Selena Gomez was a sacrifice to help others discuss their mental health battles

Selena Gomez has been open about her battle with anxiety and depression over the past six years – and she is now hoping her candid new documentary will help other people speak out.

Explaining why she made the brave decision to lay bare her struggles and her tumultuous relationship with fame in Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, the singer says she wanted to educate young people about the importance of prioritising their mental health – and used herself as a “sacrifice” to help others “have the hard conversations”.

Selena, 30, says, “I think someone actually asked me if I felt like I did too much.

"And I’m not going to lie, maybe there were a few moments that were scary to offer up.

"But at the same time, if you take anything away from this, I hope people understand my purpose here is supposed to be connection.

“I used myself as a sacrifice in order for people to have the hard conversations. But I’m also going to crawl in a hole now for a few months, so nobody sees me for a while. I did too much.”

Selena started her journey to fame aged seven and her TV career took off when she appeared in children’s series Barney & Friends aged 10.

In 2007, when she was 15, she was given a recurring role on the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana, playing pop star Mikayla, and the following year she signed a deal with Hollywood Records.

Working under that record label, Selena released three albums with her former band, Selena Gomez & The Scene, which all reached the Top 10 of the US Billboard 200.

In 2010, when she was 18, she began dating pop star Justin Bieber, who was 16 at the time. Their on/off romance continued for the next seven years.

In 2013, her fame skyrocketed with the release of her debut solo album, Stars Dance, which topped the Billboard 200. Her second studio album, Revival, debuted at number one in the US in 2015.

But in 2016, fame began to take its toll on Selena’s health. After 55 shows on her Revival tour, the star – who was diagnosed with auto-immune disease lupus in 2014 – cancelled the remainder of the tour to focus on her mental health.

In a statement released at the time, she said she was suffering panic attacks and depression.

Explaining her reasons for cancelling the tour, Selena said, “It was what I needed to do for my overall health.

"I honestly look forward to sharing with you soon my journey through these past several months, as I have always wanted to do with you.”

In the summer of 2017, complications from Lupus led to her getting a kidney transplant from her good friend, actress Francia Raisa.

During the op, an artery broke and emergency surgery was required to make her a new one using a vein from her leg.

The following year, in May 2018, Selena split with Justin for good, with rumours suggesting the relationship had been “unhealthy” for a while.

Five months later, the singer was admitted to a psychiatric hospital – and she later revealed she had an episode of psychosis during this time.

In 2020, Selena revealed she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The footage in the new fly-on-the-wall documentary, which was directed by Alek Keshishian – who also directed Madonna’s infamous 1991 documentary, Truth Or Dare – comes from two weeks of filming during Selena’s ill-fated Revival tour.

In a recent interview, Alek revealed that when he showed Selena the footage he had shot on the tour – including a backstage meltdown during rehearsals where she cries and says, “It sucks. It looks so bad. I have no idea what the f**k I’m doing” – Selena was shocked.

He said, “She was like, ‘Oh my God! I don’t want the world to see me breaking down crying like that.’

But he added that she started to feel like there could be a way her story could help somebody else. He said, “That’s her Achilles heel. She wants to help others.”

Selena explains that she hopes the documentary is the start of people being able to open up to friends and family about how they are truly feeling.

She reveals, “I hope it starts with a conversation where people, maybe family, immediately start asking questions about things they felt.

"The pandemic was a time of isolation and people were experiencing depression for the first time, anxiety.

“I feel like this is the right moment to release something like this because a lot of people would ask that question, ‘Well, what do I do? How do I get help? What do I do? How do I do it?’

"And I just try my hardest to show them that you don’t have to stop. You can keep going.”

She adds that if the documentary helps just one person, she would consider herself “lucky”.

“I hope people take away that it’s OK to feel not good enough. It’s OK to feel that you’re complicated and you’re complex.

"It’s just about having a healthier relationship with how you talk to yourself, how you seek help, how you talk to other people.

“I hope it just starts a chain reaction of people saying, ‘Hey, I want to say something about my mental health. I want to talk about it.

"I want to seek help.’ And that’s one of the bravest things someone can do. And if just one person is impacted by this film, I would consider myself the luckiest girl if I could help that one person.”

Talking about her decision to work with Alek, Selena reveals she realised she felt comfortable sharing her life with him.

She explains, “I watched Truth Or Dare. Well, prior to that I had met Alek through my manager. He also directed a music video of mine and we decided to maybe attempt to do a tour documentary.

“We soon realised there was much more going on than just the tour, that I eventually ended up cancelling.

"He came into my life in these moments that were beautiful, complicated and tragic, and I felt comfortable with just sharing what I was walking through with Alek. I love him.”

At one point in the documentary, Selena visits Grand Prairie in Texas, the neighbourhood where she grew up. She spends time with a childhood friend who now has young children and who is surprised to see the star back in their hometown.

Selena’s friend tells her daughter, “Yeah, she’s real! Mommy went to school with her.”

Selena says she feels “beautiful” when visiting her roots, explaining, “I mean, I’m a Texas girl through and through, and I’m proud of that. And I do feel the most beautiful when I’m home.

"When I go home, every time I visit the house I’m from, I like to visit the neighbours. I don’t think they see me any differently than who I was when I was younger.”

Just before the documentary debuted on 4 November, Selena released its soundtrack – a moving piano-driven ballad with the same title. The song starts with the lyrics, “Wanna hear a part to my story? I tried to hide in the glory / and sweep it under the table so you would never know.”

Speaking about penning a song especially for the documentary, Selena says, “It was interesting because it was the first time I allowed anyone to have my journals.

"From that stemmed conversations, including, ‘Well, maybe we try and do… What’s the song for the movie? How do we do that?’

“And luckily, I work with these amazing producers. Their producing name is The Monsters, and they’re just really wonderful people who know me and have known me.

“And we were able to create My Mind & Me. And I feel like it was a perfect example of what I walked through, and it was beautiful. And then, we ended up naming the film that.”

Now, Selena is starring in Hulu’s Only Murders In The Building – in which her character Mabel investigates a neighbour’s mysterious death alongside comedy actors Steve Martin and Martin Short – and she says it has “changed [her] life”.

She gushes, “I am so lucky. Working with those two, it’s a constant bickering and bits and stuff. Plus, they’re just like my old grandpas.”

So as she continues to navigate the complexities of fame, what would be her advice to anyone planning on being a global superstar?

Selena modestly admits, “I don’t know who I am to give advice. I’m not saying I have the answers at all. I’m not saying I even have a powerful speech I could say. I would just say that [the fans] have given me a responsibility and I carry that so deeply, and I try my hardest to do as best as I can.

“All I would ever want anyone to know is that they’re exactly enough the way they are – that they are worthy, they are seen, they deserve love, they are love, that people will root for them. That’s what I want people to feel.”


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