What You Never Knew About Selena Gomez

Born on July 22, 1992, Selena Gomez got her big break on "Barney and Friends" when she was just 10 years old, as noted by Insider. From there, her ascent to fame was swift, especially after she began starring as Alex Russo on Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place" in 2007. Per Biography, she launched a music career in 2009 with the album "Kiss & Tell," and has been one of Hollywood's biggest stars for years now.

Not only is Gomez one of the most well-known names in Hollywood, but she's also one of the most beloved. While many child stars find themselves marked by scandal or otherwise struggle in their adult years, Gomez has maintained her good girl image since her Disney days and has become a noted philanthropist and activist to boot. In 2009, she was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador (the youngest in the U.S.!), working on behalf of underprivileged children across the world, and her work doesn't stop there. Keep reading to learn more about this inspiring celeb.

She was named after the singer Selena Quintanilla

Selena Gomez is named after another famous Selena: singer Selena Quintanilla. Quintanilla rose to fame in the '90s and, per Biography, was known as the "Queen of Tejano Music" until she was killed by the founder of her fan club in 1995. Like Quintanilla, Gomez is of Mexican descent and grew up in Texas, but their similarities don't end there. Like Quintanilla, Gomez would embark on a successful music career, although her parents couldn't have known that she would become a star in her own right when they named their daughter for one of their favorite singers.

"I grew up and I went to her grave," Gomez once told radio station 100.5 about the singer she was named for (via Teen Vogue). "I got to go to her house. ... I remember I got to meet her family and I just got super emotional."

In a 2020 Instagram Story (via ET), Gomez praised the Netflix series based on Quintanilla's life, "Selena: The Series," saying Quintanilla is "such an inspiration" to her.

Her Disney past still haunts her

Being cast on "Wizards of Waverly Place" as a teenager meant that Selena Gomez grew up on the Disney Channel, putting her very much in the public eye. In a 2021 interview with Vogue, Gomez spoke about the pressure "to be perfect" she felt as a Disney kid, as well as how invasive the paparazzi was when she was growing up. She recalled a trip to the beach at the age of 15 and being followed by "grown men with cameras" snapping pics of her "in her swimsuit," which she described as "a violating feeling."

In 2015, she told The New York TImes that she "was being held to this expectation of being the good girl" and it's an image she's had a hard time shaking as she has moved on to more mature roles. While she's all grown up now, she still fears that people still see her as a teenager. "I still live with this haunting feeling that people still view me as this Disney girl," she admitted to Vogue.

That being said, she's grateful for her time with the network. "I'm beyond proud of the work that I did with Disney as well," she told the Television Critics Association (via RadioTimes). "It kind of shaped who I am in a way."

She refuses to Google herself

While most of us have probably Googled ourselves at one point or another just to see what's out there about us, it's something that Selena Gomez avoids doing because she knows that not everyone on the internet is kind. "I'm strong in a lot of ways, but I think I just have way too much of a sensitive heart," she admitted to Allure.

She also doesn't read comments on social media, and doesn't even post on her own incredibly popular Instagram account (as of this writing it boasts 283 million followers) herself but opts to have her team handle her socials for her, something she has done since 2017 when, as she told Elle, she realized she wanted to spend her time on more meaningful things. While she provides her assistant with images and captions, she doesn't even know the password to her own Instagram account, saying, "I don't have it on my phone, so there's no temptation."

Gomez explained to Vogue, "I was tired of reading horrible things," so she decided one day to stay away from social media. She's been a lot happier since then, saying, "After that decision, it was instant freedom." Gomez's break from social media has also improved her real life relationships. She explained to Business of Fashion (via Time) that while social media can be a powerful tool, she also observed "a disconnect from real life connections to people" when she'd spend time scrolling through her feeds.

She has had to deal with a lot of trolls

Before she distanced herself from social media, Selena Gomez experienced firsthand just how many trolls are out there. In an interview with E! News in 2014, she expressed her bewilderment that a lot of the vitriol aimed towards her wasn't from teens, tweens, and young adults — her target demographic —- but from people who were much older than her.

