Almost everything Selena Gomez does becomes a core pop culture moment, like when she logged off her Instagram account in 2018 and went on a social media hiatus. It’s been five years since then and the Rare Beauty founder revealed the decision stemmed from her infamous breakup with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber and struggling with body image.
“I had just gotten my heart broken. I didn’t need to see what everyone was doing,” Selena told Fast Company on Tuesday, October 3. “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.”
The “Calm Down” singer, 31, later reflected on evolving from a “teenager body” and how the world ridiculed her changing appearance. “None of the sample sizes were fitting, and that would make me feel embarrassed,” she continued. “Although how unrealistic is it to expect a normal woman’s body not to change?”
While going through a high-profile breakup, Selena was diagnosed with bipolar disorder – though it wasn’t publicly revealed until 2020. The Emmy award winner reflected on her diagnosis, while admitting she “didn’t know” who she was at the time because she “grew up” being a “people pleaser.”
“I had a responsibility at a very young age — young people were looking up to me. I didn’t know who I was,” she explained in reference to her Barney & Friends and Disney career. “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.”
Although Selena was faced with a life-changing health battle, her bipolar diagnosis helped her understand why she felt extreme highs and lows that she “couldn’t control.”
“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,’” she shared. “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.”
Instead of sulking in her sorrows, Selena used her adversity and personal struggles to help inspire her award-winning makeup brand Rare Beauty. The Only Murders in the Building actress launched the business in 2020 and has led the brand to high success, like earning $100 million in revenue in 2022.
As for her relationship with Justin, 29, they ended their relationship for good in March 2018 after nearly eight of dating on and off. Justin has since moved on and married his wife, Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) in September 2018. There has since been a rumored feud between the two women, but they have cleared the air and set the record straight on their feelings toward one another.
Selena and Hailey, 26, posed together for a photo at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ 2nd annual gala in October 2022 after months of defending their amicable bond. Still, fans didn’t stop from pitting the women against each other online, leading Selena to publicly defend the Rhode Beauty founder.
“Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity,” she wrote via Instagram Stories in March. “This isn’t what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying. I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop.”