Christina Grimmie’s shocking death has rocked the entertainment industry, but perhaps no one is more shocked by it than Selena Gomez. Not only did Grimmie open up for Selena on her Stars Dance and We Own the Night concert tours, but the talented young singer was actually discovered by Selena’s stepdad, and the two women have been close friends since they were teens.
The 22-year-old singer, who was fatally shot on Friday night while signing autographs for fans in Orlando, was like family to Selena Gomez. On Saturday, Selena took to Twitter to remember her friend with a throwback photo. Gomez wrote that her heart is “absolutely broken.”
An emotional Selena Gomez also paid tribute to her friend at her concert in Miami on Saturday night, less than 24 hours after Grimmie was killed. After revealing that she and her parents signed Christina when she was just 14 years old, a teary-eyed Selena performed the songs “Transfiguration” and “Nobody” in honor of the late singer. You can see video of Selena Gomez’ performance at the bottom of this article.
“One thing about Christina and her family is that she holds her faith so closely to her,” Gomez said to her Miami concert audience. “I think it’s not about a religion and it’s not about good deeds. I think she just had faith and I don’t really understand how this really happened, but I would like to dedicate this song to her.”
In 2011, shortly after she met Selena Gomez, Christina Grimmie told Seventeen that she was discovered on YouTube by Selena’s stepfather, Brian Teefey, who contacted her through her brother’s YouTube channel. The singer met with Teefey in May 2010 and he quickly became her manager. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship for the rising star and Gomez, who was already a superstar.
“I was 16 and in school at the time,” Grimmie said. “Brian (Selena’s stepdad) contacted my brother [on YouTube]…So then my brother texted me in the middle of school, like, ‘I really think Selena Gomez’s stepdad is trying to get a hold of you.’ I didn’t believe it; I had heard too many stories. But it ended up being true, and he came over our house. We discussed things and everything fell into place. It was amazing how it happened. I’m so blessed that they’re in my life. They’re literally like a family—Selena has been so encouraging ever since we got hooked up. It’s crazy! It’s very much a fairy tale.”
Grimmie said Gomez taught her a lot about the music business when she was just starting out, telling her to just be herself and “if your mike shuts off, or if you trip or do something stupid, keep going. ” But she was more than just a mentor to Christina; Selena Gomez was a true friend.
“When you think Selena Gomez, you think, celebrity,” Christina told Seventeen. “But really, she does so many things for me. She’s very caring. Before she goes on stage she’s a goofy girl. She’s fun-loving and totally lovable, which I say in the most honest way. She’s not even a celebrity to me; she’s just a really cool person.”
Not only did she first join Selena on tour in 2011, but Christina also teamed up with Selena Gomez and her band, The Scene, for a commercial for Kinect for Xbox.
More recently, in an interview with Hollywire, Grimmie said Gomez reached out to her when she competed on The Voice to wish her good luck. In fact, Selena Gomez frequently posted messages on Twitter showing her support and asking her fans to vote for her friend on the NBC talent competition. Grimmie ultimately finished in third place on Season 6 of The Voice, but with those Selena Gomez tour openings under her belt, she had already gone farther than most winners of The Voice.
While Christina was close friends with Selena Gomez, many fans took to Twitter social media to say that the singer’s tragic death reminds them of the death of another Selena: Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, who was shot and killed by her manager in 1995. Selena Gomez was actually named after Selena Quintanilla.
Selena Gomez’ stepfather set up a GoFundMe page for the family of the slain singer, telling People she was like “a second daughter to him.”
“Words cannot begin to describe the pain I am feeling,” Teefey told People. “I learned this business through the eyes of a father and Christina was like a second daughter to me. All I wanted to do was assist her in achieving her musical dreams while protecting her from the pitfalls associated with the business. I never could have imagined this horrific event being one of the pitfalls needing to be avoided.”
Indeed, Christina Grimmie’s shocking death came as she was doing what she loved: Interacting with fans and signing autographs after her show. Selena Gomez also interacts with fans; in fact, on her current tour, she takes a photo with fans at every venue.
But, in the aftermath of Christina Grimmie’s death, there is no doubt that stars will now be more careful when it comes to getting too close to the crowd, and some of them may even stop doing so for good. Sadly, Selena Gomez canceled the fan meet and greet after her Miami show on Saturday night, and her fun fan pics could become yet another casualty in the shocking death of her close friend.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]