Selena Gomez is giving an intimate glimpse at her life living with mental illness and coming into her womanhood. In her new Apple TV+ documentary, “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”, the “Lose You to Love Me” singer offers viewers a firsthand look at all of the things she experienced from 2016 to 2020.
Over the course of four years, Gomez was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ended her relationship with Justin Bieber, received a kidney transplant due to lupus, released another album, and took a life-changing trip to Kenya.
Here are the biggest revelations from “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”.
In 2016, while she was preparing for the “Revival World Tour”, Gomez spent some time trying on outfits. During the process, she joked that if she was a guy, she would be able to get away with wearing jeans and alternating T-shirts and beanies.
Things got personal when she began to express her frustrations with her body while trying on a one-piece catsuit. “I want to have the body to wear it proudly,” she says to her team. “I want to have booty that I don’t have. My body is very young. I don’t want to be like, ‘Oh wait,’ making sure I look like a woman and not a 12-year-old boy.”
“In a weird way, I feel like it is a time capsule of things — a period of my life where I look back, and I actually feel bad for that version of myself,” she said. “I think that it was good for me to see how I was responding to my body, the way that I was acting and the way it was so irrational in moments, and I think it was really healing for me to see that and get it out.”
Gomez had debilitating doubts about her ability to perform during the “Revival World Tour”
The singer was set to hit the road for her tour, but began to doubt herself after a day of rehearsals. During a conversation with her best friend and her manager, Gomez broke down in tears as she expressed everything she felt that she did wrong.
“It just sucks, all of it. It looks so bad. I’m just like, I have no idea what the f**k I’m doing,” she says through tears. “So I get the voice that comes in my head that says, ‘Oh, you missed this. That sucks, that sucks,’ and then you get a glimpse of yourself on the screen and, wow, that looks pretty f**king sh***y. And then I’m sitting there and I’m tripping over the clothes. It sucks the life out of me, and I don’t want to perform.”
Gomez continues to cry as she fears that she is letting the head of her record label, John Janick, down.
“It sucks the life out of me because I want to do the best that I can, and I don’t know what John thinks,” she says. “I don’t know what John thinks, I want to talk to John. I don’t want to disappoint John. I don’t want him to think that he signed some f**king Disney kid.”
She also expressed frustration at continuously being linked to Bieber at this point in her career, and being asked to do a song with him.
“It just sucks too, because the whole song thing. He called me this morning about the song with Justin [Bieber] like, when am I just going to be good enough by myself?” she asks. “When am I gonna be good just by myself, not needed anybody to be associated with?”
However, John, who watched the rehearsals with his daughter, was impressed by Gomez’s performance and gave her the confidence she needed to stop being so hard on herself.
Gomez’s assistant and best friend get candid about the lead up to her bipolar disorder
The “Revival” tour was going well … until it wasn’t anymore. Clips show the “Same Old Love” singer venting her frustrations with the quick changes and becoming increasingly agitated with those around her. On top of the stress of the tour, there were constant headlines and speculation about her relationship, drug use, and her overall health.
In a clip from the tour, Gomez cries as she tells the audience, “Sometimes I wake up and I don’t really feel like I have it in me.”
After 55 dates, the “Good for You” singer announced that she was pulling the plug on the production, due to anxiety. However, it is due to her bipolar diagnosis, which is documented by her former assistant and her best friend, Raquelle. Another one of Gomez’s former assistants, Theresa, speaks first about how Gomez expressed to her that she didn’t want to be alive anymore and that while they were having conversations, she looked in her eyes and it was “pitch black.” Raquelle adds that they had a serious conversation with Gomez, who noted that she had no idea what was going on with her either, and she “couldn’t explain” what was happening.
“I just remember it being very chaotic, she was hearing all these voices and they just kept getting louder and louder,” Raquelle says. “That just triggered some sort of psychotic break.”
Shortly after, Gomez was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Gomez’s mother, Mandy, found out she was in the hospital from TMZ
The former Disney Channel star has always been open about her close relationship with her mother, Mandy Teefey. In one of the most emotional parts of the doc, Mandy sits down and tearfully explains the way Gomez’s illness caused her to alienate herself from her and her stepfather, Brian, and shares that she found out Gomez was in a hospital from TMZ.
It is the only time Mandy appears in the entire documentary.
“We heard about her mental breakdown through TMZ,” Mandy says. “They called me and wanted to know what my daughter was doing in the hospital with a nervous breakdown. She didn’t want anything to do with me and I was scared she was going to die.”
Mandy becomes emotional as she speaks about helping Gomez through her treatment, saying, “It’s the hardest thing to do — to then just go to bed and hope that they wake up the next day.”
Gomez gets candid about the way her mental illness impacted her relationship with her parents
Gomez becomes emotional as she credits her friends and family for helping her during her time in the mental health hospital, especially her mom and stepdad, because she says that she “shouldn’t have spoken to them or treated them the way that I did.”
The singer shares that her parents knew she wasn’t herself saying those things and reassured her that they loved her and wanted to help. Gomez says that she remembers some of the things that she said and did, and as a result, she is always apologizing to her parents, who never gave up on her.
