Selena Gomez: The Queen of Kindness… And Drama

Selena Gomez has often been seen as “the good girl”, from her beginnings on Barney, evolving into a squeaky clean Disney Channel star and megahit artist, to becoming the most followed woman on Instagram, preaching kindness to her millions of fans worldwide. But being the queen of kindness hasn’t stopped her from being involved in controversy over the years (like her recent drama with Hailey Bieber and Kylie Jenner.) Here’s our take on why, despite her best efforts to move on, Selena keeps finding herself embroiled in controversy after controversy.


With all the recent drama involving Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, and Kylie Jenner, you may be wondering how Selena went from being the queen of kindness to the queen of controversy. Selena’s often been seen as “the good girl”, from her beginnings in the “I love you, you love me” show Barney, evolving into a squeaky clean Disney Channel star and megahit artist, to becoming the most followed woman on Instagram, preaching kindness to her millions of fans worldwide.

Selena Gomez: “Kill em kill em with kindness.” – Selena Gomez – Kill Em With Kindness

When she and Justin Bieber ended their tumultuous relationship for the final time in 2018, many were on Team Selena, cheering her on and supporting her. But in the years since, it seems like the internet, Justin and his wife Hailey, everyone’s respective fanbases, and possibly even Selena herself can’t let the relationship go. There’s a lot to unpack in recent TikToks, Instagram Stories, and interviews between the women and their warring fanbases.

Here’s our take on why, despite her best efforts to move on, Selena keeps finding herself embroiled in controversy after controversy.

Today’s biggest young celebrity drama is feeling a lot like high school. And Selena has been victim to – and sometimes participated in – mean girl behavior that all goes back to her past relationship with Justin Bieber – pitting her against Justin fangirl turned wife Hailey Bieber, and the more tangentially involved Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Selena Gomez’s relationship with Justin, and their couple identity as Jelena, created more star power for both.

Their on-and-off romance lasted for eight years. But then, nearly five years ago, it was over for good, and Selena claimed to be over the relationship and onto bigger and better things. She bounced back with successful albums, tours, and television shows like Selena + Chef and Only Murders in the Building. She even launched a wildly popular makeup brand in Sephora called Rare Beauty.

Selena Gomez: “You’re authentic and you’re meant to be who you are and you’re rare.” – Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez | Sephora

And she’d also lived through a lot of genuinely hard trials – as if growing up under the limelight hadn’t been enough, she had the very real struggles of battling lupus and bipolar disorder. But try as she might to stick to her personal brand of kindness and rising above all the petty drama, she keeps getting sucked back in by these celebrities and rude commenters, who come down on her so often that she eventually feels she has to fight back.

Now, Selena is not new to the social media clapback. When Beliebers were bashing Justin’s new girlfriend Sofia Ritchie back in 2016, Justin told his followers to back off. Selena commented: “If you can’t handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol – it should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you,”

Justin then fired off: “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention are still trying to point the finger this way. Sad. All love. I’m not one for anyone receiving hate.” Selena got the last word, saying “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.”

So, about those cheating allegations… What is perhaps the most complicated thing about Selena, Justin, and Hailey’s relationship is that Justin went back and forth dating Selena and Hailey from December 2014 when Selena and Justin broke up the second time, to when Justin finally married Hailey in 2018. It is unclear if, yet not totally unlikely, that those two relationships overlapped in some way, even if Hailey denied it on the Call Her Daddy podcast.

Haliey Bieber: ”...when him and I ever started like hooking up or anything of that sort, he was never in a relationship.” – Call Her Daddy Podcast

But some fans and internet sleuths question this, even going as far as declaring that Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner took Selena to Dubai for New Year’s Eve in 2014, so that their best friend Hailey could hook up with Justin, which she did. And Kylie saved that TikTok, meaning there COULD be some truth to what was said.

Regardless of if that story is true, keep those names in your head. Because when Selena received a bunch of hate for lupus medication-induced weight gain, Hailey posted a TikTok of her, Kendall, and Justine Skye lip syncing: “I’m not saying she deserved it, but God’s timing is always right.” While Hailey denied that the TikTok was about Selena, Kendall is connected by the Dubai allegations, and Justine Skye?

Let’s just say she posted a Snapchat story that definitely seemed like she was shading Selena as well. And even though Skye said she was hacked, she blocked Selena fans who inquired about the story.

