The lead single off Gomez’s compilation album For You was strategically released around the time she and ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber broke up. But the track could have sounded very different.
A demo of Stefani’s take on the track, seemingly called “My Heart Wants What It Wants,” leaked on social media earlier this week.
The Stefani version takes the song in a less emotional direction, with a more edgy delivery versus Gomez’s poignant expression of young love and heartbreak.
Naturally, the demo leak sparked debate among fans online.
“That version of ‘The Heart Wants What It Wants’ by Gwen Stefani is SO BAD. Selena ate her up,” one fan tweeted.
“One thing I didn’t expect when clicking on this video was that Selena Gomez ATE Gwen Stefani up vocally like… y’all need to give my girl credit where credit is due,” another wrote, while someone else tweeted that “Gwen chewed.”
However, some wondered whether the song truly belonged to Stefani first, as Gomez has a writing credit on the track alongside Antonina Armato, David Jost and Tim James.
“Gwen did an interview saying the producers took the song back bc Selenas team wanted it. it’s too funny ‘hey we need this to exploit a child star breakup. you’ll find somethin else,'” one fan claimed.
Some fans questioned if that was true.
“In interviews, she was going on and on about how shattering it was ‘writing’ this song I can’t take Selena seriously I swear,” someone else wrote.
Others, however, noted that in the past Gomez has recorded her own versions of other demos by artists such as Rihanna, who supposedly rejected “Same Old Love” before Gomez put her spin on it.
“At the end of the day ‘THWWIW’ is known because of Selena not Gwen Stefani,” one fan concluded on Twitter.
The viral tweet containing the leaked audio has since been removed.
“The Heart Wants What It Wants” reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014, becoming Gomez’s second-best single at the time.