Disney’s darling takes on Hollywood [SLIDESHOW]

18-year-old Selena Gomez has accomplished more in her brief career than most stars do in a lifetime.

The young actress returns to the big screen this summer in “Monte Carlo,” which hits theaters next week. She’s also conquered the world of music, and recently released her third studio album, “When the Sun Goes Down,” which has been a huge commercial success. Additionally, she received rave reviews for her hosting gig at this year’s Much Music Awards.

Her romantic life has produced a whirlwind of media buzz. The brunette siren is currently dating the world’s biggest teen heartthrob, Justin Bieber. The duo has quickly become teen royalty, but their relationship is not without criticism. Immediately after the star confirmed their relationship on Twitter, she was swarmed with thousands of tweets from angry Justin Bieber fans across the globe. Some of the messages even threatened the young star’s life.

Gomez visited “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning to promote her upcoming film and was asked whether or not she thought her highly-publicized love life and more mature film roles would “tarnish” her squeaky-clean Disney image.

“I have a right to live my life and I feel I’ve done a very good job in the position I’ve been put in,” Gomez replied.

“I should be able to grow up. I have finished with Disney Channel but that doesn’t mean I want to completely disown the fact I do have a younger generation looking up at me, I guess.”

Although the Disney darling has grown up under the spotlight, she seems to have remained relatively level-headed amidst the hype. Take a look at the star’s most memorable moments in her brief but busy career.

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  • The stunning star has a bright future ahead. In addition to her successful music career, Gomez is signing on to a series of big films including, "The Muppets," and next year's "Thirteen Reasons Why."
  • On June 28, Gomez released her third studio album, "When the Sun Goes Down," and the album's lead single "Who Says" has been a fixture on the Billboard charts. The star is preparing for a US tour this fall.
  • After an appearance on "The Tonight Show" earlier this month, Gomez was hospitalized for exhaustion and food poisoning. The star assured worried fans that her junk food habits and lack of sleep caused the health scare.
  • Gomez returns to the big screen this summer in the romantic comedy, "Monte Carlo" which hits theaters July 1. Gomez stars alongside "Gossip Girl" star Leighton Meester in the flick.
  • Earlier this month, Gomez hosted the 22nd Annual MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, Canada. The young star's hosting stint boosted very high ratings and received immense critical praise.
  • Gomez shot her last episode of "Wizards of Waverly Place" on May 24, 2011, and told fans she's focusing now on her film and music career. The Emmy-winning show was viewed by 5.13 million viewers per week during it's fourth and final season.
  • At the 2011 People's Choice Awards, Selena Gomez and the Scene took home the award for Favorite Breakout Artist.
  • After a year of speculation, teen royalty Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber went public with their relationship in 2011. The pair have tried to keep their relationship as private as possible, but their millions of tween fans have made that quite difficult.
  • Selena is known for her philanthropy work, and in August 2009, she became the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities.
  • In 2009, Selena and her BFF, fellow Disney princess, Demi Lovato, had quite a public falling out over drama regarding, who else? The Jonas Brothers. The duo reportedly rekindled their friendship after Lovato's rehab stint in 2010.
  • Gomez has quickly become a style icon on the red carpet, and in 2010 she launched her own fashion line, "Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez." The collection features bohemian apparel all made from recycled or eco-friendly materials.
  • In 2009, Gomez took on the music world and started her own pop band, Selena Gomez and the Scene. As of April 2011, The band has sold 1,354,000 albums in the United States.
  • Gomez nabbed her first lead film role in the 2009 flick, "Ramona and Beezus." When asked how she chose roles she said, "I think I’m fully aware of my audience and I’m still just a kid myself. I wouldn’t do a role I don’t feel comfortable doing or that my audience wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing."
  • The media soon began dubbing Gomez 'the next Miley Cyrus' causing some controversy and a reported feud between the young starlets. Gomez clarified that there was no feud and that she was flattered by the comparison.
  • In 2007, Gomez landed her first major role and was cast in the Disney Channel series "Wizards of Waverly Place" as the lead character, Alex Russo. The show premiered to an audience of 5.9 million, becoming an instant hit.
  • Selena Gomez began her acting career at age seven, playing Gianna on "Barney & Friends."  She later had minor roles in "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" and the TV film "Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial By Fire."