"It's grown-ups and I don't get it," the then-22-year-old star said. "It just baffles me. I wish I could just sit them down and say, 'What were you doing at 15? What were you doing at 18? What were you doing at 21?' Because I can guarantee you it's not half of what I've done.'"

Dealing with the haters isn't easy, but Gomez does her best to tune out the negativity and to not let it shake her self-esteem. "It's all about how you feel at the end of the day," she told Footwear News. "That's my approach to myself — seeing it's not okay that I'm not accepted, that I'm different from anybody else."

She's been to rehab several times for her mental health

While a lot of people think of rehab facilities exclusively as places people check into in order to deal with substance abuse, they can also help with other challenges, including mental health struggles. Selena Gomez checked herself into an Arizona rehab facility back in 2014 while going through chemotherapy following a lupus diagnosis, although she didn't immediately announce her reasons for checking in.

The public speculated at the time that she was struggling with addiction or perhaps needed to get away following a highly visible breakup with Justin Bieber, but Gomez told Billboard in 2015 that she needed to deal with the autoimmune disease. "I could've had a stroke," she said. Several years later, she admitted to Vogue that the ordeal had also taken a toll on her mental health, spurring the need for a break from her life in the spotlight.

Gomez has since become a public advocate for destigmatizing mental health, revealing in 2020 that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She later told Vogue Australia that she's been to several treatment centers over the years. "I think in mental health, I never understood the stigma until I went to my first treatment center," she told the outlet in 2021, adding, "I'm watching all of that change, slowly but surely."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Her friends were skeptical of her cooking show at first

Selena Gomez's cooking show, "Selena + Chef," has been a hit since it debuted in 2020. But don't let her ease on camera — or her stunning home kitchen — fool you into thinking that the experience has been an easy one for her. In an interview with Vogue Australia, she revealed that a lot of her friends were skeptical about her new venture. While she said that she "enjoy[s] cooking," she's far from a pro — and she is definitely "not a baker."

"All my friends were texting me: 'What are you doing trying to cook?'" Gomez told the outlet. "But I love cooking. I'm not great at it, but I like to add my own things ... It's been really fun."

While the whole point of the show is that actual pros come into her kitchen to teach her how to prepare a dish, not many celebs with minimal cooking experience would be willing to air their lack of expertise on a show. But Gomez's down-to-earth nature means she's perfectly fine with showing her fans that she's not perfect. "I thought it could be an interesting idea to do a cooking show and people could learn and improve their skills along with me," she told The Hollywood Reporter of the show. There are limits to her willingness to laugh at herself, though — Gomez added that she's happy to learn to cook better in front of an audience but isn't interested in repeating the experiment with other skills. "I think I've embarrassed myself enough on TV," she joked.

She's described her love life as 'cursed'

Selena Gomez has been in some pretty high profile relationships, most notably with Justin Bieber. Per Seventeen, Gomez was first linked to the pop star in 2010, and they dated on and off until 2018. Other famous faces Gomez has been involved with include Nick Jonas, Taylor Lautner, and Charlie Puth, per Cosmopolitan.

In a 2020 interview with NPR, Gomez opened up about her turbulent relationship with Bieber, alleging that she had been subjected to emotional abuse while she was with him. "As much as I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I've ever felt and I've found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible," she said.

Gomez opened up to Vogue Australia about her rocky love life, saying, "I think most of my experiences in relationships have been cursed," adding that she "never really felt equal." As she's gotten older, Gomez has developed a better sense of what it means to be in a healthy relationship, and she isn't willing to settle for anything less. She's also not going to let her past experience make her fearful of getting into another relationship. "I believe that [love] exists," she said on the "Zach Sang Show" in 2019. "I'm happy waiting for that for however long it takes because we're going to be doing this forever."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Fame has often been isolating for her

There are a lot of downsides to fame, and Selena Gomez knows it all too well. Aside from being under public scrutiny since her teens, Gomez has also had to deal with the loneliness that can come with being a celebrity. As she explained to Business of Fashion (via Rolling Stone), while she has a lot of fans, true friends are harder to come by. "I feel like I know everybody but have no friends," she admitted. "I have like three good friends that I can tell everything to, but I know everyone."

