If real life was a high-school rom-com, Camila Cabello would be standing by her locker, barely listening to boyfriend Austin Mahone (remember him?) when the beige double doors breeze open and in strides Shawn Mendes. She catches his eye and he grins. In real life, though, Camila and Shawn are international pop stars, nascent as they were when they first met, and, more importantly, for the longest time, maintained they were just friends. “Just friends” gets thrown around a lot in pop culture, but Camila and Shawn might be the ones who teased fans the most with it. And we’re living in a post–Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga world.
When Camila officially ended things with her dating-expert boyfriend, mere days after her and Shawn’s extremely non-platonic “Señorita” video dropped, the jig was up. They have since nuzzled noses, held hands, and sucked face at every given opportunity. So how did they go from “just friends” to “friends with a lot of benefits”? On the eve of Cabello’s sophomore album Romance — in which she’ll probably narrate their one true love story — let us recap.
July 26, 2014: Camila and Shawn meet while on Austin Mahone’s summer tour. They are 16, 17, and 18 years old. Over the short few months, Austin and Camila date; Shawn learns to play the guitar.
“When we were on tour together, I never saw him,” Camila later told Variety about her limited interactions with Shawn. “He would go to his tour bus and practice guitar, then go onstage, and then go back and practice guitar. He’s the most dedicated, driven person I know.”
September 10, 2014: Camila and Shawn send an impressive array of cringey tweets back and forth. Don’t read if you still have anxiety dreams about high school — this is just that. Being a good friend starts with accepting the other person for who they are and, luckily for them, they were both terrible tweeters.
November 14, 2014: Andy Cohen, the king of mess, straight-up asks Fifth Harmony which one of them is dating the “Mahonie.” Camila reluctantly raises her hand, confirming her relationship on Watch What Happens Live.
July 11, 2015: Camila freaks out at Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, with opening act Shawn Mendes (and Vance Joy and Haim, but let’s focus). Then, the duo write their first (but definitely not last) collaboration, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” backstage. By now Shawn has successfully learned to play the guitar and can actually use it for its intended purpose: romance.
July 25, 2015: Their friendship gets stronger and even more public. Stans are normally a little presumptive, but who wouldn’t read this as flirting?
August 17, 2015: Friendships, like all good relationships, are built on a foundation of mutual support. Camila and Shawn’s foundation is massive. Camila was one of 6,000 fans supporting him as he debuted two new songs while headlining at L.A.’s Greek Theatre.
August 25, 2015: Shawn decides to learn Spanish and she offers to teach him. In return, he teaches her guitar. This is absolutely and obviously not a ploy to spend more time together.
September 1, 2015: At these little bilingual jam seshes, they recorded covers like this “Say My Name”/”Give Me Love” mash-up. A hint at collabs to come.
September 4, 2015: The tweets do not stop, but they’re all sort of about the same thing.
September 20, 2015: Shawn Mendes photobombs Camila on a red carpet. Peep the palpable awkwardness of a friendship that takes place mostly through the internet. (You know what I’m talking about, Gen Z.)
But by the end of the night, they get a little cozy. Not “Señorita” cozy, but we’re getting there.
November 18, 2015: After a month or so of teasing fans, the duo drops “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It’s the pop-star equivalent to when you and your friends are like, “Yes, we should totally start a podcast. Your [insert skill] with my [insert skill]?” except this goes platinum.
November 23, 2015: They vehemently deny their relationship to James Corden. We already know Camila cracks under pressure from a late-night host. Guess she’s telling the truth this time.
And then things die down.
March 27, 2017: Shawn posts a throwback video of the two of them singing.
May 19, 2017: He also brings back the tweets, this time fawning over her solo career.
September 26, 2017: He loves “Havana” despite not being cast as her love interest in the video. (His time will come.)
October 17, 2017: And he is “so proud” of her.
January 16, 2018: “Unbelievably proud.”
April 5, 2018: “”I don’t think you’ll ever meet somebody who can feel emotion like her, in all aspects,” Shawn says of Camila. “She can feel hurt like no other, but she can feel love like no other.” This is a thing friends say about each other. Don’t make that face.
May 5, 2018: Hailey Baldwin and Shawn Mendes walk the Met Gala carpet together. She gets engaged two months later. (He’ll later insist they, too, were “just awesome friends” but then go on to clarify that, actually, they were more than “just friends,” they just never defined the situation. He likened it to a “zone of limbo.”)
May 20, 2018: Camila and Shawn are the poster children for those friendships where you never see each other, but when you do it’s only fun. They dance to Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” performance at the Billboard Music Awards like nothing has changed.
February 11, 2019: Camila performs at the Grammys for the first time. The pair reunites but the love doesn’t last.
