Selena Gomez was one of many artists to pay tribute to Christina Grimmie over the weekend after the Voice singer’s tragic passing on Saturday (June 11). But Gomez was affected by the news on an especially personal level: The two singers had been friends since the very start of Grimmie’s career.
Before she appeared on The Voice back in 2014, Grimmie was actually discovered by Gomez's mom, Mandy Teefey, who stumbled upon her YouTube channel and was blown away by her cover of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On."
Mandy asked her husband, Brian Teefey, Gomez's stepdad, to get in touch with the 14-year-old Grimmie ASAP. Gomez’s parents would go on to serve as the teen singer’s managers at the outset of her career.
In 2011, Grimmie joined Selena Gomez and the Scene as the opener on their We Own the Night Tour. Their friendship blossomed, and Grimmie took major inspiration from her musical friend. “She’s been great,” Grimmie said of Gomez in a 2011 interview with MTV News. “I can’t explain it -- she was in my place at one point, but what I’ve learned from her is just to keep going.”
The pair even appeared together in a 2011 Kinect ad, in which they challenge the Scene to a game of virtual football.
Grimmie was there when Gomez went solo, too, opening for her friend on the North American leg of the Stars Dance tour. It was Gomez’s first major tour without her band.
Gomez broke down in tears during her concert in Miami on Saturday (June 11), just hours after news broke that Grimmie had died after a gunman opened fire on her during a meet-and-greet with fans in Orlando. The singer dedicated “Nobody” and “Transfiguration” to her longtime friend in an emotional tribute made all the more devastating by the two singers’ history together.