The Transformation Of Selena Gomez From 10 To 28 Years Old

We've watched Selena Gomez grow up right before our very eyes. After spending a few years on PBS, Gomez got her big break, like so many before her, (ahem, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato) on Disney Channel, where she starred in "Wizards of Waverly Place," as well as making appearances in other shows and Disney movies.

Then, like those other Disney kids that came before her, Gomez transitioned from acting to singing. From there, she grew her business empire to include producing credits, cooking shows, and clothing lines, and her own "clean" beauty line. Through it all, Gomez has presented a stoic and remarkably professional demeanor for someone who was thrust into the public eye at such a young age. "I say about Jennifer Lopez that she has compound eyes, that of a fly," close friend Ryan Seacrest explained to Business of Fashion in 2019. "She sees everything in 360, everything that's happening in front of her and around her. Selena has that as well. She doesn't miss a beat. That is a very good thing to have when you're in her position."

She's come a long way from the little girl born to a teenage mother in rural Texas. These days, Gomez is living large in Hollywood (and apparently going to church all the time), solidifying her place in pop culture history.

Below, we dig into Gomez's fascinating life.

Selena Gomez struggled with fame

Here we see Selena Gomez with her co-stars, celebrating the "Wizards of Waverly Place" at around age 15. Gomez's first taste of stardom came in her early childhood when she appeared on "Barney & Friends" when she was around 10 years old. Disney tapped her to move to Los Angeles and work for the network, eventually landing the lead in the "Wizards of Waverly Place" in 2007, per Insider

Considering how often we hear some version of this story. It should come as little surprise that Gomez became disenchanted with the celebrity lifestyle into which she was thrust.

Looking back now, Gomez doesn't remember that time in her life as a particularly happy one. "I started to become exposed to the truth behind some stuff, and that's when it flipped a little bit," she told Business of Fashion of her time working with Disney. "I realized that, 'Oh this is actually really hard, and kind of slimy in certain areas,' and I didn't realize that certain people wanted certain things from me. My confidence went through a lot with that." Eventually, Gomez felt ready to leave Disney. "I was on the fourth season of [Wizards of Waverly Place], and I felt like I was outgrowing it. I wanted something different," she said.

What ushered in this new grown-up attitude? According to Gomez, she fell in love with, you guessed it, Justin Bieber.

Selena Gomez got her heart broken

If you know anything about Selena Gomez, it's her long, tumultuous relationship with Justin Bieber. The pair was first linked in 2011 when Bieber was a teen heartthrob, and Gomez was America's sweetheart. They were spotted at red carpets and all kinds of events together. They first broke up in 2012 thanks to a cheating scandal and were then on and off for a few more years, calling it off for the last time in 2018, per Elle.

Much like her career on Disney, Gomez doesn't look back at that time in her life with any particular fondness. Gomez penned her 2019 hit "Lose You to Love Me" about their final breakup. "I felt I didn't get a respectful closure, and I had accepted that, but I know I needed some way to just say a few things that I wish I had said,” she explained to NPR. However, the truth was actually much darker than that.

In that same NPR interview, Gomez went on to reflect on how deeply damaging that relationship had actually been. Gomez claimed that she had been on the receiving end of a "certain amount" of emotional abuse from Bieber during their relationship. "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 in 2019.

Selena Gomez finally found a good partner in The Weeknd

After a rough road with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez had her next high-profile romance with The Weeknd at the age of 24 in 2016, per Billboard. Though the relationship was relatively short-lived, and the breakup was reportedly hard on The Weeknd, Gomez seemed smitten at the time. "I really am [happy]," she told InStyle in 2017. Gomez went on to explain that her relationship with The Weeknd had finally taught her how to be part of a healthy, respectful partnership. "It's great," she said. "I don't depend on one area of my life to make me happy. It's really important for me to love and nourish my friends and family and to make sure that I never get influenced by a guy."

Most importantly, though, Gomez and The Weeknd had a relationship based on friendship first. "I'm lucky because he's more of a best friend than anything else," she said.

And yet, it wasn't meant to be. The bulk of The Weeknd's 2018 EP is widely considered to be about his split from Gomez. "[The EP] was just like this cathartic piece of art. And yeah, it was short because that's all I had to say on this situation," he said to Esquire in 2018.

Gomez appeared to handle the situation better than her ex. "We ended it as best friends, and it was genuinely about encouraging and caring [for each other], and that was pretty remarkable for me," she told Billboard in 2018.

Selena Gomez opened up about her health struggles

Before you start thinking that Selena Gomez's life has been nothing but relationship struggles, allow us to fill you in on her ongoing health issues. Gomez was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic illness, in 2014, per Insider. The diagnosis made it difficult to work, forcing Gomez to cancel several shows and public appearances in 2016, per Healthline.

Gomez's health deteriorated to the point that she needed a kidney transplant. "I'm very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer," Gomez wrote in a September 2017 Instagram caption. "I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health."

Gomez thanked her friends, family, and team of doctors for their support during the physically and emotionally difficult time. Mostly, though, Gomez wanted to thank her friend, fellow actor Francia Raisa, who donated a kidney for Gomez's surgery. "There aren't words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa," she wrote. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much, sis."

The photo above of Gomez at age 25 with Raisa post-op stands as a testament to their friendship.

Selena Gomez became a business genius

We've followed Selena Gomez from her days as a child star to her days as tabloid arm candy through her health journey and kidney transplant. Now it's time to talk about Gomez's remarkable business acumen, by 2020, Gomez solidified her place as a force to be reckoned with in the business world. Let's back up a bit, though. The singer/actor/investor reportedly sits on an estimated fortune of more than $75 million. Gomez built her fortune through a combination of her creative endeavors (acting, singing, etc.) and clever business moves.

By 2016 Gomez was working behind the camera as an executive producer on the mega hit "13 Reasons Why." In addition to her producing roles, she's also raked in the dough from her sponsorships. Gomez has released a line with Coach and partnered with Puma, per Insider.

In 2020, Gomez made the leap from partner to own with the release of a makeup line. While Rare Beauty is monetarily successful, Gomez's desire to start a makeup line was about more than capital. "The whole time we were creating [Rare Beauty], we were always under the notion that this was going to be also about mental health and creating a safe place for people to connect," she told Allure in 2020 upon the launch of her brand. Gomez even went so far as to sign the "Rare Pledge" her company's commitment to donating $100 million to mental health initiatives.