Billboard's Woman of the Year Selena Gomez: A Timeline of Her Biggest 2017 Moments
Selena Gomez wasn’t named Billboard’s 2017 Woman of the Year for nothing.
This past year has been absolutely packed for the singer/actress/activist, from her struggle with lupus to a consistent stream of strong pop hits. Gomez spent her summer "laying low," aka releasing "Bad Liar" and "Fetish," among other work, and keeping her 130 million Instagram followers entertained, before revealing to the world that she had been recovering from a kidney transplant made necessary by her struggle with lupus.
Even so, Gomez is back to work and better than ever, wowing the American Music Awards crowd with the Marshmello collaboration "Wolves" and prepping for Billboard's Women In Music event, streaming live Thursday via Twitter at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Before her Women in Music honor, Billboard takes a look back at Gomez’s incredible year.
Jan. 15: In the studio with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter for “Issues”
Gomez posted her love for the two songwriters to Instagram in a post captioned, “When the people who changed your life create magic @imjmichaels @tranterjustin I'm so happy for you guys -one of my favorite songs they have ever written.” Gomez was in the studio with the pair prior to the Jan. 13 release of Michaels' breakthrough single, posting the adorable candid clip on Jan. 15.
Feb. 16: Teams up with Kygo for her first release of the year, "It Ain't Me"
Gomez collaborated with Norwegian DJ Kygo for this top 10 Billboard Hot 100 banger. The song, the first single from Kygo’s 2017 album Kids in Love, spent 29 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 10 in May.
March 16: Graces her first U.S. Vogue cover
For her debut on the cover of esteemed fashion magazine Vogue, Gomez opened up about the toll social media has taken on her, as well as finally having a bit of breathing room from strict schedules. “For a change, it feels like I don’t have to be holding my breath and waiting for somebody to judge a piece of work that I’m doing,” she said about her label letting her do her own thing. “I’m not eager to chase a moment. I don’t think there’s a moment for me to chase.”
March 30: Netflix's 13 Reasons Why is released
Nearly a decade after Jay Asher released the book Thirteen Reasons Why -- which made a much younger Gomez march into the author's office to sing the story's praises -- the Netflix series based on the tome arrived. Gomez acted as executive producer on the series, a role in which she claimed she “got a little controlling.” She posted this emotional response to Instagram: “After 7 years of holding onto this book, I couldn't of picked a better time for this message to exist. Jay Asher wrote a beautifully tragic, compelling story and we were lucky to have brought it to life. Thank you to every single soul that put their heart into this passion project.” She also provided a song for the soundtrack, “Only You,” which she released on the same day as the premiere.
Our show @13reasonswhy came out tonight and I couldn't be more overwhelmed with pride and joy. After 7 years of holding onto this book, I couldn't of picked a better time for this message to exist. Jay Asher wrote a beautifully tragic, compelling story and we were lucky to have brought it to life. Thank you to every single soul that put their heart into this passion project
April 23: Wizards of Waverly Place bro David Henrie gets hitched
The Wizards of Waverly Place gang got back together again when oldest brother David Henrie got hitched. Gomez posted an adorable photo set, with selfies and professional shots taken throughout the entirety of his special day. Henrie also posted an adorable message about the reunion, saying, “It was truly an honor to have my whole cast come to my big day! Couldn't be more blessed and appreciative of all that we did together... Many memories I'll never forget and always cherish.”
April 29: Hosts WE Day event
Gomez hosted the charity event for a second year, celebrating students finding volunteer opportunities in their own communities and across the globe. In a post on Instagram, Gomez stated her love for the event and why she keeps returning. "They have inspired and provided a platform to help kids and families be THE movement. They prove that you can do anything you set your mind to. No matter what age."
May 18: "Bad Liar" arrives
The singer sampled The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” bass line for a single that garnered almost unanimous praise from critics. Its accompanying video, released on June 14, gave the track a proper boost on the charts, bumping it from No. 45 to No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. TV director Jesse Peretz (Girls, Orange Is the New Black) helped Gomez step into several roles for the video -- including her own mother, a gym teacher, a high school student and a creepy principal -- just as he had for Foo Fighters’ 1999 single “Learn to Fly.”
June 20: Coach fall campaign debuts
Gomez -- who was named the new face of Coach in December 2016 -- starred in the company’s fall visuals, which were revealed in late June. The singer kicks back in a 1976 Plymouth Fury, rocking three different layered outfits to highlight three different bag styles: the Rogue, the Coach Swagger and the Edie.
July 12: "Fetish" song and read-my-lips video arrive
Gomez dropped the second single for upcoming SG2, titled “Fetish,” along with a bare-bones video directed by Petra Collins. Two weeks later, the fetish was expanded in a much more elaborate video, also directed by Collins, featuring a series of strange activities, including Gomez throwing groceries and putting her tongue through an eyelash curler.