It's easy to see why Gomez is so guarded. On the podcast "Giving Back Generation" (via Billboard), she explained that she used to be a lot more open until she realized, "People were taking advantage of me."

In an interview with Elvis Duran (via Us Weekly), she said that she's experienced her words being "ripped apart" after trusting the wrong people, adding that it taught her "to be guarded." Said Gomez, "I don't trust anyone."

She would love to do a Wizards of Waverly Place reboot

While many people still see Selena Gomez as primarily a singer, she's been ramping up her acting game. In 2021, she starred in "Only Murders in the Building" alongside Steve Martin and Martin Short. Per Deadline, the show was her first TV role since "Wizards of Waverly Place" wrapped in 2012.

She'd like to revisit that show, too. In a Q & A for KISS FM U.K., Gomez recalled her fond memories on the set of the Disney show, and said that a lot of people have expressed their interest in a reboot of the magical comedy and that she "would love to" revisit the series. "I don't know when that will happen or if that will happen but I am 1000% down, so we'll see," she said.

For what it's worth, Gomez's on-screen brother, David Henrie, told Access that he "would be down" for a revival, so here's hoping that the stars align!

She keeps her family close

Selena Gomez and her mom, Mandy Teefey, have had some public spats in the past, as noted by BuzzFeed. Still, the two remain quite close in spite of their ups and downs. "My mom means my happiness, my love, my best friend and the world to me," Gomez once told Just Jared Jr, and that sentiment seems to have remained true even through all of their hardships over the years, which include Gomez allegedly firing her mom and stepdad as her managers in 2014 and letting them find out through the press, per the Daily Mail.

Gomez's relationship with her grandparents seems less turbulent, and the couple even lives with her. In a 2021 interview with Vogue Arabia, Gomez revealed that her grandparents and aunt were undocumented immigrants who crossed the U.S./Mexico border "hiding in the back of a truck." She added, "Family is everything to me ... In my family, we fight hard and we love even harder."

She campaigned hard for Biden (and other causes)

In 2020, Selena Gomez became politically active, campaigning for Joe Biden in his race against then-President Donald Trump. Gomez worked hard for the campaign, in spite of the fact that she had never voted before, telling Vogue that a lot of her peers were in a similar position. "Either I didn't care or I just was not recognizing the importance of who's running our country, and that's really scary to think about."

While she told Interview she doesn't see herself working on another presidential campaign any time soon, she's gone to bat for plenty of other causes she supports over the years, including Black Lives Matter, fighting for undocumented Americans, and her work with UNICEF (per ET).

Then, of course, there's how open she's been about her mental health and her lupus diagnosis, not just helping to raise awareness but also letting people with similar conditions know they're not alone. While some celebrities might see themselves as performers with pet causes, Gomez views her advocacy as a passion rather than as a side project. "A huge part of why I have a platform is to help people," she told Interview, adding, "I know that I'm making someone somewhere feel good, or feel understood or heard, and that's worth it for me."

She's achieved pretty much all of her career ambitions

Is there anything Selena Gomez can't do? She established herself early in her career as a talented singer and actress, and later branched out to launch her own cosmetics line, Rare Beauty, which, per its website, "is makeup made to feel good in, without hiding what makes you unique — because Rare Beauty is not about being someone else, but being who you are."

Gomez achieved all of these goals before turning 30 and seems to be aware of the fact that she's achieved more professionally than most do in a lifetime. When asked by Vogue Australia if there are any other things she wanted to add to her resume, it didn't seem like she had any burning desires to add to her already impressive list of accomplishments. She said she wanted to keep creating music and "be in the acting space a bit more" as well as "continue to work hard on my cosmetics brand because I want it to be a safe place."