Let's Not Make Justin and Selena 2018's Brad and Jen, OK?

If we’ve learned anything from the OG celebrity supercouple, it’s that sometimes things just don’t work out—no matter how much we want them to

Rachel Chen

Young Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez with faded old photo of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt in background

With Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin *finally* confirming their marriage to fans, it’s time to lay the Jelena narrative to rest—but ardent fans of Bieber’s relationship with Selena Gomez are refusing to move on.

That’s nothing new. We’ve seen it all before with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, who still can’t seem to escape their relationship despite divorcing over a decade ago. But if we’ve learned anything from Brad and Jen, it’s that sometimes things just don’t work out—no matter how famous and good-looking you are, and no matter how many perfect strangers yearn for your reconciliation.

So why can’t we just let Jelena go?

Our obsession with true love

We project our own hopes onto celebrities, and we’ve been raised on the idea of finding our one true love. Enter Gomez and Bieber, who first met as teens in 2009, and first confirmed they were dating in 2011. For at least seven years, they’ve been off and on—most recently last fall—so it’s no surprise that when Bieber and Baldwin got serious, tabloids were quick to cite “sources” that claimed Gomez thought Bieber’s engagement was a move to make her jealous. Reports were also quick to speculate over photos of Bieber crying after church, jumping to the conclusion that he was crying over Gomez’s recent alleged hospitalization for mental health issues. (Really though, boy could be crying over just about anything).

It’s all too similar to what went down with Pitt and Aniston. After the couple broke up in 2005, Pitt became half of another iconic Hollywood couple, Aniston went on to marry Justin Theroux and the Brad/Jen ’ship was supposed to die. However, to this day, tabloids continue to peddle rumours of a Brad-Jen reunion. Needless to say, the reconciliation rumours reached fever pitch after both divorced again—Pitt in 2016 (RIP Brangelina), Aniston earlier this year. Most recently, In Touch claimed the couple was expecting a “miracle baby.” (Apparently, George and Amal Clooney were the first to know!!)

Celeb romances aren’t actually rom-coms

If the Jelena love story was a teen romance movie, we’d expect the beautiful John Hughes-type of ending where after all the ups and downs, Bieber eventually swoops in to confess he’s always loved Gomez. (Hailey who?) Then, the credits would roll and we wouldn’t get to see what happens next—and as a result, they would always remain young and in love in our minds. In reality, Bieber and Gomez’s relationship had become so rocky that some fans turned it into a Dua Lipa “New Rules” meme (“don’t pick up the phone/ you know he’s only calling ‘cause he’s drunk and alone…”). Not exactly the stuff of fairytales.

Back in 2013, Aniston spoke about moving on from Pitt and finding love again, saying she would have advised her thirty-something self to “Go to therapy… Clean up all of the toxins and the noise. Understand who you are.”

Gomez deserves space to do the same. And instead of obsessing over what will likely never be for Jelena (*or* Brad and Jen) let’s start looking for healthier narratives—like Aniston offering Gomez support after her hospitalization. Women supporting other women! Now that’s true romance.


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