The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) has made a career out of albums that are simultaneously seductive and sad. But his music isn’t the only thing that can be described that way: his on-and-off relationship with supermodel Bella Hadid can be, too. After initially connecting in 2015, the couple has had multiple breakups and reconciliations. They got back together after The Weeknd’s highly-publicized Selena Gomez relationship of 2017, then broke up due to conflicting schedules in August 2019. There’s been reconciliation rumors ever since, although the two remain off in March 2020.
Considering their history (and The Weeknd’s musical catalogue), it’s not surprising that several tracks off his new album After Hours reference Hadid. Look back at the Abel and Bella romance that inspired countless songs. Here, a review of their twisty past.
April 2015: E! initially reported news that the couple was dating after they were spotted at Coachella. “They were hanging out in Coachella and were flirting lots,” a source said. “They have many things in common and really enjoyed each other’s company. She loves his music as well. They are hanging out for sure now.” The source also mentioned that while the two had met before, the music festival was “where they really clicked.”
Us Weekly also confirmed news of the pairing, noting that Hadid and The Weeknd had already spent time with Gigi and her boyfriend at the time, Cody Simpson. They had also gone on double dates with Miley Cyrus and her then-boyfriend Patrick Schwarzenegger. (Oh, how the times have changed.)
The Weeknd would later confirm in an October 2015 Rolling Stone profile that they originally connected when he asked Hadid to be on the artwork for his album Beauty Behind the Madness. “My motive was literally to work with her,” he admitted. However, when she declined, “I was like, ‘All right, cool—we can meet up face-to-face.’”
September 2015: The couple celebrated New York Fashion Week together, photographed leaving the Alexander Wang show hand in hand.
October 2015: Hadid and The Weeknd were then spotted in Soho alongside Bella’s sister Gigi and mom, Yolanda, signaling their seals of approval for the relationship.
Yolanda also shared a snap of her daughter and The Weeknd on Bella’s birthday. In the aforementioned Rolling Stone piece, The Weeknd revealed that he’d bought Hadid a Yorkie named Hendrix for her 19th birthday. “But I’m probably going to end up taking care of it,” he admitted.
During the same interview, he discussed how he was attracted to how hardworking Hadid is and the bond she shares with her family. “It just kind of fell into my lap,” he told the outlet of their relationship. “If this had happened two years ago—well, she couldn’t.” (Hadid would have been 16.) “But if I’d met someone two years ago, I probably would’ve fucked it up. But I’m more—how do I say it?—clear-thinking now.”
November 2015: Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, and Bella Hadid attended an event at the Hard Rock in New York.
December 2015: Hadid appeared in the music video for The Weeknd’s song, “In the Night.”
In the midst of the holidays, E! reported that the couple were on a break. A source told the outlet, “Their schedules got very busy, and it really cut into their relationship. They are still in each other’s lives though, just not in the same exclusive capacity.”
February 2016: The Grammy Awards saw the couple emerging from split rumors in a major way. They made their red carpet debut together, with Hadid sharing the moment on Instagram. “This is YOUR day baby! I’m so proud of you ❤️I feel so lucky to be by your side ????,” she captioned a snap of them.
Not only did the pair go Instagram and red carpet official on the same night, but The Weeknd took home his first two Grammys. Hadid later opened up to Glamour about the evening, explaining, “It was a big night for him. He has worked so hard, and he did so well that night. As a girlfriend I wanted to be there to support him. Seeing him so happy when he won a Grammy made me so happy.”
In the same interview, she was asked whether she feels she’s dating Abel or his musical persona, The Weeknd. “I’m dating Abel. I don’t see him as The Weeknd,” she explained. “I’m proud of The Weeknd and the music he makes, but I really love Abel.”
March 2016: Then it was The Weeknd’s turn to support Hadid at Daily Front Row’s Fashion Los Angeles Awards.
April 2016: The pair stopped by a Lakers Game, keeping their spring of public engagements going strong.
May 2016: The Weeknd and Hadid made their Met Gala debut as a couple, both wearing Givenchy. “My ❤️…” Hadid captioned a photo from the event.
October 2016: The couple jetted off to Tokyo. Hadid shared a photo from the trip to Instagram captioned, ” Mr. T ????????.”
The Weeknd was also by Hadid’s side as she celebrated her 20th birthday.
November 2016: About a month later, People ran a report that the couple had broken up. “Their schedules have been too hard to coordinate and he is focusing on finishing and promoting his album,” a source told the outlet. “They still have a great deal of love for one another and will remain friends.”
On November 25, The Weeknd’s album Starboy was released. News broke shortly after that he’d be performing on the same Victoria’s Secret stage as Hadid on December 5. When asked about the situation, Hadid told E! News, “This is his second year performing, and I think he’s going to kill it. There is no awkwardness. He is my best friend, and I am excited because I am walking during his performance.”
