry and formed her band—Selena Gomez & the Scene—after signing on with Hollywood Records. In 2009, the band released their debut studio album, which premiered at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S.

Releasing their second album—A Year Without Rain—in 2010, the album received mixed reviews as Selena cashed in on her growing fame with the release of her Dream Out Loud fashion line followed by her return to film in Monte Carlo in 2011. During this time, she started dating Justin Bieber and put her music career on hold in 2012 as she wrapped up Wizards of Waverly Place and starred in Hotel Transylvania and in Getaway in 2013. Neither film did much to build Selena’s reputation on the silver screen and pushed the young artist to return to music, this time as a solo artist.

Selena surprised her fans in late 2012 when she released her first solo single, “Come & Get It,” off her debut album, Slow Down. The single was Selena’s first top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the album selling over 97,000 copies in its first week. Although the album itself was met with mixed reviews from critics, Selena’s fans wanted more as she launched her Stars Dance Tour in August 2013. However, the tour was quickly cut short when Selena entered The Meadows treatment center for two weeks before confirming that she had been diagnosed with Lupus and was undergoing chemotherapy. By 2014, she proved she was stronger than ever when she released her latest single, “The Heart Wants What It Wants.”

Life Today: Music, Acting, and Relationships

Despite her earlier records achieving only moderate success, Selena released her second studio album, Revival, in 2015 and watched as it debuted in the top spot on the Billboard 200 with over 117,000 in album sales. With the album reaching new levels of success, Selena launched the Revival Tour in 2016 and performed at sold-out venues throughout North America, Asia and Oceania before extreme anxiety and depression caused by her lupus forced her to cancel the European and South American legs of the tour. Taking some time off to recoup, Selena returned to acting with credits in The Big Short, Saturday Night Live, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Fundamentals of Caring, and Dubious Battle.

Amid her growing career both on stage and in front of the camera, much of Selena’s success comes from her status as the undisputed Queen of Instagram—after all, she’s the most followed person in the world. However, the 25-year-old admits that even this comes at a price. “I’m at the point where I know the value of my privacy, and I understand how the system works, and once I realized and accepted that part of it, I’ve become a little bit more fearless,” she says of living most of her life in the spotlight. “I view it as a small price to pay for being able to have the life I have now.”

As for Instagram itself, Selena says the site can be empowering since she’s often a hot topic in the tabloids. “It empowers me in that way because it’s my words and my voice and my truth,” she says. “The only thing that worries me is how much value people our age place on social media. It’s an incredible platform, but in a lot of ways it’s given young people, myself included, a false representation of what’s important. So, yeah, it’s a complex relationship. Probably one of my most difficult relationships.”

Needless to say, Selena is fairly selective on what she shares with her Instagram followers especially after her on-again, off-again relationship with Justin Bieber that lasted from 2010 to 2014. In January 2017, Selena started dating The Weekend but had another whirlwind romance with Bieber that ended again in March 2018.