After months of fan-fueled internet drama in a saga that’s included everything from shady TikToks featuring Kylie Jenner to a brief social media break for Gomez amid swirling rumors that she and Hailey Bieber have been feuding, Gomez and Bieber both took to Instagram Friday to condemn negativity directed toward each other and urged the drama to stop.
The drama began on February 22 when Selena Gomez, who dated Justin Bieber on and off between 2010 and 2018, posted a TikTok joking about how she had accidentally over-laminated her eyebrows.
Hours later, Bieber’s wife Hailey — who married Justin in 2018, reportedly just six months after he broke up with Gomez for the final time — posted a screenshot to Instagram of herself FaceTiming with her pal Kylie Jenner, with the screenshot featuring close-ups of both of their eyebrows, which fans perceived as a dig against Gomez.
On February 23, as fan speculation grew, Jenner and Gomez both denied rumors of a feud; in a TikTok comment, Jenner called accusations she and Bieber attacked Gomez’s eyebrows “a reach,” to which Gomez responded the rumors were “unnecessary” and that she’s a fan of Jenner.
The same day, Gomez commented on other videos referencing the drama: She thanked a fan who praised her handling of her breakup with Justin Bieber and his marriage to Hailey, and Gomez wrote “I love you” in response to a fan who criticized “mean girls and nepo babies” for attacking Gomez.
Gomez also defended her longtime friend Taylor Swift that day, in the comments of a TikTok video that showed Hailey Bieber miming a gag when Swift was mentioned, with Gomez calling Swift “one of the best in the game.”
Finally on February 23, Gomez announced a break from social media, stating in a TikTok Live: “I’m 30, I’m too old for this.”
Still, the rumors of drama grew, and on February 28 Hailey Bieber posted an Instagram story set to Rema’s song “Calm Down”—but the version without Gomez’s feature, which some fans thought was a dig at Gomez.
As fans continued to hunt for clues, Justin Bieber posted photos Sunday of his star-studded 29th birthday party, an outdoor gathering with balloons and a concert, and one of the photos showed Hailey standing next to him, while in another she appeared to be hugging him.
Amid the drama, Gomez has pulled in her best streaming numbers in months, and Google searches for her cosmetics brand Rare Beauty are spiking.
On March 24, Gomez posted an Instagram Story revealing Hailey Bieber had told her she was receiving death threats, which Gomez condemned in her post, stating: “I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop.”
Hours later, Hailey Bieber posted her own Instagram Story thanking Gomez for calling for an end to the “ongoing narrative between her and I.”
Bieber said the weeks of drama have been hard for everyone involved and urged people to be more thoughtful about what they post on social media.
Gomez and Hailey Bieber—a model and influencer who is the daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin and niece of Alec Baldwin—have denied rumors of bad blood in the past, with Hailey insisting in September that “it’s all love” and no drama existed between the two. In response to negative comments about Hailey online, Justin made an Instagram post in March 2019 urging fans to accept Hailey as his wife while adding he will always have a place in his heart for Gomez. The next month, Hailey posted and deleted an Instagram story telling “little internet kiddos” to move on. Gomez released a breakup song, “Lose You To Love Me,” in October 2019, which many thought to be about her split from Justin Bieber. The night her song debuted, Hailey posted a screenshot of Summer Walker’s song “I’ll Kill You” on her Instagram story, which some fans speculated was a dig at Gomez and her new song. Hailey denied in an Instagram comment her post was related to Gomez, and Gomez urged fans to stop their rude behavior. After years of continued drama among fans, Hailey posted a TikTok in April 2022 calling for an end to hateful comments, stating: “Enough time has gone by where it’s valid to leave me alone.” Hailey gave an interview in September 2022 on the Call Her Daddy podcast, where she said she and Gomez have spoken and are on good terms. The day after the podcast debuted, Gomez again urged fans to stop leaving hateful comments. In October 2022, Gomez and Hailey caused internet commotion after being photographed hugging at the Academy Museum Gala.
While the Biebers and Gomez have tried to quell rumors for years, the drama began to resurface earlier this year, when Hailey posted, and later deleted, a TikTok in January in which she, Kendall Jenner and singer Justine Skye lip synced to a popular audio (“I’m not saying she deserved it, but God’s timing is always right”), which some believed was about Gomez being body-shamed on social media. Gomez commented on a fan’s TikTok video on February 9 that alleged Hailey’s video was about her: “It’s ok! I don’t let these things get me down! Be nice to everyone! x.”
750 million. That’s the number of views the hashtag #teamselena has received on TikTok. In these videos, fans are recapping the drama, making their own theories about whether the stars have bad blood and tracking how many Instagram followers Hailey has lost over the past few weeks. The hashtag #teamhailey has 57 million views. The comment sections of both Gomez and Hailey’s recent Instagram posts are flooded with remarks about the drama, with some condemning Hailey as a “mean girl.” Gomez has since urged fans to stop targeting others on social media, asking them to “please be kinder and consider others mental health,” adding that her “heart has been heavy.”
Gomez has gained more than 20 million Instagram followers since the drama began unfolding on February 22. That day, she overtook Kylie Jenner to become the most-followed woman on Instagram with 380 million followers, but Gomez’s total has steadily increased to 403 million as of March 24. She became the first woman to pass 400 million followers on March 18. Jenner and Hailey Bieber, meanwhile, have each lost at least hundreds of thousands of followers in the weeks following the drama.
The Full History of Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber’s Public Drama, From Jelena Tweets to TikTok Comments (Elle)
Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez, and the Easter egg-ification of the Hollywood feud (Vox)