Learning about her diagnosis helped Gomez become less afraid of her diagnosis
Gomez explains that when she was younger and had a fear of thunderstorms, her mother encouraged her to read books about them in order to learn more and combat her fear. The superstar says she used that same tool to cope with her illness.
“When I first got out, I didn’t know how I would cope with my diagnosis,” she says. “What if it happened again? What if the next time I didn’t come back? I needed to learn about it. I needed to take it day by day.”
Gomez found a way to connect with people outside of fame through her illness
Gomez grew up in the small town of Texas and notes that it still feels like home. During a portion of the documentary, Gomez returns to her hometown, where she spends time with her cousin, Priscilla. During her trip, she gets sweet tea from a local fast-food spot, pays a surprise visit to her old middle school, and returns to her childhood home, where the writing on the wall professing her love for Cole Sprouse still exists.
Gomez shares that when she got famous, she felt more alone than ever, and that connecting with home is what heals her the most.
“Fame, it made me feel lonely somehow,” she says. “Then when I started touring, it just got worse. After I got out of the last treatment center, I knew what made me happy. It was connection.”
The star adds that it wasn’t until she became sick that she truly saw the type of connection she needed.
“When I got my lupus, it was really scary. And then I got out of it and I said, ‘I can go visit these people because I’ve had this and then I had the transplant and we did a lot of work,’” she says. “And then I started with the mental health and the same thing I said to myself was, ‘Now I can relate to these people’ and ‘I think things happen for a reason.’”
Gomez’s split from Bieber was the ‘best thing that ever happened’ to her
Gomez’s on-again, off-again romance with Justin Bieber spanned from 2012 to 2018. Shortly after their split, the “Baby” singer married Hailey Baldwin.
For Gomez, dealing with everything in the public eye made the breakup that much harder. “Everything was so public,” she says. “I felt haunted by a past relationship that no one wanted to let go of. Then I just moved past it, and I wasn’t afraid anymore.”
Gomez says that she found the light in a very dark situation. “I feel like I had to go through the worst possible heartbreak ever and then just forgetting everything at the drop of the hat, it was really confusing,” she explains. “But I just think that needed to happen and ultimately it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Gomez has a dream of creating a mental health bill
During a trip to Kenya with the WE organization, Gomez visits girls who escaped hardships and became students. As she meets with the young ladies, she personally gets to know them and hear their stories about how they pushed through with their education, although they had tragedies in their personal lives.
Gomez expresses that it is her dream to create a bill in the United States that would require schools to implement mental health classes from elementary school to high school.
“One of my goals in life, I’ve had this in my mind for seven years,” she tells a group of people during a dinner, “is to create a bill where it is required to have a therapy sort of class from elementary school on to high school.”
Gomez notes that students should have the opportunity to learn how to balance their emotions as they get older and as the emotions change.
“Feelings get more complicated and they’re harder to navigate,” she says.
When someone during the dinner asks Gomez what is holding her back, she replies that she feels she’s not capable enough.
“That I’m not good enough,” she shares. “I don’t know, that’s something that I felt a lot of growing up.”
In 2022, Gomez attended a summit at the White House, where she spoke with President Joe Biden about implementing the bill into schools.
In 2020, Gomez’s lupus flared back up
After years of her lupus being in remission, Gomez began to slowly feel pain in her hand. After returning home to the United States from Kenya, and being in the middle of the pandemic, Gomez begins to feel debilitating pain in her body.
“In the morning when I wake up, I immediately start crying,” she says to a friend. “Because it hurts, everything.” Gomez shares that she has bad dreams about her past and her mistakes and it drives her into a depression on top of the physical pain. The singer is seen crying as she lies in her bed and tries to get comfortable, but she can’t. In order to combat the flare-up, Gomez’s doctor informs her that she would have to undergo the “tough” Rituxan treatment.
Gomez is shown getting the IV drip, which takes four hours to complete, over numerous sessions. The treatment is successful.
Finding her purpose
After going through the treatment, Gomez slowly begins to work out again and find a routine through the pandemic. The singer shares that after everything she has gone through, there is a reason she hasn’t died.
“Why am I alive?” she asks. “Clearly for something. Love my friends, love my family. I think I’m a great daughter, think I’m a great friend. Clearly, I’m still here to use whatever I have to help somebody else.”
Gomez has continued to do the work on herself, both personally as well as publicly. At the end of the documentary, the singer reveals that she is in the best place she’s ever been in when it comes to living with her mental health.
“I found having a relationship with bipolar and myself, it’s going to be there and it’s going to be my friend,” she says. “I think that I needed to go through that to be who I am, and I’m going to keep going through it. But I’m really happy.”
At her documentary premiere on Wednesday, the “Only Murders in the Building” star shared with ET what she’d tell her younger self.
“I think my advice is to not be afraid. I never actually was afraid to tell people that I wanna take time for myself. I never thought that was a bad thing,” she said. “So, to be sharing something honest and say, ‘Hey, I’m taking a break because I need it?’ I’m being honest, and I think that’s just who I am.”
Stream “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me” on Apple TV+.
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