Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has spent much of her life on camera. But while other young stars growing up in the spotlight have come unstuck, Selena has remained poised, polite and wise beyond her years, in no small thanks to her humble beginnings watching her mum live paycheck-to-paycheck as a single parent.

She's also learnt a few lessons about love along the way…

Grand Prairie, Texas


Horoscope : Cancer

Selena Gomez was born in Grand Prairie, Texas on 22 July 1992 to actress Amanda 'Mandy' Dawn Teefey, then 16, and Ricardo Joel Gomez. When she was five her parents divorced and the youngster - named after Tejano singer Selena - was raised by her single young mum.

"I remember having a lot of macaroni and cheese, but my mom never made it seem like it was a big deal," she has recalled. "She was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to be a big responsibility. My mom gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me."

"It's because of (my mum) that I can do things on my own," she later said. "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."

Selena's interest in acting was also sparked by her mum, who used to take part in theatre productions, and aged seven, her own acting career began with a role on children's show Barney & Friends.

"A lot of people would be embarrassed to admit they were on 'Barney', but I embrace the fact," she has since said. "I just had such a wonderful time doing that show. I learned what a camera and prop is, and all that. I learned my manners too, so I guess that's a good thing".

Bitten by the acting bug, Selena had some minor roles, including a part in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, before she was discovered by the Disney Channel in a nationwide scout in 2004. She appeared on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and also Hannah Montana, before landing her own show, Wizards of Waverly Place, in 2007.

"I'm nothing like her," the young star said of her character, tomboy teen witch Alex. "She's kind of mean and a little bit sassy, and I think I'd get in trouble for that!"

The show's success led many to compare Selena to Disney's reigning princess Miley Cyrus. "It's a little overwhelming, but I think, really, it's a compliment," Selena said at the time. "She's obviously extremely successful, and I think she's wonderful performer… So being compared to her, I was very, very flattered."

Just like Miley, Selena also showed an interest in music, and before her 16th birthday signed a recording deal with Disney-owned label Hollywood Records. In 2009, she formed teen pop band Selena Gomez & the Scene, and in September they released their debut album, Kiss & Tell. Since then, they have released a further two studio albums and won numerous awards for their musical works, including six Teen Choice Awards, as well as VMA and MTV nominations.

Also in 2009, Selena appeared alongside close friend Demi Lovato in the made-for-television Disney movie Princess Protection Programme, which was watched by 8.5 million viewers. And two months later, Selena starred in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, which premiered to an audience of 11.4 million viewers.

In July 2010, Selena's first theatrical film, Ramona & Beezus, was released and she started work on Nicole Kidman-produced movie Monte Carlo, alongside Leighton Meester. That same year she also confirmed that the fourth season of Wizards would be the last. Since then, Selena's film resume has grown to include hit animation Hotel Transylvania, Spring Breakers alongside James Franco and Getaway with Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight.

As well as her blossoming and multi-faceted career, Selena is a keen philanthropist. At 17, she became the youngest ever UNICEF ambassador and has travelled with them around the world to help highlight the plights facing children.

Her caring nature is just one of the reasons Selena remains one of Hollywood's most popular stars among her peers. Her best friend is Taylor Swift, who explained what makes Selena so special in a 2012 interview. "She's so trustworthy, never judges you and knows how to listen," the country star said. "We've been friends for four years and she has been through so much with me that I can say we're almost sisters."

Of course, she has also caught they eye of the opposite sex. In 2008 she dated musician Nick Jonas and the following year was linked to Twilight star Taylor Lautner. But her most famous relationship to date has been with Justin Bieber.

In February 2011, the couple attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party together, ending months of speculation about a possible romance, and they quickly became a teen power couple. In November 2012, it was reported the couple head split after nearly two years together. They reconciled later that month, but decided to call time on their relationship for good at the start of 2013.