When the year kicked off, Gomez was already knee-deep in reports that she was dating pop heartthrob Justin Bieber. And while her love life dominated many of the headlines, her thriving acting and singing career also managed to make a few of its own.
In March, she dropped her single "Who Says," and explained that she wanted to empower fans with the feel-good track. "So I thought it was a sweet message," she explained. "With bullying, with cyberbullying, with all the negativity that is in high school and dealing with things, you're already trying to figure out who you are; it doesn't help when people are constantly trying to tear you down. And I'm dealing with it, of course. I'm going through it as well."
As she continued to prep for her 2011 tour and album release, she also focused on her acting career. In April she dropped her comedy "Monte Carlo." "It's a fun movie about three girls who try to go on a vacation," Gomez said of the big-screen summer romp. "And it ends up being horrible and my character gets mistaken for a British heiress, and they figure, 'What better way to make a horrible vacation amazing than to be a British heiress?' "
She finished filming her Disney show, "Wizards of Waverly Place," in May. And after being briefly hospitalized in June, she was back on the scene with her album When the Sun Goes Down. For her next video for "Love You Like a Love Song," the singer took fans on a wild karaoke-fueled bender through the '80s. She followed up the clip with stints as the VMA pre-show host and then hosted the MTV EMA in November.
Right before the holidays, she released one more video, the party clip for "Hit the Lights." "This one's saying that I'm at the point where I'm having fun with it. I'm not trying to be older. I'm not trying to be younger. I'm trying to explain where I'm at in my life, and I feel like that's what describes it, and having fun with my friends and it was beautiful and it was simple," she told MTV News. "I thought it was nice."
In 2012, she's set to film her "raw" role in the drama "Spring Breakers," and as she looks back on her own 2011 she explained that she felt "humbled" by it all. "I feel like this approach of this year, I wasn't expecting any of the things that happened," she said. "And so I just kind of want to go into the end of this year and the beginning of next year just excited and in a good place and not planning anything."