For many of us, Christmastime is a period of joy and celebration. But for Selena Gomez’s mother Mandy, it was one filled with sadness and contemplation. Haunted by an unspeakable misfortune suffered a half-decade earlier, the TV producer took to Instagram to share her grief.
Like her daughter after her, Mandy Teefey had her eye on Hollywood. Born Amanda Cornett, the showbiz-mother-to-be had a long and varied career in the entertainment world. Besides finding work as a stage actress, Mandy was also employed in film and TV in makeup and as a production manager.
While working in the entertainment industry, Mandy was also balancing her responsibilities as a mother. At the age of 16, she gave birth to her first child, Selena, whose father was Mandy’s then-husband Ricardo Joel Gomez. Named for the singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, little Selena was all but destined for fame.
Yet despite breaking into acting aged just seven on Barney & Friends, Gomez didn’t have the easiest of upbringings. For instance, her mother and father split up when she was only five. Moreover, Mandy often struggled to put food on their plates, with Gomez subsequently telling the East Bay Times about having lived “paycheck to paycheck.”
Nevertheless, the pair wouldn’t be struggling for long. In 2004 the then 12-year-old Gomez landed an audition for an upcoming Disney Channel series. After impressing producers, she was soon cast as the lead in a show called Wizards of Waverly Place.
Running from 2007 to 2012, Wizards… made Gomez a star. In addition, her work for Disney also kindled a passion for singing that resulted in her signing a contract with Hollywood Records in 2008. Now a fully-fledged solo artist, Gomez has since sold 3.4 million albums worldwide.
While Gomez’s career was taking flight, her mother was finding success in her personal life. In 2006 Mandy married Brian Teefey, with whom she would subsequently form the company LH7 Management. After five years together, the pair decided to start a family, and Mandy became pregnant in 2011.
And no one seemed more overjoyed at the news than Gomez herself. Indeed, the singer took to Twitter in November of that year to announce, “My mommy’s carrying my baby brother or sister.” Regarding the prospect of becoming a big sister, Gomez declared, “I’m the happiest girl in the world.”
But, alas, events were soon to take a cruel turn for the worse. Only a few weeks after her daughter’s announcement, Mandy suffered a miscarriage. It was a devastating blow that left her life in tatters. Heartbroken, Mandy gathered her family around her, with Gomez going so far as to cancel a series of public appearances.
As with the news of her mother’s pregnancy, Gomez announced the terrible development to her fans. After thanking her followers for their support, she announced that the baby would have been a girl named Scarlett. “I can’t thank you enough for all your thoughts and prayers,” the star wrote. “We appreciate every one of you.”
In the aftermath of this gut-wrenching incident, both mother and daughter eventually returned to their normal lives. Alongside her husband Brian, Mandy continued to manage Gomez’s career until 2014. And she later joined her daughter as an executive producer on the successful Netflix program 13 Reasons Why.
Moreover, in 2013 Mandy would finally start the family she always wanted with Brian. After her initial heartbreak, the producer gave birth to a daughter named Grace, who can often be seen alongside Selena on her sister’s Instagram account. But though she may have been blessed with a daughter, Mandy never once stopped thinking of Scarlett.
December 2017 marked the sixth anniversary of Mandy’s miscarriage. Naturally, the mother wanted to commemorate her lost daughter, so she took to Instagram to share her grief. And in the process, she created a moving eulogy to the daughter she never got to meet.
Taking to the social media platform on December 17 – the date of her miscarriage – Mandy took the time to thank those kind enough to send their condolences. Additionally, she detailed what her family had done to honor Scarlett’s memory. “We decided to celebrate her by writing letters on red balloons and releasing them,” Mandy wrote.
This year’s anniversary also coincided with Mandy wrapping production on the second season of 13 Reasons Why, a show she works on with daughter Selena. Mandy stated that she could feel her lost daughter’s presence more than ever. “She was there in spirit as always,” Mandy stated.
Then, Mandy went on to outline how her family and colleagues helped her through the day. “#family13 made me smile and feel loved when so needed and they didn’t know,” she explained. “Then, I came home to Brian and Gracie to send our love to Scarlett.”
Through it all, the experience made her realize just how much she cherishes her friends and relatives – and how much being a mother means to her. “A mom’s love for their children is pretty fierce,” Mandy noted. “In order of my girls, Selena, Scarlett and Gracie. Family is what matters, blood or not.”
Issues relating to her family had been particularly prominent for Mandy in 2017. Earlier in the year, Selena endured a life-and-death struggle with kidney failure related to symptoms of lupus. Though her daughter pulled through thanks to a kidney donation by Francia Raisa, Mandy was likely shaken by the incident.
Along with her impassioned words, Mandy posted a series of images of herself and her family. In addition, she expressed gratitude for the support shown by her followers. “Fans, I want you to know you are family because I have a huge family and you are the only ones who remember! XO forever,” she wrote.
And it seems that Mandy’s family is growing. Recently, Gomez got back together with her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber – a decision that some say caused a rift between mother and daughter. Nonetheless, judging from her Instagram post, Mandy’s love for her children appears stronger than ever.