All this mean girl behavior escalated even further, with Instagram Stories and TikToks between Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, and Kylie Jenner. In late February Selena posted a TikTok noting that she wished she “was as pretty as Bella Hadid” (who dated The Weekend both before and after Selena.) This immediately led to fans pitting the women against each other and bashing Bella’s looks. Some people thought that Selena was mocking Bella with the post and deliberately trying to stir drama, fishing for fans to praise her and diss Bella, but the star later followed up with a video stating:

Selena Gomez: “I accidentally laminated my brows too much.” – TikTok

This kicked off yet another string of drama… Kylie Jenner (who is friends with Bella) posted two Instagram stories: a selfie captioned “this was an accident???” and one of just her and Hailey Bieber’s eyebrows. When a TikToker recapped this in a video, Kylie called this drama “a reach” and Selena commented twice, saying this was silly and she was a Kylie fan. Again, there is a chance Hailey and Kylie might just be doing a makeup brand collab and they didn’t see Selena’s posts at all…but given their past relationships with Selena, it’s hard to imagine this is all a coincidence.

In the age of sharing everything on social media, being a celebrity who constantly gets attention has required its stars like Selena to show their full personalities online. Even though Selena claims to have stepped back from managing her social media herself, she still puts out a ton of content to show the real her, from making bubbly yet honest makeup tutorials, to going on TikTok live to speak about serious topics like weight gain from taking lupus medication.

And while fans love how vulnerable she is on social media, in her documentary My Mind and Me, and in interviews, being a full person who has their faults and slip ups is where Selena has gotten into some trouble, particularly around her relationships, breakups, and friendships.

Selena Gomez: ” I’m really big on vulnerability.” – Entertainment Tonight

Selena has shown signs of still being hung up on all the Bieber drama – commenting positively on posts by fans that say they feel sorry for her or hate Hailey, or checking up on her ex on the Internet and accidentally liking photos of him with Hailey.

It’s easy to see Selena as a victim here. Hailey, Kylie, Kendall, and Justine Skye have seemingly started a war with a celebrity who, though surrounded by millions of fans, tons of money, obvious talent, and creative freedom, has suffered from mental and physical health problems that impact her appearance and livelihood. Selena also frequently encourages her young fans to be kind, and treat people respectfully.

But sometimes, the pile on from the other celebrities gets to be too much, and Selena defends herself in less than mature ways. After the “eyebrowgate” feud began, Selena commented “i love you” on a TikTok that called Hailey and Kylie “mean girls”.

Then, Selena found a TikTok where Hailey appeared to be gagging at the thought of Taylor Swift, commenting “So sorry, my best friend is and continues to be one of the best ones in the game.” and she even followed a Hailey hate account on TikTok, and commented on even more videos… before deleting her account.

So regardless of “who started it”, whether these TikToks meant anything, and whether these girls truly hate watching each other’s content, anyone who has been in high school knows that drama is never fun. Whether all these TikToks or Instagram Stories Hailey made were intentional and directed at Selena, she may have felt, to use her favorite word, “vulnerable” and decided to respond. Fans claim to want to know the intimate details of a celebrity’s life, from what kinds of skincare they use, to what they cook when they’re home alone.

Selena Gomez: ”This is what I eat usually when I’m tired and or happy and or sad.” – Vanity Fair

But what happens when that “real” person is extremely complicated? How many times can someone say they’re quitting a social media platform because they’re too mature for this and above it all, to come right back? And sure, everyone has a right to defend themselves against attacks.

Navigating the internet and celebrity in 2023 is a minefield, and protecting your own mental health is incredibly important. That may include not going on social media. But in order for Selena to continue to be at the level of fame and respect she’s achieved, she unfortunately has to go back to where the fans are…on TikTok…where trolls and even other celebs, might be mean to her.

Selena Gomez: “Social media is fun and a blessing but it can really tear people down…spread love within that.” – Entertainment Tonight

So how will she react next time? The ball is in her court.


Bhattacharjee, Aayushmita. “Who is Justine Skye? singer faces backlash for shading Selena Gomez in latest Snapchat story.“ Sports News. 30 May, 2022

Brito, Christopher. “Selena Gomez surpasses Kylie Jenner as most-followed woman on Instagram.” CBS News, CBS Interactive. 25 February, 2023