Selena Gomez says she worries less since complications from lupus sent her into surgery for a kidney transplant a year ago, although she doubts she will ever completely overcome the depression and anxiety triggered by the disease. The pop star reveals how the life-changing experience has altered her outlook. She’s stressing less and worrying less about what other people think of her.
“Honestly, I’ve just kind of stepped back a bit. I enjoy my life. I don’t really think about anything that causes me stress anymore, which is really nice,” she said in a recent Good Morning America interview. “I don’t even live in L.A. anymore. I don’t pay attention to trying to get people to like me as much.”
She’s learning to put her health first, she told Harper’s Bazaar earlier this year. “If that’s good, everything else will fall into place,” she said. “I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m OK with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over anything else,” she said about the emotional struggles that come with lupus. “I’m starting my year off with that thought. I want to make sure I’m healthy.”
The transformation is a significant change from the fast pace the singer was living before her diagnosis. Gomez worked through debilitating pain and anxiety to keep on performing, recording new albums and acting in movies. “I would get fevers, headaches. I would get fatigue. But I always just kept going,” she told Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive NBC News interview. “I kind of ignored it, to be honest, because it wasn’t something that maybe really I wanted to accept.”
She was diagnosed in 2014 and the next year underwent chemotherapy to treat the disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own organs and tissues. Gomez admitted that despite her increasing illness, she refused to acknowledge how sick she had become. Since her surgery, the pop star has not hidden her battle with lupus.
When complications required a kidney transplant, her best friend actress Francia Raisa volunteered to donate an organ. “My kidneys were just done,” Gomez told Guthrie. “That was it, and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me. She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real.”
Today Gomez says she does not look on her lupus diagnosis and surgery as a negative experience. “I don’t want people to think it’s a sad thing that I went through this with Francia or with anything in my life,” she has said. “I think all of the stuff that I went through made me and defined everything that I am right now. It’s a really beautiful thing and I have to remind myself of that.”
Gomez spoke last month alongside Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation costar Andy Samberg on Good Morning America as they promoted the new animated movie. The singer also released a music video for her new song “Back to You” earlier this month.