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Selena Gomez is opening up about her time as a young performer in Hollywood, explaining she often felt objectified in the eyes of the industry and the public since her days as a child star on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place.”
“For a while, I felt like an object. It felt gross for a long time,” Gomez, 29, told ELLE magazine in a candid cover interview in which she is depicted as a modern-day Marilyn Monroe.
The singer and actress was previously diagnosed with lupus in 2014 and then underwent a kidney transplant and chemotherapy in a grueling recovery.
At the time, Gomez was also dealing with the rigors of maintaining public relationships with Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. Ultimately, the combination of it all took a toll on Gomez’s mental health, all while the swirling rumors in the media suggested she was seeking solace by engaging in other means.
“I don’t even know what they really believed I was doing — drugs, alcohol, running around, partying,” she explained of the barrage of media reports following the moment she checked herself into a mental health facility. “The narrative was so nasty.”
Gomez was eventually handed a bipolar diagnosis and it was then that she “felt like a huge weight lifted” off of her.
“There could have been a time when I wasn’t strong enough and would have done something to hurt myself,” she admitted.
“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,” she continued. “Every time I went through something, I was like, ‘What else? What else am I going to have to deal with?’”
But repeating the mantra, “‘You’re going to help people.’ [That is] really what kept me going,” she said. “There could have been a time when I wasn’t strong enough, and would have done something to hurt myself.”
The reality show chef pressed that with social media creating such a burden, Gomez elected four years ago to hand her account passwords to her assistant and vowed to refrain from posting anything directly.
Selena Gomez said she often felt objectified in Hollywood during her younger years in showbiz.
(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
“I don’t have it on my phone, so there’s no temptation,” she explained. “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!’”
“Added Gomez: “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?’”
“It was so nice. I felt like I was suddenly able to be so present,” she said.
Earlier this month, Gomez reflected about her time as a young actress and told reporters she felt as though she “signed” her life away to Disney.
Selena Gomez is making her TV return in Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building’ (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
“I didn’t know exactly what I was doing,” she said while discussing her return to TV in Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.”
“The level of sophistication of the material is the first reason why I wanted to do this,” she continued of being able to play in a more mature and revealing space as an actress. “But when I was a kid, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just running around on set and now I just feel like a sponge and I soak up all the wisdom that I can.”
Gomez added: “It’s just it’s really nice to be back on TV and it’s nice to be cast as my actual age, which never happens. So I am very happy to be doing this. I was just a kid. I didn’t know what I was thinking.”
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