An emotional outlet. The Weeknd said that writing his Selena Gomez breakup songs was “cathartic” after their split in December 2017. Three months after their breakup, The Weeknd released his EP, My Dear Melancholy, which fans suspect is about his breakups from Gomez and his longtime girlfriend, Bella Hadid, whom he dated on and off from 2015 to 2019.
The Weeknd talked about the album in an August 2020 interview with Esquire. Though he didn’t mention Gomez or Hadid by name, he did confess that the writing the album was “cathartic” for what he was experiencing at that time. “The reason why it was so short is like, I think I just had nothing else to say on this…whatever…It was just like this cathartic piece of art. And yeah, it was short, because that’s all I had to say on this situation,” he said.
When asked if writing the album made him feel better, The Weeknd responded, “Yeah, of course. I mean, that would have sucked if I didn’t.”
The Weeknd and Gomez started dating in January 2017, two months after his breakup from Hadid. In October 2017, Gomez and The Weeknd moved in together at an apartment in New York City before their split a month later. After her breakup from The Weeknd, however, Gomez reunited with her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend, Justin Bieber. Their relationship lasted a couple months until their breakup in March 2018. (Bieber, for his part, has since married his ex-girlfriend Hailey Baldwin.) As for The Weeknd, the “Starboy” singer reunited with Hadid in May 2018 before their most recent split in 2019.
In an interview with Billboard in November 2017, Gomez opened up about her relationship with The Weeknd and how she was happy with how their relationship ended. “Something that I’m really proud of is that there’s such a true friendship [between me and The Weeknd]. I truly have never experienced anything like that in my life. We ended it as best friends, and it was genuinely about encouraging and caring [for each other], and that was pretty remarkable for me,” she said at the time.
The “Who Says” singer also talked about her reunion with Bieber. “I’m 25. I’m not 18, or 19, or 20. I cherish people who have really impacted my life. So maybe before, it could have been forcing something that wasn’t right. But that doesn’t mean caring for someone ever goes away,” she said.
She continued, “And [that goes for] people in general. I mean, I grew up with Demi [Lovato]. Nick and Joe [Jonas] and Miley [Cyrus]—we’ve gone through seasons in our lives. I don’t think it’s as serious as people make things out to be half the time. It’s just my life. I grew up with all of these people, and it’s so cool to see where everybody is. It comes back to the idea of me remaining full. I think a true representation of love is beyond just yourself. It’s me going to get coffee earlier this morning and talking with a woman who was celebrating her birthday and going to Disneyland for the first time. I told her about my favorite things there, and she got excited, and then I got excited because she was excited. The littlest things are impactful.”