Sure enough, the performance went more than smoothly. The consensus was that Hadid’s runway walk won the post-breakup narrative. Afterwards, Hadid posted a photo from the night with the caption, “Thank you @theweeknd for being the best and most incredible performer on the planet. You KILLED it, as always????❤️.”
An E! source affirmed the breakup was amicable explaining, “Getting back together is possible in the future. He has been really supportive with her.”
January 2017: However, plans for a reconciliation were abruptly halted when The Weeknd was spotted kissing Selena Gomez in Santa Monica. Hadid promptly unfollowed Gomez on Instagram. Three days later, many believe she addressed the new relationship by posting a photo of herself flipping off the camera.
A People source explained that while “Bella and Abel’s split wasn’t dramatic,” the model was “hurt and pissed that he’s moved on so quickly with Selena.” However, sources close to Gomez clarified that though the two had met through Taylor Swift’s squad, “they’ve never been close.”
An Us Weekly insider went further, claiming, “Bella has reached out to Abel a few times and told him Selena is using him. He thinks she’s just jealous and isn’t listening to her.”
March 2017: Both The Weeknd and Gomez quietly unfollowed Hadid on Instagram. However, the couple continued to follow Gigi and Bella didn’t stop following her ex. In an interview with Teen Vogue the month prior, Hadid said of The Weeknd, “I’ll always respect him, and I’ll always love him. Sometimes you want to be sad about it or handle it differently, but at the end of the day, you never want to burn a bridge that you’ve fought so hard to build.” Hadid quietly unfollows The Weeknd by early April.
October 2017: More than six months later, Hadid’s mom, Yolanda, appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, where she was asked if her daughter cared that The Weeknd was dating Gomez. “Not anymore, I think,” she casually stated.
A little over a week later, People broke news that The Weeknd and Gomez had split after 10 months of dating. “She and Abel have been going back and forth for a few months about their relationship,” an insider told the outlet. “It’s been hard with him being on tour and her shooting in New York. That wasn’t easy on them.” Gomez was also linked to on-and-off ex Justin Bieber around the same time. Meanwhile, Hadid posted a wine-sipping selfie in Tuscany.
November 2017: Two weeks after his breakup with Gomez, The Weeknd was seen leaving Hadid’s NYC apartment. A source told E! News, “Bella and Abel have been in contact since Abel and Selena split, but they are not back together. Abel reached out to Bella asking to hang out and catch up, and she decided to see him and see where things go. She knows that if they don’t date again, they can at least be good friends.” An Us Weekly insider claimed, “Bella really missed him. She’s happy with where things are and he is too. They are still totally in love.”
April 2018: Us Weekly reported that the couple was officially back together and kissing at Coachella. At the festival, The Weeknd’s set included an emotional rendition of “Call Out My Name,” a song widely believed to be about Gomez.
E! ran a report that the couple’s PDA during the event was hot and heavy. “Bella never really lost feeling for Abel and had hope they would eventually get back together,” a source told the outlet. However, the model denied the account, responding to the E! News Instagram account, “it wasn’t me,” alongside the shrugging and detective emojis.
May 2018: There’s no denying that Hadid and The Weeknd kissed at the Magnum x Alexander Wang afterparty for the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Photos of the pair emerged, as well as a report from E! that they had been “secretly dating” for a few months.
July 2018: Towards the end of the summer (and after several teases on Instagram Stories) Hadid and The Weeknd was back on. The couple re-followed each other on Instagram. Then E! proclaimed the pair was “exclusively dating” and “in a great place.” The source went on to say, “Abel realized once he started dating around, that he actually is still in love with Bella, and they reconnected.” They even made an appearance at Kylie Jenner’s 21st, taking pictures in the photo booth.
October 2018: The fall brought kissing from the couple in Soho and public professions of love for Hadid’s 22nd birthday.
They capped off the month by attending Heidi Klum’s annual Halloween party in spot-on Lydia and Beetlejuice costumes from the classic 1998 film.
November 2018: Two years after Hadid’s post-breakup strut on the Victoria’s Secret runway, The Weeknd cheered the model on from the front row alongside her mom.
Further proof that they’re stronger than ever? Us Weekly reported that the musician asked Hadid to move into his NYC apartment and she agreed. The outlet also spoke to sources who said the couple was “madly in love with each other. A proposal is on the horizon.”
December 2018: Hadid mentioned The Weeknd twice in her Vogue “73 Questions” interview. When asked who makes her laugh the hardest and who is the most beautiful person she knows, her boyfriend was the answer for both.
February 2019: The Weeknd and Hadid wore matching camo outfits to celebrate his 29th birthday. Hadid captioned photos of them on Instagram, “1 minute til my favorite day of the year…. @theweeknd.”
May 2019: If you still wondered where Hadid stands with Gomez nearly two years after her relationship with The Weeknd, speculate no more. The model officially liked a photo of Gomez on Instagram, signaling that there’s no drama to be found.
