7 Creepy Clues That The Weeknd Based 'The Idol' Main Character On His Ex Selena Gomez

Did The Weeknd take from Selena Gomez's life to create the character of Jocelyn?

Selena Gomez, The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp DFree / Shutterstock, HBO

As viewers gear up for the fifth and final episode of Sam Levinson's highly controversial HBO show, "The Idol," many eagle-eyed fans have begun to notice eerie similarities between the main character and a famous pop singer.

"The Idol" stars Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn, a troubled singer who has returned to the spotlight after experiencing a nervous breakdown, and The Weeknd as Tedros, a manipulative and abusive self-help guru who begins a toxic relationship with Jocelyn. 


The show has received a slew of backlash, even before it premiered on HBO earlier this month, with many people describing it as "sexual torture porn" and a "rape fantasy." However, viewers are now also criticizing The Weeknd, who created the show alongside Levinson, for creating Jocelyn using details from his ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez's, life.

Here are 7 reasons why fans think 'The Idol' was inspired by Selena Gomez's career.



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1. Jocelyn wears a hospital bracelet during a photoshoot.

In the show's first episode, Jocelyn is seen posing for her album cover while wearing a hospital bracelet left over from her time in a mental facility. 

After the scene aired, many fans pointed out that the shot seemed quite similar to when Selena Gomez also posed wearing a hospital bracelet while promoting her song "Bad Liar" in 2017, which was also during the time that the singer was dating The Weeknd.

At the time, Gomez had been seeking treatment for Lupus, a condition that the "Only Murders In The Building" star has been open and honest about with the media and her fans.

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2. Both Jocelyn and Gomez posed topless for a photoshoot.

In the opening of the first episode, Jocelyn is seen posing seductively for a photo shoot for her album as she slides off her nightgown to get partially nude.

While the finished album cover wasn't a replica of Gomez's cover for her 2015 album "Revival," it didn't stop many fans from noticing the similarity. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter for their Comedy Actress Roundtable in 2022, Gomez admitted that she felt "ashamed" of that shoot.

"I actually did an album cover and I was really ashamed after I did it," the "Rare" singer revealed.


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3. Jocelyn and Gomez are both child stars.

In the first couple of episodes of "The Idol," it's explained that Lily-Rose Depp's character started as a child star and has been in the industry since she was fairly young, contributing to the mental health issues that she has suffered from.

The same can be said for Gomez, who began her career after securing a role on "Barney & Friends" when the pop singer was still young. Gomez also gained popularity as the main star on Disney's "Wizards Of Waverly Place."

In a February 2023 interview with Vanity Fair, Gomez opened up about the pressure she felt being a child star and how she sometimes gets "triggered" by her Disney past. 


"I definitely feel free of it. Sometimes I get triggered. It's not that I'm ashamed of my past, it's just that I've worked so hard to find my own way," Gomez admitted. "I wasn't a wild child by any means, but I was on Disney, so I had to make sure not to say 'What the hell?' in front of anyone. It's stuff that I was also putting on myself to be the best role model I could be."

4. Jocelyn canceled her tour due to her mental health.

Before the events on the show, it's explained that Jocelyn was forced to cancel her world tour due to having a "mental breakdown" following the death of her mother.

In 2016, Gomez announced that she would be canceling her Revival tour because of health concerns. "I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," Gomez told People Magazine.

"I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off."


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5. Jocelyn and Gomez have close relationships with their assistants.

Probably one of the most obvious similarities that have fans believing Selena Gomez inspired the character of Jocelyn on "The Idol" is Jocelyn's close relationship with her assistant and best friend, Leia, played by Rachel Sennott.

In the show, Jocelyn and Leia are meant to have been friends for most of their lives, with Leia now working as Jocelyn's personal assistant. The two girls often collaborate on projects together, and Jocelyn goes to Leia for advice about her career.

The same can be said for Gomez, who has been open about her close relationship with Theresa Mingus, who works as the singer's executive assistant. Mingus and Gomez have even collaborated on Mingus' swim line, La'Mariette.


6. Both Jocelyn and Gomez want to be taken seriously as artists.

One of the main issues that Jocelyn seems to have with her career in "The Idol" is fearing that people won't take her music seriously. It's one of the reasons why Jocelyn gravitates toward Tedros, played by The Weeknd, feeling as if his vision for her career is what is going to help her succeed.

In a March 2021 interview with Vogue, Gomez revealed that she was considering retiring from music because she felt people didn't take her seriously as a musician.

"It's hard to keep doing music when people don't necessarily take you seriously," Gomez told the publication. "I've had moments where I've been like, 'What's the point? Why do I keep doing this?' 'Lose You to Love Me' I felt was the best song I've ever released, and for some people, it still wasn't enough."

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7. Jocelyn's Instagram Live rant is similar to Gomez's.

In the fourth episode of "The Idol," Jocelyn has an emotional scene where she is addressing the public scrutiny of her career while on Instagram Live with her followers. 

Many eagle-eyed fans pointed out how Gomez was giving a similar rant on her own Instagram back in 2018. According to OK! Magazine, the "Hands to Myself" singer opened up to her Instagram followers about her depression, anxiety, and fame.



"I'm here for you guys and I don't care about the press, I don't care about what people are going to say. I just wanted to do this to talk to you guys," Gomez said, eerily mirroring the same speech Jocelyn gives on "The Idol."


"I just wanted to be real with you, because I don't feel like being on another magazine cover. I don't feel like being on another one ever again. It just doesn't matter."

Sam Levinson shut down rumors that 'The Idol' was about any particular pop singer.

While many of these theories can be argued on whether or not Levinson and The Weeknd used Gomez's career as inspiration for the character of Jocelyn, the show is meant to provide commentary on female pop singers in Hollywood.

While Jocelyn can be easily compared to other singers besides Gomez, including Britney Spears, Sam Levinson admitted during the Cannes Film Festival debut of the show, "We are not trying to tell a story about any particular pop star."


“It’s a lot of pressure — to have to constantly be on, and to be what everyone wishes you to be," he continued. "It’s a lonely life."

"We can all pretend that everyone is looking out for someone’s best interest, but I think fame really corrupts; it’s really easy to surround yourself with myth-makers who continue to prop us up.”

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.