Selena Gomez went off to rehab for three months to address lupus-related depression and anxiety. This much we know to be true. But what exactly happened to trigger her inpatient stay in Tennessee or what she learned while she was there or how she’s doing now, well, other than little hints, we don’t really know. Until now.
Before the Netflix panel interview she did yesterday — ostensibly on the topic of 13 Reasons Why, the new Netflix drama series about a teenage suicide she exec-produced — we didn’t have many answers. We had a few clues — that American Music Awards speech, for example — but we were largely still in the dark. And though we don’t know everything now, we certainly feel a little more clued in. Ahead, find the top seven revelations from her newest interview.
1. She hates social media
“It’s hard, it’s hard right now. Like, I can’t stand social media,” she said. “I can’t stand what they’re looking at. I can’t stand what they think is reality.” Social media is so insidious because it depicts that which just plain isn’t real, and Gomez stressed how important it is for people — teens in particular — to have face-to-face interactions, not plastic online connections.
2. She thinks we need to connect more
“We’re just so disconnected to people now,” she said. To connect, we need to put down our phones. “It’s hard when you’re looking at something every single day, you’re missing your entire life in front of you,” she continued. “And you think you have to look a certain way. There are 17-year-olds who look older than me. That freaks me out.” [Ed. note: Gomez looks like she’s about 16, though she’s actually hit the ripe old age of 24.] “I had, like, pigtails in my hair at 17, it’s a very real thing. That’s why I am glad it took this long to create something like this,” she said, referring to 13 Reasons, “because we held out for something great.”
3. Her honesty can be a blessing and a curse
“I’m very honest, and whether I like it or not, people have seen a lot of my mistakes,” Gomez said. “And I have to use that as a good thing, because then [my fans] are able to trust me with that.” So, instead of worrying about putting it all out there, she’s come to embrace it. That said, she’s still pretty good at keeping her personal life personal, but she definitely came out about her reasons for canceling the rest of her tour and going to rehab, and that was awesome.
4. She went to rehab right as 13 Reasons began filming
“To be frank with you, I actually was going through a really difficult time when they started production,” she said. “I went away for 90 days, and I actually met tons of kids in this place that were talking about a lot of the issues that, you know, these characters are experiencing.”
5. Growing up in the spotlight was really, really difficult
Her childhood and teenage years were hard as hell, and her peers and adults alike took it upon themselves to tell her what she should do. “Whether it was just kids or growing up in the biggest high school in the world, which was Disney Channel, it was also adults that had, you know, the audacity to kind of tell me how I should live my life and it was very confusing for me,” Gomez said. “It was so confusing. I had no idea who I was going to be and what I’m still going to become and it definitely hits home.”
6. The show is raw, and that’s the point
The TV series is important for people to watch and understand; It’s “what they need to see,” she said. “Like, we’re not going to post things that are like, ‘Hey, be empowered’ because that’s not what they want to see.” Instead, they have to go deep and raw. “Unfortunately, kids don’t care,” she continued. “They don’t care. They have to see something that’s going to shake them. They have to see something that’s frightening.”
7. Mental illness is real, and Gomez wants to continue fighting its stigma
Parents and children both need to get that depression and anxiety happen, and they’re not to be brushed aside or hidden. “I want them to understand it,” Gomez said. “I would do anything to be able to have a good influence on this generation,” she said. “And it’s hard, but I definitely relate to everything that was going on. I was there for the last episode and I was a mess just seeing it all come to life ’cause I’ve experienced just that for sure.”