Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. He's "banned," she's "drunk," or so they say. And 'they' - whoever they are - it doesn't really matter at this point - are saying a lot.
In a post that contains not one quotation mark attributed to Bieber, TMZ claims the 19-year-old "Boyfriend" singer - who has a lot going on at present - believes Selena and her family are scapegoating him for her recent rehab stint. It's further alleged Justin and his friends are laughing at this because Gomez is a drunk who often out-smoked them.
The claim follows Wednesday's news that Selena secretly checked into Arizona's Dawn at The Meadows recovery center on January 5, for two weeks in a program for patients aged 18 through to 26 who are, "struggling with emotional trauma and dependence, addiction, or dual diagnosis concerns."
Gomez's rep's statement, given to major media outlets stated, "Selena voluntarily spent time at Meadows but not for substance abuse."
Later on Wednesday, a source who sounded close to Gomez's camp, explained to E! News that her friends and family were concerned the 21-year-old was slipping back into an on-off cycle with Bieber when pictures of the pair riding Segways surfaced on January 2.
"The last straw was seeing them on the Segways," the source said, adding Selena went into rehab because "she needed to work on her emotional life. She needed to learn tools on how to deal with Justin and letting go of that relationship."
"This is the first time she's ever taken the time to deal with issues, to deal with herself, with a therapist," the insiders added, while noting the starlet "just needed to clear her head."
(Photo via Instagram)
All hell seems to have broken loose when two days later, Bieber posted a surprise Instagram of himself wrapped in Selena's arms as she looks tenderly at him. Justin captioned it, "Love the way you look at me."
Gomez's parents apparently didn't, and the Disney alum checked into Dawn at the Meadows the next day.
The actress completed 14 out of 45 days at Dawn, made use of a permitted 72-hour leave pass to attend Utah's Sundance Film Festival to promote William H. Macy's Rudderless in which she stars - completely contradicting alarmist reports that she'd bailed on rehab - and decided she was well enough to go home after her appearance rather than return to Dawn.
Since then, Radar Online --- whose "graphic text exchange" item still stands as a low-point in fake gossip --- Hollywood Life, TMZ, Star, the National Enquirer and the rest, have piled on with tales of Gomez's alleged drug and drink use amid nonsense that Bieber bragged that he took "her virginity."
Question: Over three years of countless interviews when has anyone ever heard Bieber refer to Gomez in less than glowing terms? But all of a sudden an unnamed 'best friend' pops up to reveal he kissed and told? It's a hit piece. Nothing more, nothing less.
So, now, we have arrived at a new point in the pair's news cycle share. One where quotation marks are dispensed with and absolutely anything goes, because Bieber's team rarely speak directly to the press and are currently wading through his legal maelstrom.
(Photo: via Instagram)
Like millions of other teen relationships the former couple --- who first began dating in 2010, split in November 2012, then tried unsuccessfully to recreate their glory days --- the Latina starlet and Canadian idol have now descended from the soap-opera of "Jelena" to the much more adult arena of the gossip-machine shredder.
There's nothing left now but accusations contrived in brightly-lit entertainment news offices and a readership of children that lap up the fodder they are served.
It was bad enough when Gomez and Bieber were on speaking terms and could ensure each knew where they stood when stories hit the fan. Now that it's fairly certain they aren't talking again damage is harder to undo, and bottom-feeder websites know they have free rein to run claims that can't - and probably won't - be addressed.
We are the adult journalists and writers who partake in the feeding on other people's lives. Some do it well with wit, integrity, and style. Others, not so much.
For some celebrities the noise doesn't touch them. They are sure of themselves, their career and their place in the world. But when it comes to teenagers who separated just last year and have dealt with turbulence since --- Selena's pull-out from her Stars Dance tour Australia leg and Bieber's everything --- there will be scars.
"But we no longer live in the real world; we live in the cyber world, where any story can be resuscitated at any time for the entertainment of the masses, no matter the effect on the very real people involved.