February 25, 2019: Camila and Matthew Hussey, a British relationship expert, confirm their relationship at the Vanity Fair Oscar party. It’s no Met Gala and that’s all we have to say.
June 21, 2019: After ten months of begging her to collab and sending supportive tweets, Camila and Shawn drop “Señorita” and its bordering-on-NSFW video in which the two play a couple who are decidedly not “just friends.” (They wind up in a motel room is all we’ll say.) The lyrics “You say we’re just friends / But friends don’t know the way you taste” practically force us to write this timeline.
June 24, 2019: Despite somehow being more romantic that the actual music video, the behind-the-scenes from “Señorita” convinces us that Shawn and Camila are just friends. At some point, we have to consider that there’s too much history. At some point, we have to actually acknowledge Camila’s long-term relationship.
June 25, 2019: And then, a bomb. Sources confirm Camila Cabello and Matthew Hussey have broken up. We’re back in it, baby.
August 8, 2019: After spending all summer holding hands in Los Angeles, making out in Miami, and doing both in New York City, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello celebrate his 21st birthday with a party. Camila posts a sweet birthday shout-out on her Instagram, saying she loves him. Okay, but love love? Or just love?
August 24, 2019: Shawn Mendes says, “This one’s for my Mami,” and points to Camila Cabello before singing his song “Mami” at a concert. If you thought they were cringe-y before, I’m so sorry about what lies ahead.
August 31, 2019: Shawn bats off a fan question about whether or not he’s in love. You’ll find out soon!
September 9, 2019: “They can speculate, but at the same time, we are going to live our own lives, enjoy it, and fall for each other like nobody is watching,” Camila declares to Elle.
October 3, 2019: Camila drops the “L” word on Capital FM Radio.
October 6, 2019: Here’s what a day in the life of Shamila looks like, according to the Sha himself: “Camila and I will basically wake up and find the nearest coffee we can find. She’ll have, basically, half a coffee and I’ll have, like, three. We’re always in different countries and cities when we hang out with each other. Probably find some food, then an hour later we’d be like, ‘Are you hungry?’ and we’ll eat again. Probably watch a movie, Tangled. She loves Tangled.”
What do they talk about? “I don’t know. Camila is so good at coming up with random topics. One time we were having dinner and she pulled out this phone and a list on this phone was like, ‘What would you do if it was the last day on Earth?’” Riveting.
October 20, 2019: Camila posts a screenshot of a Cosmopolitan headline that reads “Proof that Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello Broke Up” with the caption “Well when the f–k were you gonna tell me @shawnmendes.” Imagine how much more interesting this would be if it were genuine.
October 24, 2019: What would you do with $98? Save it? Put it toward a bill? Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes spent $98 on bracelets that light up and vibrate when you touch them. At least they didn’t get matching tattoos. Anyway, I would buy 50 Baby Yoda stickers on Redbubble.
November 12, 2019: Let all attempts at spreading rumors that Shawn and Camila broke up be SQUASHED by this PDA-filled courtside date.
November 12, 2019: Camila Cabello announces her album, aptly called Romance.
November 13, 2019: Shawn Mendes remixes Taylor Swift’s “Lover.” Because he’s in love. Get it?
November 14, 2019: They got tattoos. But they’re not matching!
November 15, 2019: Does Camila Cabello know that saying she and Shawn “collaborate on life” kind of makes it seem like they’re trying to have a baby? It’s like, yeah, we get it, but it just sounds weird.
November 19, 2019: “It was this awkward thing where we both liked each other, but we weren’t together,” Camila says of their “I Know What You Did Last Summer”–era friendship.
November 24, 2019: Billy Porter, Taylor Swift, and the rest of the audience at the American Music Awards clutch their pearls during Shamila’s sensual performance.
November 25, 2019: Shawn shares a loving thank you to Camila after they win an American Music Award for “Señorita.”
November 26, 2019: Today on “Fame Is a Curse”: Camila and Shawn feel “desensitized” to PDA because they’re constantly having their photo taken.
“You’re like, ‘Well, might as well make out on Instagram.’ Might as well!” Camila laughs.
November 29, 2019: How does it feel to be nominated for music’s biggest award with Camila? “It’s amazing to be nominated for a Grammy,” Shawn tells fans. “But it’s so much more amazing to be in love.” “Awwwwwwwwwwwww,” they reply. Somewhere, a publicist sleeps soundly.
December 3, 2019: Shamila almost wasn’t! “I’m driving down the street , and right in the moment where I was like, ’I’m just not gonna tell her,’ I passed a street that said ‘Camila,’” Shawn told fans. Where would we all be if fate had not intervened?
This post has been updated throughout.