How Did Niall Horan & Selena Gomez Meet?

Whatever is going on between Niall Horan and Selena Gomez — in recent weeks she denied that they were in a relationship; he chose to marry her in a game of "Sleep With, Marry, Cruise"; they were reportedly spotted kissing — it's safe to say that the two singers have a bit of a history together. Yes, that history might include hanging out as friends on maybe-dates while ~sources~ frequently claim that they're a couple, but it is undeniable that the two are super close — Gomez even referred to the One Direction singer as her "best friend" during a recent guest DJ spot on iHeartRadio. So, how did this all start? And just how did Selena Gomez and Niall Horan meet?

Though I scoured the Internet for any evidence of that pivotal first meeting, the earliest reports of anything happening between the two starlets occurred at the 2012 Kids' Choice Awards (how innocent) back in March 2012. According to a Star report (via HollywoodLife, so take this with a big grain of salt), the 1D singer reportedly hit on Gomez and "melted" her with just two words. "Niall made a beeline for Selena and poured on the charm," a source said at the time. "When he looked into her eyes and said, ‘You’re beautiful,’ Selena melted." Of course, Gomez was with Justin Bieber at the time, who was apparently fit to be tied over the sitch — if it even actually occurred.

So whether or not Gomez and Horan met for the first time at the 2012 KCAs is actually kind of irrelevant: It's clear that the two run in the same social circles. And as two young twenty-something pop stars in the music industry, it was inevitable that they were going to cross paths at some point, whether that be at an award show or at some A-list party that I could've only dreamt to be invited to.

Later that year, in November 2012, the Daily Star reported that Gomez and Horan were talking via Gomez's "private Facebook account," with a source telling the site that the singer-actress found Horan's Irish accent "very sexy." For what it's worth, it was during this same month that Gomez and Bieber broke up for the first time. And not that this means anything (but maybe it does?) it was around this time that Gomez BFF Taylor Swift started dating Harry Styles, Horan's bandmate.

In the years since, the Gomez and Horan dating rumors have only increased, usually during times when the "Good For You" singer was on a break with Bieber. The two have gone on various outings that only added fuel to that Nilena fire:

Of course, that's all nothing compared to what's been going on in recent weeks. Because despite Gomez's denial that the two are a couple, there have been multiple reports of the pair kissing — both earlier this month at Jenna Dewan-Tatum's party and then after the X Factor. Hmmm...

No matter what their stance is romantically, it's clear that the two are close friends — and that's what is most important. As Gomez spilled to iHeartRadio earlier this year, "Gotta shout out to Niall. He's one of our best friends. He's unbelievably kind and deserves everything that he has."

Long live Nilena — even if it is just in friendship.

Image: Giphy