August 2019: After a few quiet months for the couple, E! reported that The Weeknd and Hadid had split again. A source told the outlet, “They are in different places right now, physically and mentally. Bella is prepping for her fashion week commitments and Abel is working on his music and his upcoming acting debut.” Apparently, the pair hadn’t “spent quality time together in months.”
Sources told Entertainment Tonight a different story, claiming that the couple “haven’t broken up, but are working through things like normal couples do.” In comments similarly made after the pair’s first breakup, a source said that “he two love one another, have lost one another in the past and want to try and make it work.”
Other than one near run-in at Catch One nightclub in late August, the couple appeared to be working on solo projects. Hadid has walked shows at New York, Milan, and Paris fashion weeks. Meanwhile, The Weeknd teased upcoming music on Twitter.
October 2019: As for another reconciliation between the two, apparently they “Earned It.” E! reported that Hadid and The Weeknd were back together hours after he made an appearance at her 23rd birthday party in New York. A source said, “Abel met up with Bella last night for her third birthday celebration at L’Avenue. He was with her the entire night and they left together to go back to the apartment they both shared. You could tell that they were definitely in love and they both looked very happy being around each other.”
That source explained their reconciliation was weeks in the making. “Bella and Abel have been in touch the last couple of weeks and have been working on their relationship,” the source said. “Initially, Abel reached out to Bella first checking in to say hello, and she agreed to meet up with him. There was no love lost between the two. Abel just had a few things he needed to work on and his focus was elsewhere. They are in a better place right now but are trying to keep things on the down low. They both want to be more private about it this time around.”
However, sources were seemingly divided over whether or not Hadid and The Weeknd had reconciled. An insider told TMZ that after the birthday spotting, the pair was just friends. Then, The Weeknd’s rep confirmed to People “they just attended as friends.”
November 2019: On November 5, The Weeknd’s ex Selena Gomez decided to follow both Bella and Gigi Hadid on Instagram, signaling they no longer have any drama. Gigi now follows Gomez, although Bella doesn’t.
Then, a few weeks later Gomez commented on one of Bella’s photos “Stunning ????.” But instead of replying to the comment, Hadid deleted the Instagram post all together. Fans still managed to capture the moment, below.
When a Gomez fan account pointed out that the post had been deleted by Hadid, Gomez commented, “That sucks ????.”
Shortly after, Gomez clarified what she meant and added she didn’t intend to start any drama between her and Hadid. Gomez commented on fan account Selssbrina’s Instagram (via TheSelenaRundown) and wrote, “I shouldn’t of spoken without knowing the truth. I’m sorry. Please don’t be hurtful. She is a wonderful person, and it was all a misunderstanding.”
TMZ reported that Gomez and Hadid privately worked through the issue. Multiple sources said Hadid “actually went out of her way to reach out to Selena this weekend to squash any potential beef.”
Towards the end of the month, two singles from The Weeknd’s album After Hours were released. Lyrics in both “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” seemingly addressed the breakups from Hadid and Gomez. In “Heartless,” lyrics reference his reconciliation with Hadid after breaking up with Gomez: “You just came back in my life / You never gave up on me (Why don’t you?)/ I’ll never know what you see (Why won’t you?) / I don’t do well when alone (Oh yeah) / You hear it clear in my tone.” The “Blinding Lights” lyrics also allude to Hadid coming back to The Weeknd.
February 2020: “After Hours,” the third single off of The Weeknd’s new album, also includes some Hadid references. Lyrics such as, “my heart belongs to you / I’ll risk it all for you I won’t just leave / This time, I’ll never leave,” suggest the singer left Hadid before, but is now committed to making a relationship work. Fans also read into the bridge of the song for possible reconciliation clues:
“I know it’s all my fault / Made you put down your guard / I know I made you fall / I said you were wrong for me / I lied to you, I lied to you, I lied to you (To you) / Can’t hide the truth, I stayed with her in spite of you / You did some things that you regret, still right for you / ‘Cause this house is not a home.”
But the couple hadn’t reconciled in real life. “Bella isn’t dating anyone at the moment,” a source told Us Weekly in February. “She is so busy traveling and working nonstop and she’s mostly focused on her career right now. She still has feelings for The Weeknd and there’s always a possibility that they will get back together down the line, but for right now, she’s single.”
March 2020: On March 20, The Weeknd’s album After Hours was released. A few more tracks caught the attention of Hadid fans. In “Scared to Live,” The Weeknd addresses the on-off nature of his relationship with Hadid, encouraging her to move on with someone else. At one point, he sings, “No, don’t be scared to live again / Be scared to live again / You always miss the chance to fall for someone else (Uh, uh) / ‘Cause your heart only knows me.”
In “Save Your Tears,” The Weeknd alludes to a chance meeting between him and Hadid last summer. According to tabloid reports at the time, the exes ran into each other at Catch One nightclub after their August 2019 breakup, with Hadid leaving shortly after The Weeknd arrived. The Weeknd begins the song: “I saw you dancing in a crowded room / You look so happy when I’m not with you / But then you saw me, caught you by surprise / A single teardrop falling from your eye.”