Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez’s friendship is anything but simple. The two have been friends—on and off—for more than 17 years and have experienced several phases of their careers together, from their Barney days to their Disney Channel years to their current lives as mega-pop-stars and tabloid fixations. And like most longterm relationships, Lovato and Gomez have had their complications. There have been breakups, makeups and everything in between. There’s been shade thrown and compliments given. But at the end of the day, the longtime friends always seem to find a way back to each other.
For those of us who grew up in the late ’00s, Lovato and Gomez were the pinnacle of friendship. They walked red carpets together, gave interviews together and vlogged funny inside jokes that only best friends knew. But over the years, the singers have grown apart. They’ve unfollowed (and refollowed) each other on social media and made new and closer friends along the way. We don’t know if Lovato and Gomez are still friends (they’re currently in the unfollowed stage), but judging from their history, we have a feeling that they’ll reconcile someday. Until then, check out this timeline of their 17-year friendship.
2002 – Barney and Friends
Lovato and Gomez’s friendship began in 2002 when they starred on Barney and Friends from 2002 to 2004. Gomez played a character named Gianna, while Lovato played a character named Angela. “She and Demi were auditioning for the same things because they were the same age, they were both Hispanic, they both had dark hair—so she ended up going to a lot of auditions with us,” Lovato’s mom, Dianna De La Garza, told People in 2018. “They started out together! We had some great times together. They will always will love each other. There’s nothing that will ever come between them.”
January 2008 – Their First Vlog
While they were starring on the Disney Channel (Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place and Lovato on Camp Rock and Sonny with a Chance), Gomez and Lovato spent their spare time vlogging. The vlogs ranged from inside jokes to stories about their days, but each one promised laughter from the best friends.
“And this is my best friend in the entire world,” Lovato said in her firstvlog with Gomez, published January 2008.
“And this is my best friend ever since we were seven years old,” Gomez responded.
“On Barney!” Lovato added.
August 2008 – Teen Choice Awards
Gomez and Lovato made their awards show debut together at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, where they were seen hugging, laughing and taking photos with The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.
May 2009 – Princess Protection Program
Gomez and Lovato starred in their first film together, Princess Protection Program, a Disney Channel original movie, in May 2009. The film, which was the first time the friends filmed together since Barney, follows a foreign princess (played by Lovato) who enters a protection program and meets an American teenager (played by Gomez) who teaches her how to live the American teenage lifestyle. Lovato and Gomez also released a song together titled “One and the Same” for the movie’s soundtrack.
July 2009 – People spread
In their first—and only—magazine spread together, Gomez and Lovato shot for People in 2009. In an interview that accompanied the photoshoot, Gomez and Lovato talked about their friendship and what a hangout with the best friends would be like. “We enjoy doing everything together. But our favorite is to chill at each other’s houses,” Gomez said.
January 2010 – “Ask Taylor”
First talk of a feud between Lovato and Gomez started in January 2010. Lovato was taking photos with fans outside her hotel in London when one asked her how Selena was doing. Lovato responded, “Ask Taylor!” referring to Taylor Swift. The comment was around the time Gomez and Swift’s friendship started blooming, while Lovato was becoming closer with Miley Cyrus.
May 2010 – Demi Suggests Selena Wasn’t a “True Friend”
In a May 2010 interview with Girl’s Life, Lovato talked about her relationship with Gomez, and how have grown apart. She also threw some not-so-subtle shade, suggesting that Gomez wasn’t a “true friend.” “We’re both busy, and I wish the best for her,” Lovato said. “True friends don’t let their friends or family be mean to you. If you can’t trust somebody, you can’t be friends with them.”
November 2010 – Selena Supports Demi After She Goes to Rehab
Lovato made headlines in November 2010 when she withdrew from her tour with The Jonas Brothers and entered rehab. After leaving rehab in January 2011, Lovato decided to live in a “sober house.” In a 2013 interview with Television Net, Lovato revealed that Gomez was one of the first people to reach out to her when she was in rehab.
“Nick especially—he’s always been there for me. And Selena because she called me crying when I was in there and was just so worried,” Lovato said. “I was like, ‘Look, I should be the one crying, it’s all good!’ But she was so worried and ever since then we’ve gotten closer.”
