Selena Gomez ‘felt a huge weight lifted off me’ with her bipolar diagnosis


Selena Gomez covers the September issue of Elle Magazine. I think Selena is so pretty and photogenic (like, crazy-photogenic with her Bambi eyes) but I really don’t think Elle did her many favors with this editorial. The blonde hair is one thing, but they made her look so cheap, in my opinion. The interview is a bit better, or at least she sounds like she’s in a better place in general. She breezes through some subjects, like her bipolar diagnosis and how she voted for the first time last year, and this piece is in support of like five different Selena projects. There’s her makeup line, Rare Beauty, there’s her Hulu show Only Murders in the Building, there’s her new Spanish-language album and on and on. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She moved into a new LA home pre-pandemic after selling two previous homes. “I tried out a bunch of different neighborhoods because I wanted to know what was going to make me feel comfortable in a city that doesn’t make me feel that comfortable. I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll try West Hollywood,’ but I was like, ‘No, that’s not my vibe.’ Then I moved to Calabasas, and I thought that would be nice and family-oriented, but it’s actually very overwhelming and trendy now. It took me a while to figure out what was best for me.”

She lives with friends & her grandparents: “I’m a very communal person. I find happiness when I’m with people I love. My lupus, my kidney transplant, chemotherapy, having a mental illness, going through very public heartbreaks—these were all things that honestly should have taken me down. Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?’ ‘You’re going to help people.’ That’s really what kept me going. There could have been a time when I wasn’t strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself.”

On-set COVID protocols. “No one was allowed to be on set. Everybody wore masks and shields. If I touched a prop, they cleaned it,” she says. For a kissing scene, she was required to wash her mouth out with Listerine after each take—7 to 10 of them. “It burned my mouth. I was like, ‘I want to throw up.’ I’ve never experienced a set like that.”

She loved working with Steve Martin & Martin Short: “I got to be in a space with so much wisdom. They became my uncles.”

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018. “I felt a huge weight lifted off me when I found out. I could take a deep breath and go, ‘Okay, that explains so much.’ ”

Since 2017, her assistant handles her social media: “I don’t have it on my phone, so there’s no temptation. I suddenly had to learn how to be with myself. That was annoying, because in the past, I could spend hours looking at other people’s lives. I would find myself down nearly two years in someone’s feed, and then I’d realize, ‘I don’t even know this person!’ Now I get information the proper way. When my friends have something to talk about, they call me and say, ‘Oh, I did this.’ They don’t say, ‘Wait, did you see my post?’ ”

Her Spanish-language album Revelación: “It was a challenge. I think speaking in Spanish is a lot easier than singing.” But with a bit more time on her hands than usual, Gomez was able to work with a Spanish coach and really nail it. “I made sure that I didn’t look like a fool. I focused so hard on making sure that the language I was speaking, and the way I was speak-ing it, was authentic. I wanted it to exude love—to talk about pain, but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren’t good for us.”

Months ago, she said that she felt like quitting music: “I don’t think I’ll ever quit making music,” she says. But, she admits, she does still feel like she’s constantly trying to prove herself. “I’m not saying I want a Grammy. I just feel like I’m doing the best I can, and it’s all about me. Sometimes, that can really get to me.” Music, unlike acting, is so personal, she says: “You’re pouring yourself out.”

[From Elle]

She’s talked about handing off her social media accounts before, and I do think that’s very wise. I wish more celebrities would do that in general, just because I do think there are definitely some celebrities who are social-media addicts. It’s not just about curating a certain image for Selena, it’s about her own mental health and not wanting to get absorbed in what other people are posting. Speaking of, she didn’t mention Justin Bieber at all. Good for her. I do think this is a reference to Biebz though: “I wanted it to exude love—to talk about pain, but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren’t good for us.”

Re: her comments about voting are mundane, especially since she only voted for the first time last year. When she tried to explain why she waited, she was pretty vague, but then she drew on her experience as a Mexican-American and her growing awareness during the Trump years of the racism her family had experienced. Which… okay, but she didn’t have any of those realizations in 2016, when she was 24 years old?


Covers & IG courtesy of Elle Magazine.

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19 Responses to “Selena Gomez ‘felt a huge weight lifted off me’ with her bipolar diagnosis”

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  1. Driver8 says:

    I am always so grateful when celebrities speak up about their mental illness. Bipolar disorder is soul crushing. I always say I wish the people in my life could spend five minutes in my head just so they could “get” what I’m going through. And it doesn’t get easier with age, unfortunately. Selena is lovely.

