Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber's romance burned bright, latterly erratic for years, but is now seemingly over for good. It's the end of an era. Based on recent comments by the two stars, it also brings to an end the popular Lifetime movie meets Gone With The Wind packaging of what was -- in reality -- a teen first-love relationship made larger-than-life by fame and relentless, ghoulish media scrutiny.
Fast forward past the former sweethearts' four-year, on-off relationship to Gomez's ongoing battle with Lupus, her multiple movie roles in the can, a more mature second solo album, Revival, now eyeing a No. 1 debut on Billboard's 200 Chart, and Bieber's equally muscular musical comeback, and the once golden couple are now facing separate futures as young adults with careers they have worked their whole lives for.
What I've learned is so vital More than just survival This is my #REVIVAL Now on @applemusic! http://t.co/SUblaaiKKn pic.twitter.com/1Rlozl72Jx
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) October 9, 2015
One month to go.... Been 3 years in the making. #nov13 #purpose pic.twitter.com/Zsi30mnWkD
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) October 13, 2015
After over a year of constantly talking about Bieber in interviews, the "Good For You" songstress is finally ready to stop name-checking Bieber. With respect to the current spin (that this is only because Gomez is always asked about her ex-boyfriend by the press), during her latest chat with Z100's Elvis Duran and on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show there was no mention of him, so it's clearly possible for her team to keep the topic off the table when they choose to.
Speaking to fashion and culture magazine Refinery29, Selena opened up about her sexier post-Disney image, new Revival album, body-shaming, and establishing her own identity as an artist and as a woman.
Gomez's comments about finally drawing a line under her teenage romance with Bieber are framed by the interviewer as her "final words on the matter."
"Of course I got my heart broken. Of course I was pissed about it," Selena says of her relationship with the Biebs, adding that she was "disappointed, because I never wanted my career to be a tabloid story."
However, unlike so many fawning media outlets, and some Gomez and Bieber fans, the Latina beauty readily admits that she isn't perfect and rejects the simplistic damsel in distress/villain dynamic foisted on the ex-couple's relationship by the press. Bieber's current role as pop culture's punching bag helped fuel those caricaturizations, but now the starlet is speaking up for herself.
"At this point, there is no anger. There's closure in a very good, healthy way," Gomez says firmly. "We've seen each other. I'm always encouraging, and I am proud of his journey. I think people are making it out to be something that is more tragic than it really was."
She concludes, "We grew up together. We both made mistakes. That's it."
At another point in the profile, she muses, "You can try to work on things and fix them, but at the end of the day, you have to accept what is in front of you, and that's sometimes hard to do." She added, "I think there are people who have been in my life who are seasonal. Even people who I have dated have been just that. It's part of growing up."
Gomez's view on her relationship with Bieber as a teenage courtship that produced love and heartbreak, but was also put under huge pressure by the tabloids and paparazzi, is a running theme throughout her interviews to date. Previously, she said of her ex, "I'll forever support him and love him in a way," and "I respect him. And I think he respects me, in a healthy manner."
With the New York Times, she alluded to previous criticism she endured because of her romance with the Biebs, as well as his current career resurgence, telling the newspaper, "While people were writing that I was stupid for being in it, this is what I always saw in him. I'm like, duh!"
Meanwhile, during press in New Zealand for his worldwide smash "What Do You Mean?" Bieber offered his perspective on his relationship with Gomez to the Mai Morning Crew on MaiFm when he was asked what he considered the best part of his teen years.
The 21-year-old replied, "Probably my relationship with my ex-girlfriend."
The Biebs shared a deeper take on his time with Selena in his recent Complex cover story, during which he revealed the intensity of their first love in a way that many will likely be able to relate to.
Asked what he thought was the biggest lesson from their relationship he initially joked, saying, "Don't fall in love," then said, "No, I'm just kidding. I learned a lot."
"I moved in with my girlfriend when I was 18," Justin recalled. He added, "Started my own life with her. It was a marriage kind of thing. Living with a girl, it was just too much at that age. But we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other."
He explained, "But when it's like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they're always going to disappoint you."
Bieber added, "Your full identity can't be in that person. My identity was in her. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin' mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other."
So that's that. Now that the dust has well and truly settled on Bieber and Gomez's youthful relationship, and both have moved on with their lives and careers, isn't it time we let them get on with it?
It's not a crime to make mistakes in a first love relationship and not go on to marriage, and we should stop treating it as such.
Check out Selena's full Refinery29 interview here, and her recent chat with Elvis Duran below.
[Images via WENN / Instagram]