April 2011 – Teen Choice Awards
After rekindling their friendship, Lovato and Gomez walked the red carpet together at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards. They even recreated their signature red carpet pose—back to back with interlocked arms—which they came up with when they were kids, dreaming of walking a red carpet together some day.
April 2013 – Supporting Each Other’s Music
Both Gomez and Lovato released new music around April 2013. Gomez released her song, “Heart Attack,” while Gomez released “Come and Get It.” After their releases, the friends took to social media to compliment each other’s new music. “Umm.. obsessed with Come & Get It – @selenagomez. So happy for you lady. #LiterallyOnRepeat!!!” Lovato tweeted, while Gomez tweeted a screenshot of “Heart Attack” with some smiley faces.
May 2013 – Demi Confirms She and Selena Are Still Friends
In a 2013 interview with MTV, Lovato talked about her complicated relationship with Gomez, and how the two are in a good place with each other. “We’ve been through a lot together, we’ve had periods of times we here we grew apart and we just didn’t really talk,” Lovato said. “Now we are in a place where I think we realized that life is so short and that when you have people in your life that love you so much then, you should just always be around them. She’s going to be a big sister, and I want to be around for that. Everything about her, she has a great soul, she’s talented, she’s beautiful, and she will always be really, really close to my heart.”
November 2013 – First Instagram Together in Years
In 2013, Gomez and Lovato posted their first Instagram together in years. The picture was a mirror selfie of the best friends hugging and faking kisses. “It’s just the evidence of forever. No matter what @ddlovato,” Gomez wrote in the caption.
July 2014 – Demi Unfollows Selena
Lovato surprised fans in July 2014 when she unfollowed Gomez on Twitter and Instagram. According to fans, she also tweeted and deleted the following meme of her swimming, with the caption, “Swimming away from your bullshit. Bye bitch.”
August 2014 – Demi Explains Why She Unfollowed Selena
In a 2014 interview with Watch What Happens Live, Lovato broke her silence on why she unfollowed Gomez and the current state of their friendship. “Are people reading too much into it?” Lovato said “Are they reading into something that doesn’t exist? I think it’s just one of those things where people change and people grow apart.”
August 2015 – Demi Refollows Selena; Selena Wishes Her a Happy Birthday
August 2015 marked Lovato and Gomez’s second reconciliation after Lovato refollowed her childhood best friend and Gomez wished Lovato a happy birthday on Twitter. “@ddlovato IM so grateful you were born. #nomatterwhat #forever #haveTHEbestbday ” Gomez tweeted.
September 2015 – Silly Selfie
A month after refollowing each other on social media, Lovato shared a silly selfie of them on Instagram, name-dropping both their songs, “Same Old Love” (Gomez) and “Cool for the Summer” (Lovato). “Look at how #coolforthesummer we are.. Friends for years, #sameoldlove ” she wrote in the caption.
September 2017 – Demi Calls Selena ‘Strong’
After Gomez’s kidney transplant and lupus battle in the summer of 2017, Lovato told People about how “strong” she thought her best friend was. “I think that she is a very strong woman,” Lovato said. “I’m very happy and proud of her.”
October 2017 – InStyle Awards; Selena Compliments Demi’s Documentary
October 2017 saw a lot of love between Gomez and Lovato. After releasing her YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, Lovato received a comment from Gomez, who told her, “This was beautiful. I’m so happy for you. You always continue to be bold and real. I wish more people were like you. Love you.” Lovato responded, “@selenagomez thank you so much, this means the world to me and more. Love you too.” That month also marked a rare red carpet appearance from both Lovato and Gomez at the InStyle Awards in Los Angeles.
November 2018 – Demi Unfollows Selena on Instagram
Following her overdose in July 2018, Lovato unfollowed several of her longtime friends on Instagram, including Gomez, Iggy Azalea and Nick Jonas. According to a source for Entertainment Tonight, the unfollow spree was part of Lovato’s journey to become sober. “She needs to surround herself with those that support her goals and to stay away from any negativity,” the source said. “Demi has come a very long way. She’s grown emotionally and matured a great deal through this process. She realizes there is no quick fix and has accepted the fact she needs to take this one day at a time. She still has a sober companion and she has built a very strong support group.”