The speculation first began when TikTok user @klarissa.mpeg went viral for sharing a text exchange with her friend, who said she was Gomez and Malik’s hostess at an unnamed restaurant in Manhattan.
After explaining that her friend works at a celebrity hotspot in the city, she shared a screenshot of the WhatsApp message her friend had sent her on Thursday night. The text read: “Tell me how Selena Gomez and Zayn just walked into [restaurant] hand in hand making out and I seated them.”
Now, a report from Entertainment Tonight has furthered the romance rumours. An eyewitness claimed, “Selena and Zayn went out in SoHo in New York City last night at around 10:30 pm. They walked in holding hands and were kissing. Most restaurant staff and restaurant goers didn’t notice them. It seemed like they were comfortable together and it was clear that it was a date.”
The internet was sent into a frenzy on Friday as fans reacted to Gomez and Malik’s rumoured NYC outing. Some people praised the pairing, and likened it to something from their teenage days.
In the comments section of @klarissa.mpeg’s viral video, one user wrote, “I love this for her,” while another said: “Praying this is true.”
“I’m here for this,” tweeted one fan.
“I HAVE BEEN MANIFESTING THIS SINCE 2016,” said an excited Twitter user.
A third person tweeted nostalgic fan edits of Gomez and Malik, adding that “these zayn and selena editors since 2014 must be freaking out right now”.
However, some people were torn about the new celebrity pairing, considering both Gomez and Malik’s respective dating history. In 2017, the Disney Channel alum dated fellow singer The Weeknd for 10 months, following his breakup with model Bella Hadid. Meanwhile, the former One Direction member was in an on-and-off relationship with Bella’s sister, Gigi Hadid, for nearly six years. The two went on to welcome daughter Khai in September 2020.
“Taylor next friends dinner gonna be INTENSE,” tweeted one fan, referencing Taylor Swift’s years-long friendship with both Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid.
“idk why y’all want selena and zayn to happen like selena and gigi aren’t friends of nearly a decade,” another person tweeted.
The romance rumours come just weeks after fans noticed that Gomez recently followed Malik back on Instagram, while the Only Murders in the Building star is just one of 18 Instagram accounts the "Pillowtalk" singer follows.
Selena Gomez has previously been open about her dating life. Most recently, she was linked to Chainsmokers singer Drew Taggart after the two were spotted at a bowling alley together in January. “They aren’t trying to hide their romance by sneaking around at members-only clubs,” a source told Us Weekly at the time, adding that they are “very casual and low-key” and “having a lot of fun together.”
However, the Rare Beauty founder silenced the dating rumours when she wrote in a since-deleted Instagram story, “I like being alone too much,” with the hashtag "#iamsingle" at the bottom.
Earlier this month, Gomez poked fun at her relationship status with a TikTok video of herself lip-syncing to audio that said: “I hate it when girls are like, ‘Oh my God, my crush doesn’t even know that I exist.’ Like girl, my crush doesn’t even exist!"
She captioned the clip: “Still out here lookin for him lol.”
The Independent has reached out for comment.
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