Selena Gomez grew up in the spotlight, landing her first acting gig at the age of ten. By the time she turned 16, she was a well-known Disney Channel star with a burgeoning pop music career.
Now in her 30s and one of the world’s most high-profile celebrities, she has her mom and dad to thank for helping her break into the biz at such a young age. Here’s the inside scoop on Selena Gomez’s parents, Mandy Teefey and Rick Gomez.
Selena’s Parents Got Pregnant With Her As Teenagers
Selena Gomez was born on July 22, 1992. Her Mexican-born dad, Ricardo (Rick) Gomez, and Texas-born mom, Amanda (Mandy) Cornet, were high school sweethearts.
Mandy was just 16 years old when she gave birth to Selena in Grand Prairie, Texas. Rick and Mandy tied the knot soon after Selena was born but ended up divorcing when their daughter was just five years old.
Mandy Primarily Raised Selena After The Divorce
After the young couple split, Mandy took on the primary responsibility of raising Selena. Now a single mom in her early 20s, Mandy struggled to provide for her daughter. The pair frequently had financial troubles and Selena says she remembers feeling resentful and blaming her mom for the difficulties they faced.
“I blamed my mom a lot [for the divorce] because I wanted a family so bad,” Gomez said in a 2011 E! Entertainment special. “I wanted to have my mom and dad together. I remember just being angry with my mom. I still feel really bad about that.”
The “Same Old Love” singer says she now realizes how difficult it must have been for her mom to raise a child on her own at such a young age. “Having me at sixteen had to have been a big responsibility,” Selena said. “My mom gave up everything for me and had, like, three jobs. She supported me, sacrificed her life for me.”
Mandy Inspired Selena To Go Into Show Business
Mandy worked on stage productions when Selena was young, which was what piqued the Only Murders in the Building star’s interest in performing. Mandy was fully supportive of her daughter’s dreams and began taking her on auditions.
In 2002, a then-10-year-old Selena landed her first big break as a regular on the popular children’s show, Barney & Friends. After that job ended in 2004, the young actress booked a number of guest roles, including a recurring part on the Disney Channel hit Hannah Montana.
In 2007, Selena moved with her mom to L.A. after winning the leading part of Alex Russo on a new Disney Channel show, Wizards of Waverly Place.
Mandy Married Talent Manager Brian Teefey in 2006
By the time Selena landed her star-making role on Wizards of Waverly Place, she was being professionally managed her by mom and new step-dad, talent manager Brian Teefey. Teefey married Mandy in 2006 and the trio lived together in Los Angeles while Selena’s career took off.
In 2011, Brian and Mandy learned they were expecting a daughter but ended up losing the child in a miscarriage. In June of 2013, Mandy gave birth to Selena’s half-sister, a healthy baby girl named Gracie Elliott.
Selena And Mandy Are Known For Their Close Relationship, But They Have Reportedly Fallen Out Several Times
Selena credits her mom with teaching her how to navigate working life and handle adult responsibilities at a young age. “It’s because of [my mom] that I can do things on my own,” the Spring Breakers star said in a 2012 interview with Glamour.
“I like being professional. I like showing up on time. I like being good to people, and I know that I’m reflecting her at the end of the day.”
But that doesn’t mean Mandy and Selena haven’t butted heads over the years. In 2014, the Princess Protection Program star ended her professional relationship with her mother and step-father. While some reports claimed the pop star fired them without notice, Mandy says it was a mutual decision that was in everyone’s best interest.
“We never expected to manage [Selena] her whole life,” Mandy told Suggest in 2018. “We lost family time because the only time we saw her, we talked business. It was no longer fun for any of us, like it was when she was younger and we had to be with her because she was a minor.”
In the same interview, Mandy admitted that she wasn’t thrilled when her daughter reunited with ex Justin Bieber in 2017, but understood that her daughter was all grown up and could make her own decisions. “Selena can live her life however she wants as long as she is happy, safe, and healthy,” she said.
Mandy And Selena Still Work Together
Selena and her mom are still very close and have continued to collaborate on projects. Through their production company, July Moon Productions, they produced the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and the 2020 romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery.
In 2022, the mother and daughter teamed up with media entrepreneur Daniella Pierson to launch WonderMind, a website dedicated to fostering mental health awareness.
“We want to be that place where people feel comfortable to talk about the things under the hood,” Selena explained in an interview with Good Morning America. “I really want people to be understood and seen and heard. It’s OK to not be OK.”
Rick Was Less Involved In Selena’s Life After The Divorce
So what about Selena Gomez’s dad? According to the “We Don’t Talk Anymore” singer, he would take her out for dinner when she was a kid.
“When I was seven, my dad would go to Hooters to watch Spurs games. But he started noticing that when I would come, with my little pigtails, all the waitresses would be like, ‘Hey!’” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “So he ended up half spending time with me but with all those cute girls coming over. And that kind of became our thing.”
Rick eventually remarried a woman named Sara and Selena became a step-sister to Sara’s young son, Marcus. In June of 2014, the couple welcomed Selena’s half-sister, Victoria, into the world.