Selena Marie Gomez was born on July 22, 1992, in Grand Prairie, Texas,to Ricardo Joel Gomezand Texas-bornformer stage actress Amanda Dawn "Mandy" Cornett.[bettersourceneeded]She was named after Tejanosinger Selena Quintanilla, who died in 1995.Her father is of Mexican descent while her mother, who was adopted, has some Italian ancestry.Gomez's paternal grandparents emigrated to Texas from Monterreyin the 1970s.Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has said she is "a proud third-generation American-Mexican"and that, "My family does have Quinceañeras, and we go to the communion church. We do everything that's Catholic, but we don't really have anything traditional except [that we] go to the park and have barbecues on Sundaysafter church."Gomez was fluent in Spanish until age seven.Her parents divorced when she was five and she remained with her mother.Gomez has two younger half-sisters: Gracie Elliot Teefey, through Amanda and her second husband Brian Teefey,and Victoria "Tori" Gomez, through Ricardo and his second wife Sara.She earned her high-school diploma through homeschooling in May 2010.Gomez was born when her mother was sixteen years old.The family had financial troubles during Gomez's childhood, with her mother struggling to provide for the pair.At one point, Gomez recalls, they had to search for quarters just to get gas for their car.Her mother later recalled that the two would frequently walk to their local dollar store to purchase spaghetti for dinner.Gomez stated, "I was frustrated that my parents weren't together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me. I'm terrified of what I would have become if I'd stayed [in Texas]."She later added that "[My mom] was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me."Gomez had a close relationship with her grandparents as a child, and appeared in various pageants growing up.Her grandparents often took care of her while her parents finished their schooling, and the pair went as far as stating that they "raised her" up until she found success in show business.Gomez first gained an interest in pursuing a career in entertainment watching her mother prepare forstage productions.She began auditioning for various roles, meeting Demi Lovatoduring an audition for Barney & Friends.Both Gomez and Lovato were later selected to appear on the series in 2002,with Gomez portraying the character of Gianna.The show was her first experience in acting, with Gomez recalling, "I was very shy when I was little [...] I didn't know what 'camera right' was. I didn't know what blocking was. I learned everything from Barney."Gomez appeared in thirteen episodes of the show between 2002 and 2004; the show's producers released her as she was getting "too old" for the series.