In 2011, the highlight of the Vanity Fair Oscar Party was the romantic spark igniting between teenage pop stars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. The two started a passionate on-again, off-again relationship. So in 2014, when the Disney alum released the hit single, “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” fans were convinced it was about the celebrity couple’s love affair.
In March 2018, the duo finally called it quits. And by September of the same year, model Hailey (formerly) Baldwin had become the new Mrs. Bieber. While legions of fans assumed the song was about the “Baby” singer, Gomez set the record straight long ago.
Selena Gomez sang ‘The Heart Wants What It Wants’
The music video for the song opens with an emotionally raw monologue. Gomez says, “I know his heart, and I know what he wouldn’t do to hurt me.” Holding back tears, she exclaims, “You make me feel crazy. You make me feel like it’s my fault. I was in pain.” Fans and critics alike immediately deduced the singer was talking about Bieber.
In the bridge, Gomez sings, “Save your advice ’cause I won’t hear. You might be right, but I don’t care. There’s a million reasons why I should give you up, but the heart wants what it wants.” Bustle claims the lyrics refer to how she refused to take the advice of her best friend Taylor Swift, who suggested Gomez leave the tumultuous relationship.
The music video also included countless images of Gomez getting intimate with an often shirtless man. Many felt this was undeniably a nod to the “One Less Lonely Girl” singer.
According to ET, Gomez later admitted in an interview with On Air With Ryan Seacrest that while Bieber thought the music video was beautiful, it was “really hard” for him to watch. The Wizards of Waverly Place star jokingly added, “I think he was a little jealous of the video guy at first.”
Gomez’s song is about more than just Justin Bieber
According to the Inquisitr, “The Heart Wants What It Wants” attracted more than 10 million listeners on its first day. It received over nine million YouTube views within 24 hours of the music video’s release.
Gomez told Seacrest the song was about “every single person that has judged me for every decision that I’ve made, for every person, [and] heart that is being judged for something they’ve done.”
She continued, “I was trying to figure out what I’m doing, and that was the first time I was constantly being kicked down for doing that.” The artist added, “When I didn’t know, I just wanted to say, ‘This is what I want, this is where I am in my professional life, things changed in my personal life, things changed in my heart – everything.'”
Gomez had to lose Bieber to find herself
In 2019, Gomez released the hit single “Lose You to Love Me.” The song included the lyrics, “in two months, you replaced us / like it was easy.” Once again, fans presumed the song was about her tumultuous relationship with the “Peaches” singer.
Speaking to Ryan Seacrest again, she explained the song allowed her to enter “a new chapter” in her life post-Bieber. Gomez noted the connection between “Lose You to Love Me” and “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” seen in everything from the lyrics to the black-and-white motif. “I felt like going from there to go where I am now is like the greatest feeling,” the Rare Beauty founder concluded.