Is Selena Gomez the inspiration behind HBO's The Idol?

Los Angeles, California - Amid the many controversies surrounding The Idol, Selena Gomez fans are now bashing the HBO TV show for allegedly drawing inspiration from the star's life for its storyline.

Selena Gomez (l.) fans are now convinced that the singer serves as the inspiration behind the character of Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp (r.), on The Idol.
Selena Gomez (l.) fans are now convinced that the singer serves as the inspiration behind the character of Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp (r.), on The Idol.  © Collage: Dimitrios Kambouris / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & IMAGO / Future Image

Even the biggest pop culture experts may have already forgotten about Selena and Gomez and The Weeknd's romance, as the pair dated briefly back in 2017.

Still, it seems the short-lived fling is more relevant than ever in 2023 as fans claim that The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, pulled from his ex's real life in co-creating The Idol.

Fans on social media have highlighted a number of similarities between the 30-year-old and Lily-Rose Depp's character of Jocelyn.

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Britney Spears Britney Spears conservatorship called back into question after drinking and drug use

To start with, both Gomez and Jocelyn are pop stars who got their start as child actors. On the more unsettling side, some argue that Tesfaye seems to have had no issue recreating the psychological challenges his former flame faced around the time they were dating.

So how convincing are these parallels exactly?

The series kicks off with Jocelyn canceling her world tour after her mother's death, a similarity to Gomez's decision to cancel her 2016 world tour due to mental health issues. The Idol also seems to mimic the Rare Beauty founder's subsequent come-back era, where she wore a hospital bracelet in the music video for her next single, Bad Liar. And what does Jocelyn wear in her photo shoot on the series? You guessed it, a hospital bracelet.

That's not the end of the similarities, and while not everyone is convinced, it's sparked yet another controversy for the drama series.

Who inspired the character of Jocelyn in The Idol?

Both Britney Spears (l.) and Selena Gomez are rumored to have served as inspiration for The Idol.
Both Britney Spears (l.) and Selena Gomez are rumored to have served as inspiration for The Idol.  © Collage: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire & KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Another major parallel stirring debate online is the scene in which Jocelyn starts a live stream and opens up about her mental health struggles and the pressure of the media spotlight. Gomez took similar action when she went live on Instagram with a candid discussion about the same topics in 2017.

There are a few other (but more minor) parallels, such as Gomez's and Jocelyn's assistants being both of their best friends.

It's worth noting that Tesfaye has admitted to drawing inspiration from fellow musicians, potentially alluding to the Hands to Myself singer's impact on the story.

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Olivia Dunne Olivia Dunne "feeling lucky" in perfect jeans for boyfriend's MLB game

Speaking at Cannes Film Festival, the Blinding Lights artist said that Jocelyn was "inspired by my experiences and experiences of other artists that I've witnessed — male, female."

Still, Gomez isn't the only name to be brought up in discussions about The Idol's inspiration. Many have also speculated that Britney Spears is another pop star who influenced Depp's character, and co-creator Sam Levinson responded to the speculation at Cannes as well.

"Look, I was a kid of the '90s, and [Spears] is one of the greatest pop stars of all time," he said, per Entertainment Weekly. He continued on to reiterate that the show isn't "trying to tell a story about any particular pop star." Instead, the team wanted to highlight the intense scrutiny these celebrities face.

Either way, The Idol continues to spark some intense backlash online in the wake of Sunday's divisive finale twist.

Cover photo: Collage: Dimitrios Kambouris / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & IMAGO / Future Image

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