Selena Gomez Opens Up About Bathing Suit Bullying
Selena Gomez is one of the most transparent celebrities on the subject of mental health. Growing up in the public eye, she faced a lot of pressure from work, high profile relationships, physical health problems, and even from her fans. In a new interview with Fast Company, Selena, now 31, openly discusses some of her lowest points, including the backlash she experienced when bathing suit photos taken by paparazzi made her the subject of online bullying.
Selena Had a Lot of "Responsibility" at a Young Age
"When I was younger, I thought I could save the world," Gomez tells Fast Company. "It breaks my heart to hear a girl come up to me and say, 'I was so close to taking my life, but when I watched your documentary, I couldn't imagine doing that anymore.' That's the coolest gift, but yeah, look at me . . . ," she said crying. "It's crazy to have that responsibility."
In 2016 She Checked Into a 90-Day Treatment Program
She struggled with her mental health and ended up canceling the final leg of her Revival tour in 2016. She got help, checking herself into a 90-day stint at a treatment facility in Tennessee. Then, the following year she underwent a kidney transplant after a lupus diagnosis.
In 2020 She Revealed She Was Bipolar
She didn't discuss her mental health until 2020, revealing in a one-on-one conversation with Miley Cyrus on Instagram Live that she'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "I went through a really hard season. It was my highs and my lows, and I didn't know what to do, so I couldn't control it. I would want to cancel things. It was just a tormented feeling. That's why, when I found out my diagnosis, it was just, 'Oh, okay, I feel a bit relieved, I understand a bit more.' I got second opinions. I went to doctors. I'm fortunate enough to be able to have people who can help me survive every day."
She Was "Freaked" Out
"I grew up being a people pleaser," she continued. "I had a responsibility at a very young age—young people were looking up to me. I didn't know who I was. Having that responsibility would make me walk on eggshells a lot. I thought maybe it would be damaging to tell people who I am. It started to become a threat that freaked me out. Well, if you're not right, then you can't work."
Her Diagnosis Left Her Feeling "A Bit Relieved"
"I went through a really hard season. It was my highs and my lows, and I didn't know what to do, so I couldn't control it. I would want to cancel things. It was just a tormented feeling. That's why, when I found out my diagnosis, it was just, 'Oh, okay, I feel a bit relieved, I understand a bit more.' I got second opinions. I went to doctors. I'm fortunate enough to be able to have people who can help me survive every day."
Social Media Became Too Toxic for Her During Her Justin Bieber Breakup
Around the same time she was trying to heal from her final breakup with on-again, off-again boyfriend Justin Bieber, and found that social media had become too toxic a space for her. She handed over her password to her assistant and stayed off. "I had just gotten my heart broken. I didn't need to see what everyone was doing," she says. "Then there were those moments of not feeling positive about how I looked because of what I'd see on Instagram. Wow, I wish my body looked like that."
Then, the Paparazzi Photos in Her Bathing Suit Surfaced
In 2018 paparazzi surfaced of Gomez in a bikini while boating in Australia, and trolls came out to get her. Before, she'd "had a teenager's body," she says.
She Was "Embarrassed," But "How Unrealistic Is It to Expect a Normal Woman's Body Not to Change?"
Now, "none of the sample sizes were fitting, and that would make me feel embarrassed. Although how unrealistic is it to expect a normal woman's body not to change?"
She Hit Back at the Trolls
She decided to take a break from her social media detox and hit back. She took steady aim at "the beauty myth—an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society's impossible definition of flawless beauty."