Sept. 7: Time's Women Who Are Changing the World cover is revealed
Because of her massive following on Instagram, Gomez was honored on the cover of Time as one of the magazine’s Women Who Are Changing the World. Gomez was one of 12 women who graced the cover for this particular honor and one of 46 women profiled.
Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to wake up every day knowing there is so much going on in the world. At times I feel selfish, I ask why, I ask how can this change? Will it actually ever change? I try to contribute my heart before anything because it can be so easy to lose the desire to have hope when sometimes all I want to be is angry. When I read about the beautiful women who wake up consciously every day to make a change, it inspires me to want to do so much more. Not really sure how I got so lucky @time but thank you for highlighting the power of what we can and will always strive to be. I believe in the goodness in the land of the living. I hope this is just the beginning of more change.
Sept. 14: Gomez reveals she had a kidney transplant
In a lengthy Instagram post, Gomez revealed why she had been laying low over the summer (despite having released new music): “So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health.” She thanked the many family members and friends who had helped her through the tough time, including actress Francia Raisa, who had donated her kidney, which Gomez called “the ultimate gift and sacrifice.”
I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith
Sept. 14: Back to work!
Gomez was spotted on the set of her latest film project A Rainy Day in New York, an upcoming Woody Allen movie also starring Jude Law, Diego Luna, Liev Schreiber, Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning. The plot of the film is still unknown.
Sept. 18: Another design collaboration, this time with Puma
Gomez shared shots of her new athleisure wear for Puma to Instagram and Twitter, showing off adorable sports bras and velour tops in a short teaser. In a statement, Gomez said, “Being part of the PUMA family is very exciting for me. PUMA has changed the game when it comes to the mash-up of athletic wear and fashion. It’s amazing to see this influence on style and culture and I’m excited to be a part of it. I am hoping that we can create something special together. We already have some really cool projects in the works.”
Oct. 25: Running with the "Wolves" alongside Marshmello
After a steady stream of teasers, Gomez shared her emotional track with dance producer Marshmello. In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Gomez said the lyrics mirror exactly how she felt and what was going on while she was recording.
Oct. 30-31: Gomez talks to Today show about kidney transplant
Gomez and her friend and kidney donor Raisa opened up about the transplant and the pop star’s battle with Lupus in a two part interview. Raisa admitted that her relationship with God was what gave her courage to go through with the surgery. "The only answer I have is God, honestly," Raisa explained. "If I didn't have my relationship with God, I don't think I would have been able to." Gomez echoed her claims, saying, “"What I believe is that it does happen for a reason. I think a huge part of my discernment and my honesty and my truth has been because I've had a relationship with God."
Gomez also clarified that she didn’t want people to look at this as a sad occurrence in her life. "This, with Francia, or with anything in my life. Because at the end of the day, I think all the stuff that I went through made me and defined everything that I am right now. I think that it's a really beautiful thing, and I have to remind myself that. It's not a negative experience."
Oct. 30: Jelena is back... maybe
There’s not much clear about this situation yet, but on the same day that an unnamed source confirmed to US Weekly that Gomez had broken up with The Weeknd, she was spotted having brunch and attending a church service with former beau Justin Bieber. Read more into the situation in Billboard’s timelines of Selena’s relationship with Bieber and The Weeknd.
Oct. 31: Gomez named Billboard’s Woman of the Year
After a year packed with new releases and charitable giving, there was no doubt that Gomez was Billboard’s 2017 Woman of the Year. “Not only is Selena soaring on the charts, but she continuously inspires young women everywhere to be authentic, give back and to not be afraid to use their voice,” said John Amato, president of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group. “She is never afraid to speak her mind and has used her platform to advocate for the needs of others. We are thrilled to be able to honor her as our Woman of the Year.”
Nov. 19: Bringing the "Wolves" to the American Music Awards
The singer wandered through a smoky stage, away from a busted-up car and a possessed crew of dancers. Marshmello held it down on the drums side-stage, making Selena’s only televised performance this year one to remember.
Nov. 20: Lupus Research Alliance Gala
While acting as honorary co-chair at the Lupus Research Alliance’s 2017 Gala in New York, Gomez shared more details into her recent kidney transplant in a speech. "After undergoing so many tests to monitor my kidneys,” Gomez explained, “My doctors ... said that I would be needing a kidney transplant. Maybe I wasn’t necessarily really good at knowing what that meant, so it actually got to a point where it was life or death. Thankfully, one of my best friends gave me her kidney, and it was the ultimate gift of life." Gomez admitted that not everyone is as lucky as she was, to find a donor for an organ transplant. She added, “I am supporting the Lupus Research Alliance because they are getting results, and that’s what gives people hope."