TBT: Selena Gomez Threw The Weeknd a $30,000 Birthday Party at Dave & Buster's
It was one of their favorite date-night spots.
Who: Grammy-nominated singer, actress, and Rare Beauty founder Selena Gomez, 30, and four-time Grammy-winning singer, producer, and actor The Weeknd (born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), 33.
How They Met: In November 2015, Selena and The Weeknd met at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, where they both performed. However, at the time, they were dating other people — Selena had recently reunited with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Justin Bieber, while The Weeknd was seeing supermodel Bella Hadid.
Just over a year later, they were both single and seemingly ready to mingle, as they were spotted kissing during a romantic dinner date at Giorgio Baldi. And a few weeks after their first date, they jetted off to Italy together.
The next month, Selena attended several of The Weeknd’s concerts during the European leg of his Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour. She also rented out one of their favorite date night spots, Dave & Busters, for his 27th birthday party to the tune of $30,000.
After attempting to keep their relationship under wraps for several months, they officially went Instagram official with a cute couple selfie at Coachella in April 2017. Revealing why she decided to go public with their relationship finally, Selena told Ryan Seacrest during a SiriusXM interview that it partly had to do with her mental health.
“It’s really hard when I would want to spend so much time hiding things,” she said. “It’s too much pressure, and I think everyone gets over everything eventually. I just want to be happy. If that’s me just being myself, then I don’t really care.”
"Obviously, she's referring to The Weeknd," Seacrest added before Gomez corrected him, saying: “Abel…that’s so weird.”
When asked if she was still happy with Abel for InStyle’s September 2017 cover story, Selena responded: “I really am. It's great.”
Though, she was quick to clarify that their relationship doesn’t define her. “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,” she continued. “I've wanted to be in a strong headspace for years, and I really wasn't. Before, I was so young and easily influenced, and I'd feel insecure. You want someone to add to your life, not to complete you, if that makes sense. I'm lucky because he's more of a best friend than anything else."
Related: TBT: Justin Bieber Rented Out the Staples Center to Watch 'Titanic' With Selena Gomez
Why We Loved Them: While they were only together for ten months, Selena and The Weeknd supported each other like a couple who had been dating for years.
Selena, for her part, traveled to ten different countries (Italy, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, France, the US, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina) and three continents over the course of a few months so that they could be together during his world tour. And when Selena couldn’t make it to a concert, Abel would fly thousands of miles to be with her (he once notably flew 11.5 hours from Paris to Los Angeles to see her for her birthday IRL).
It’s also been reported that The Weeknd scheduled several of his shows around Selena’s kidney transplant surgery that summer. According to People, the singer was in between dates of his tour from July 22 through Aug. 6, then again until Sept. 6. He canceled a show last-minute on Aug. 26 and was a no-show to the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards — despite being announced as a performer.
When They Peaked: Nothing showcased Selena’s newfound happiness more than when she and Abel made their red-carpet debut at the 2017 Met Gala. They were photographed kissing, hugging, laughing (all of the above) — and according to E! News, Selena was heard whispering “I love you” in Abel’s ear.
The Breakup: On Oct. 30, 2017, it was announced that Selena and The Weeknd called it quits on their 10-month relationship. Coincidentally, a few days earlier, Selena was spotted at church and grabbing breakfast with her ex Justin Bieber in Los Angeles.
But sources swore Justin had nothing to do with the split and, instead, blamed distance for their breakup. “She and Abel have been going back and forth for a few months about their relationship,” an insider shared at the time. “It’s been hard with him being on tour and her shooting in New York. That wasn’t easy on them.”
A month later, Selena spoke about their breakup for the first time, revealing that she and Abel were still best friends despite no longer being romantically linked. "Something that I'm really proud of is that there's such a true friendship [between me and The Weeknd]," she told Billboard. "I truly have never experienced anything like that in my life. We ended it as best friends, and it was genuinely about encouraging and caring [for each other], and that was pretty remarkable for me."
Where They Are Now: Selena reconciled with Justin Bieber immediately following her split from The Weeknd in November 2017. But their reunion was short-lived, and the two broke up four months later. Since Justin, Selena hasn't dated anyone seriously but has recently been linked to The Chainsmokers' Drew Taggart, as well as another Hadid ex, Zayn Malik, this year.
With her love life on hold, Selena has been putting all of her focus on her career. In 2020, Selena came out with her first album in five years, Rare, and also launched a beauty brand by the same name. Gomez currently has a starring role in the Hulu mystery series Only Murders in the Building and was nominated for an Emmy as an executive producer on the show.
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Like Gomez, The Weeknd seemingly reconciled with his ex, Bella Hadid, weeks after his breakup with Selena. The two sparked reunion rumors once more in April 2018 at Coachella and a month later after sharing a kiss at Cannes. They went on to date for a little over a year, and Abel is now reportedly with DJ Simi Khadra.
The Weeknd's music career has continued to be a major success. A year after his split from Selena, he released the album, My Dear Melancholy, with the song "Call Out My Name" seemingly about the songstress. He went on to release two more albums — After Hours and Dawn FM — and will star in the new HBO Max series The Idol (which he also created and produced) in June.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
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