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Why Selena Gomez fans are questioning her relationship with Benny Blanco

Selena Gomez and music producer Benny Blanco confirmed their romance in December 2023

Meredith Clark
New York
Thursday 16 May 2024 06:42 BST
Related: Selena Gomez Slams Exes While Defending Benny Blanco

More than two decades since the start of her career, Selena Gomez has constantly navigated the difficulties of leading a private life in the spotlight. From her ongoing mental health struggles and lupus diagnosis, to her public on-and-off relationship with Justin Bieber, the former child star has remained strong through it all.

Now, the Only Murders in the Building actor seems happily in love with her new boyfriend, music producer Benny Blanco. The pair have given fans glimpses into their relationship through PDA-filled posts on social media, while Blanco most recently declared he wants to start a family with the Rare Beauty founder.

Much like any pop star, however, fans of Gomez – affectionately nicknamed, “Selenators” – are seemingly protective over the “Same Old Love” singer amid her burgeoning relationship with Blanco. Their romance has made headlines in recent months, though Gomez has continued to defend the songwriter from online trolls.

Who is Benny Blanco, and why is his relationship with Selena Gomez facing backlash?

The 36-year-old Virginia native, whose real name is Benjamin Joseph Levin, rose to fame as a record producer and songwriter for a number of famous artists – including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera, Kesha, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Sia, The Weeknd, Kanye West, SZA, and Gomez.

Romance speculation between Blanco and Gomez started to emerge in July 2023, after they collaborated on her recent single, “Single Soon”. The pair later confirmed their relationship in December that year, when Gomez liked a post from celebrity news fan account PopFaction. Below the outlet’s Instagram post with the headline, “Selena Gomez Seemingly Confirms That She Is in a Relationship,” she commented: “Facts.”

Immediately after the Wizards of Waverly Place star confirmed she was dating Blanco, fans in the comment section called the music producer “unworthy” of her.

“I don’t understand,” Gomez wrote in response. “If you actually care about me. This is my happiest. If you don’t feel free to say whatever you want. But I will never allow your words to guide my life. Ever. I’m done. If you can’t accept me at my happiest then don’t be in [my] life at all.”

The Disney Channel alum replied to others, saying that Blanco is the best thing that’s ever happened to her and better than anyone she’s ever dated

“He has treated me better than any human being on this planet,” she added. “He is my absolute everything in my heart.”

Gomez also told trolls that she “feels bad” for them, adding that they know nothing about her personal life.

“Oh sweetheart,” her reply read. “I’ve been in therapy since I was 18. I know what’s best for me and I will fight till I get what I deserve. I appreciate your misguided input but I’m growing. Don’t feel free to grow with me just know that I’m not going to be with a f***boy ever again. Sorry to disappoint.”

While Gomez didn’t hesitate to defend her boyfriend from negative comments, that didn’t stop fans from unearthing previous comments that Blanco had seemingly made about Gomez prior to their relationship. Fans claimed the music producer had subtly shaded Gomez during an interview with Zach Sang in 2020. While promoting his recent collaboration with Bieber – the track, “Lonely” – Blanco critiqued “cookie-cutter pop stars” with makeup lines.

“Justin’s not one of those cookie-cutter pop artists,” he said at the time. “Like you know, they’re like: ‘This is my new single and here’s my makeup line.’ And he’s like, Justin’s like: ‘Yo. I have a pimple and I have anxiety today.’ He’s always been upfront about that stuff.”

“For me, I think he’s really falling into himself as an adult now,” Blanco added. “It’s brave to put this song out.”

Many fans believed his comments were directed toward Gomez, who had launched her cosmetics line Rare Beauty that year. The company launch coincided with the start of her Rare Impact Fund, a mental health focused initiative, in which one per cent of Rare Beauty’s annual sales go directly to the charity organisation. Gomez herself has been open about her bipolar disorder diagnosis, which she also revealed in 2020 after checking into a mental health facility.

The songwriter has received much attention for his social media antics and viral TikTok videos as well. Last February, Blanco – who recently published his debut cookbook, Open Widefaced backlash for his review of Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee. In a video posted to TikTok, the 11-time Grammy nominee called the chain’s adobo rice “butt” and described its fried chicken as “soggy as f***”.

As for the Jolly Spaghetti – which is a Filipino-style spaghetti topped with the chain’s “sweet-style” sauce, ham, ground meat, and pieces of hot dog – Blanco exclaimed: “What the f***? This smells like f***ing vomit.”

Unsurprisingly, Blanco’s review of Jollibee angered several members of the Filipino community, like one person who commented: “The Jollibee disrespect is wild. It’s sooo good.”

That same month, fans believed the music producer was throwing shade at model Hailey Bieber following the release of her viral Rhode Beauty phone case.

For those who are unaware, Gomez and Hailey have faced rumours of an alleged “feud” between them for nearly 10 years. Mere months after Bieber’s split from Gomez in May 2018, the “Baby” singer tied the knot with Hailey that September.

The supposed drama came to a head in March last year, when Gomez called for the online “hate” towards Hailey to come to an end. “Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity,” she wrote on Instagram. “This isn’t what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying.”

“I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop,” Gomez said.

The model thanked Gomez for issuing the statement, seemingly putting an end to the speculation surrounding their alleged feud. “I want to thank Selena for speaking out, as her and I have been discussing for the last few weeks how to move past this ongoing narrative between her and I,” Bieber said in a follow-up post.

Nevertheless, fans speculated that Blanco was shading Hailey’s Rhode phone case, which features a slot to hold lip gloss. The songwriter appeared to poke fun at the innovation when he shared a photo on his Instagram Story, showing his phone case with a huge hot dog on it.

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