Gomez’s father is of Mexican descent. Her mother has Italian roots.
Selena Marie Gomez was born to former actress Amanda Dawn Cornett, and her Mexican husband, Ricardo Joel Gomez, on July 22, 1992, in the Grand Prairie city of Texas, the United States. Her mother, commonly known as Mandy, gave birth to Gomez at the age of 16. Gomez was named after Tejano singer and actress Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who died in 1995. Her father is of Mexican descent while her mother, who was adopted, has some Italian ancestry. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez has stated, "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 Sundays after church." Gomez's parents divorced when she was five years old, and she remained with her mother. Selena has two younger half-sisters: Gracie Elliot Teefey through Amanda and her second husband Brian Teefey, and Victoria "Tori" Gomez through Ricardo and his wife Sara Gomez.
After her parents separated, the young Gomez and her twenty-one-year-old mother struggled to survive amidst dire poverty. At one point, Gomez recalled, 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 the entertainment industry. Amanda's stage performances inspired Selena to choose a career in acting, and soon the little girl was attending try-outs.