The relationship did not end well.
Painfully, low-flying tabloids kept it in the news cycle well after it was over to exploit them for page views.
While they were a storybook couple–at least in the media–it’s interesting to see the arc of their career trajectories since they’ve separated.
Bieber scored a commercial, if not critical, success last year with his fourth studio album, Purpose, long-awaited after a three year hiatus.
It debuted at No. 1 with the strongest sales for a male artist since Eminem released The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013.
But critics gave it only middling reviews and it finished out of the top 10 on Rolling Stone’s list of “20 Best Pop Albums for 2015.” Spin and Fuse ranked it even lower.
Ironically, the album’s theme was “Bieber the comeback kid,” according to Rolling Stone. “‘Sorry’ was his theme song. He spends Purpose learning lessons, begging for forgiveness and vowing to be a better Bieber,” wrote critic Rob Sheffield.
His fans bought it. But as is the nature of the music business, the album faded, as they all do. And Bieber faded with it, back into the wallpaper.
After his tour ended last November, he had nothing going. It’s a dangerous place to be for a product with a short shelf-life to begin with.
So what does he do? He lapses back into loutish behavior, with the surest way to get attention.
He’s snapped full-frontal naked on vacation with his topless girlfriend. Of course, the photos find their way into a tabloid and go viral.
Creepily, in the uncensored photo, he’s rocking half a hard-on. He looks boyishly insecure. He undoubtedly was fluffing to make it look bigger for the camera.
The photos were no accident. Last October, he was photographed the same way in Bora Bora. He even posted a photo of himself on Instagram showing off his ass.
But someone reminded him that pre- and young-teens are among fans who follow him.
“Hey I Deleted the photo of my butt on Instagram not because I thought it was bad but someone close to me’s daughter follows me and she was embarrassed,” he wrote in a follow-up post.
Then, he went out and allowed himself to be photographed full frontal again, a real class act.
Of course, Bieber was instantly compared with washed-up British actor Orlando Bloom, who was photographed full-frontal paddleboarding with girlfriend Katy Perry.
Who knows, maybe this is the new normal. Other male celebrities may soon be publicizing penis pics. as well. Until that happens, though, it’s still a pretty crass move to get attention.
Selena, meanwhile, has blossomed as an artist since the breakup.
Her second solo album, last year’s Revival, scored well with critics and debuted at No 1, outselling her previous album. It finished at No. 5 on Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Pop Albums for 2015.
Her movie career also continues to rock. She appeared in three films last year and three films this year: “The Fundamentals of Caring,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “In Dubious Battle,” a 1930s drama based on a John Steinbeck novel.
She’s also made major inroads in fashion, including her own brands. She hasn’t shied away from her own sexuality, but so far has yet to appear anywhere nude.
In short, she’s been a total class act.
It’s hard to understand what she saw in Bieber in the first place.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.