A guide to Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber's on-off relationship

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber make their red carpet debut as a couple in 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)

This article was originally published on Oct. 31, 2017, and was updated on March 8, 2018, to reflect recent news.

Are Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber on a break? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the young couple has hit pause on their relationship.

Just one week after Gomez, 25, publicly acknowledged her boyfriend on Instagram, reports have surfaced that that they’ve hit a rough patch. A source confirms the news to Yahoo, but adds that Bieber and Gomez simply “are working through their issues like any normal couple.”

“Everything is just magnified because of who they are,” our insider says.

Selenators and Beliebers can take a deep breath. Even if Jelena is headed for breakup No. 100, they’ve been here before. Take a look at their on-again, off-again relationship over the years:

2009-10: As all modern love stories begin nowadays, fans first noticed Bieber and Gomez getting flirty on Twitter at the end of 2009.

The pair met through Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, after the young singer moved from Canada to Los Angeles. Cut to a year later when the then up-and-comers were caught leaving IHOP arm in arm. Both mused there was nothing to the outing. “It was pancakes! Oh my gosh!” Gomez, 18 at the time, explained to Us Weekly, adding that 16-year-old Bieber is “one of my best friends. … It was just pancakes!”

2011: So much for the “best friends” and “little brother, big sister” brushoff. Bieber and Gomez officially became Jelena in February after making their red carpet debut as a couple at the Vanity Fair Oscars party. The couple essentially embarked on a PDA tour, cozying up that year at the Billboard Music Awards and the VMAs. In September, Bieber even rented out L.A.’s Staples Center for a date night so the pair could watch Titanic.

If it wasn’t obvious yet, the young couple was already dropping the L-word. “I wouldn’t be with somebody if I wasn’t in love,” Bieber told New! magazine. “Everybody can see [Gomez] is hot and that’s great, but there is so much more to her than that. She makes me laugh, and she puts up with my practical jokes. She has really strong family values as well.”

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber on April 17, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Getty Images)

2012: Bieber and Gomez roared into the New Year as strong as ever, but things started getting rocky by the fall. In November, the AP reported the couple had called it quits, with distance and busy schedules to blame. However, their first breakup was perhaps an indication of the on-off years to follow.

Days after the couple’s split was confirmed, they reunited to reportedly work things out, but their date night didn’t end with a reconciliation.

The couple was off (again), but not for long! They reconciled long enough to jet down to Mexico for New Year’s Eve, but they got in a blowout fight, resulting in another breakup and Gomez heading home early.

2013-14: They’re baaack. After a few months apart, Bieber posted (and deleted) some cozy photos on Instagram that showed him reunited with Gomez. Their April social media reunion was followed up by a kiss caught at the Billboard Music Awards, which Gomez’s bestie Taylor Swift apparently did not approve of.

Perhaps learning from their splashy romance the first time around, the young couple stayed relatively undercover over the next year. In November 2014, Gomez dropped the emotional ballad “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” which seemed to be about Bieber.

“[Justin] thought it was beautiful. I think it was really hard. I think he was a little jealous of the video guy at first,” the singer told Ryan Seacrest after the release. “Honestly, music is an expression, and if you will be that voice for these girls, there are some people that feel this. This is universal.”

However, Gomez kept mum on their current relationship status when asked, saying, “I support him. I think I always will. I’m upset when he’s upset, I’m happy when he’s happy. I don’t want anything bad ever to happen to him. It hurts me. That’s all.”

A week later, Bieber unfollowed Gomez on Instagram.

2015: Bieber and Gomez went their separate ways and threw themselves into their music. “It was really weird, but it was incredible,” Gomez said of her relationship with Bieber in February. “I would never take it back in a million years. You live and you learn, you know? When you’re young and you’re being told so many different things … it almost felt like all we had was each other, like the world was against us, in a way.”

Gomez added, “Super stoked that I’ve got some bumps on me, some scars, some bruises. I actually love that. … It was great to experience really beautiful things, and then, you know, have the growing pains, in every possible manner, in every relationship.”

Bieber was equally as complimentary in the press, even admitting in November that someday they “could maybe come together and make an awesome duo.” He added, “It was really tough. I don’t know if I’m over it yet.”

“[She] is someone I love dearly,” he told Ellen DeGeneres. “I’m never going to stop loving her. I’m never going to stop checking in on her. I don’t think if you end a relationship, you should end that, unless it was super toxic and you guys were hurting each other physically or mentally. We always respected each other, and we still respect each other.”

Weeks later, Bieber was caught serenading Gomez with a rendition of “My Girl,” and they reportedly went home together. He also posted some nostalgic throwback pics on Instagram.

2016: The singers started the year out seemingly “just friends.” Bieber told GQ in February, “We don’t talk often, but we’re cordial. If she needs something, I’m there for her. If I need something, she’s there for me.” A month later, the “Sorry” crooner was having all the feels for his ex, sending Jelena fans into a tizzy with another throwback post.

The pic was Instagram’s most liked photo (at the time), and it clearly caught Gomez’s attention as she attended his “Purpose” world tour in L.A a week later. Sources told E! that Bieber planned to rent out the Staples Center for another Titanic date night, as he was supposedly trying to woo her back, but ended up canceling at the last minute, as something went down between the two.

Things clearly stayed sour. In August, Bieber and Gomez publicly sparred on Instagram after the “What Do You Mean?” singer was posting photos with his new flame, Sofia Richie. Bieber threatened fans that he was going to make his account private if they didn’t stop with the negative comments. Gomez had some thoughts on that.

“If you can’t handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol- It should be special between you two only,” she commented on a photo of the couple. “Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before any one ever did.”

Bieber replied, “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love.” He added, “I’m not one for anyone receiving hate. Hope u can all be kind to my friends and eachother. And yes I love my belibers.”

Gomez shot back, “Funny how the ones that cheated multiple times, are pointing the finger at the ones that were forgiving and supportive, no wonder fans are mad. Sad. All love.”

Bieber quipped, “I cheated… Oh I forgot about you and Zayn [Malik]?”

The spat ended with Bieber taking a social media hiatus, while Gomez sought treatment for emotional health and other side effects from lupus.

2017: No “Same Old Love” here. Gomez started the new year off with a new man, the Weeknd. That clearly irked Bieber, who threw a few disses the “Starboy” crooner’s way when the new couple stepped out. However, months later when Gomez revealed she had undergone a kidney transplant over the summer, Bieber — who spent a majority of the year working on bettering himself after canceling his “Purpose” world tour — reached out.

Around the same time Gomez and Bieber were spotted hanging out, the “Wolves” singer and the Weeknd ended their 10-month relationship. She wasted no time in jumping back into things with her ex, which gave her family pause.

“Justin is aware Selena’s family is not thrilled they are hanging out. They think he caused Selena a lot of grief,” a Bieber source tells People. “Justin hopes he can prove to them that he has changed.” The insider continued, “He has changed a lot in the past few months. He is a very different person. They have a lot to talk about and are having fun catching up.”

2018: Although the couple spent Christmas apart with their families, they rang in 2018 together in Cabo. Gomez also started off the new year off by bettering herself. In January, she completed a two-week treatment program for anxiety and depression. The fact she wanted an emotional “tune-up” was no surprise as she and her mom, Mandy Teefey, were reportedly at odds over Bieber. Still, Gomez seemed all in with the Biebs, even acknowledging her beau publicly for the first time on his birthday.

Cut to one week later, and multiple reports are now claiming that the pair have hit the brakes on their relationship. So are these two on the road to splitsville (again)? Time will tell, but if history is any indicator, Jelena will be back — and hopefully, better than ever.

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