    • L says:

      so much “same” here, for me. its just…you can’t put it into clear enough words for someone who isn’t experiencing it. ive tried and tried with my dad for years to verbalize the illness, the part where…whats all going on in my own head, trauma, mechanisms, how low it really gets…and try though he might (he is a saint and tries his very best, i am alive today because of that man), it’s just a thing one can’t know without living it. there are a few life experiences where someone outside just cannot fathom and grasp the extent of said experience. i don’t experience much mania (i forget which types are which because my memory is crap), but my lows are a thing that would honestly scare the sh-t out of most folk. it’s scary to be in such a way that you wonder if you’ll ever come back to a “stable” happy-medium space. i take “therapeutic” doses of my medication (shoutout to my lamotrigine and abilify yall the real MVP), and despite that, i still have moments oh full on weeks where i am just. well. you know! ill leave it at that. bipolar disorder is a heavy thing. its not a pain/trauma olympics of course. mental illness is terrible, period. but there are some whose bite is a bit more vicious. im not sure that makes sense. but i am rambling, so i will stop this here.

      i dont know if this helps, or if thats even the point. just saw this comment and yelled “HARD SAME” in my head and had to relate. <3 take it easy. we've made it through 100% our hard days.

      • Driver8 says:

        Thank you for your comment, L. I was talking to my bff the other day who is super positive and has the ability to roll with life’s punches better than anyone I know. She.Does.Not.Get.It. People think that if you’re medicated and keep busy, you’ll be fine, but it’s not true. I’m lucky to have a good therapist and people who love me, so I count my blessings for that. Sending you internet hugs and support ❤

  2. Eurydice says:

    Wasn’t Selena in rehab in 2016 – right after she canceled her tour? I think I’ll cut her some slack on the voting thing. I mean, lupus and then rehab and kidney failure and undiagnosed bipolar disorder and anxiety, depression and panic attacks – it’s hard to focus on politics when you don’t know if you’re going to be alive tomorrow.

  3. WingKingdom says:

    I am REALLY enjoying Only Murders in the Building. Selena Gomez is very beautiful but such a bad actress. I don’t know if she’s trying so hard not to overact that she’s underacting, or what, but her delivery is just bad. And she’s an executive producer!

    • JJ says:

      Am loving Only Murders in the Building too. I’ve never really watched her in anything before so I was hoping her flat delivery was purposeful to contrast Martin & Short? Or does she always d that?

      • Aimee says:

        JJ – Me either. I’d never actually seen her in anything or listened to her music. At least we have Martin & Short to make up for what she lacks. They’re awesome together!!

    • Red says:

      I actually think she’s a decent actress, she really shines with comedy.

    • Normades says:

      It pains me to say she’s not really that talented, but hey so many people in Hollywood aren’t either.
      She has been through so much. I feel bad for all child actors. I cut Justin Beiber a lot of slack too. They are under so much pressure at a young age. I knew someone who worked on WWP…she was self medicating even back then.
      Anyway comments like the one I just posted is a great reason for her not to be on social media. I think a lot of celebrities probably do the same

    • Yup, Me says:

      I’m enjoying it as well and I think she’s doing a great job. Selena is the “straight man” in the comedy, while Short and Martin are the fools (to varying degrees). It’s especially fitting that Selena’s delivery is well suited to her #unbothered generation (and the fact that she’s clearly got secrets). Her role flips the noire female character and makes her an insider in the story.

  4. lucy2 says:

    She’s really been through a lot of medical challenges. I hope she’s doing well now, and I appreciate her talking about it.
    I planning on watching that show but haven’t gotten to it yet.

  5. M says:

    The hair gives me 80s Madonna vibes. I don’t think it suits her.

  6. K says:

    I am enjoying her in OMITB. I hope she continues to do well.

  7. terra says:

    The waiting until your late twenties – sometimes even later – to vote for the first time thing is not unique to Selena. I’ve heard it from many people, quite a bit from people much older, my own grandmother included.

    I was 17 for the Kerry/Bush election and furious I couldn’t vote. There was nothing that could have kept me away in 2008, but that was not the first time I voted. Local elections are vital, people can’t just come out for national elections as local politics informs national politics.

    Years ago I missed a local runoff election due to a car accident and was very upset by that. I’m less high strung about it now, but I still do my best not to skip any elections.

    I have been looking forward to Only Murders in the Building, as I love Steve Martin, so have been avoiding reviews because I don’t want to know if it’s terrible. I’ll watch it anyway, but I’d like to live in ignorance and not dread it ahead of time. Fingers crossed it turns out to be decent!

  8. Marietta says:

    I think we are going to see her shine in only murders. I really think she is supposed to be dull and secretive right now. We don’t know her back story, and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but I think it will be a lot.

  9. FHMom says:

    I’ve watched her grow up on TV since my 2 girls adored her. She’s been through so much with her health. I wish her all the best. Aside from the voting issue, she rarely makes me roll my eyes, unlike, say Miley. I’m assuming that poor health will mature a person quickly. I like that she said she could help people. The photos are awful, though. It looks like she is channeling Madonna channeling Marilyn Monroe. Yuck.

  10. myjobistoprincess says:

    Celebrities handing over all their social media to handlers? That would be a bummer – I thought the purpose of following them was because people had a feeling of proximity with them? There is no point to follow them if handlers are doing all the posts etc, we’d be stuck with boring prmotions all day long.

  11. april says:

    My heart goes out to her. She’s a good person who went through a lot of crap with Bieber and her health challenges.

  12. L says:

    She’s so pretty.