Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber’s high profile relationship made them one of entertainment’s most beloved and iconic couples at one point. But since their final split, Selena has been pretty transparent about the cracks in their relationship, as well as, how it has impacted her over the years. During an interview with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro, the 27-year-old music artist discussed the couple’s painful breakup in March 2018 after an on-again, off-again relationship that began Feb. 2011.
“I’ve found the strength in it,” she said. “It’s dangerous to stay in a victim mentality. And I’m not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse.” Selena then goes on to explain how their relationship in many ways was emotionally abusive. “I had to find a way to understand it as an adult. And I had to understand the choices I was making. As much as I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt and I’ve found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible.”
Months after the couple called it quits, Bieber proposed to model Hailey Baldwin. The two wed in a private ceremony in September 2018, followed up by a more lavish celebration a year later. Bieber didn’t respond to NPR’s request for comment but back in September of last year, he wrote an emotional Instagram post where he discussed the pressures of childhood stardom. “I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry,” he writes. “I became distant to everyone who loved me and I was hiding behind, a shell of a person that I had become.”
Her latest album, Rare, debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 album chart last week and “Lose You To Love Me” — a track inspired by Bieber — is the first No.1 track off the album. The lyrics include I saw the signs and I ignored it/Rose-colored glasses all distorted/Set fire to my purpose/And I let it burn/You got off on the hurtin’/When it wasn’t yours.”
“I’m very proud of it. It has a different meaning to me now from when I wrote it. I felt I didn’t get a respectful closure, and I had accepted that, but I know I needed some way to just say a few things that I wish I had said. It’s not a hateful song; it’s a song that is saying — I had something beautiful and I would never deny that it wasn’t that,” she shared. “It was very difficult and I’m happy it’s over. And I felt like this was a great way to just say, you know, it’s done, and I understand that and I respect that, and now here I am stepping into a whole other chapter.”
Gomez has been open about her struggles with mental health and seeking treatment and she reinforces that it’ll be a lifelong habit to make mental health a priority. She even spoke a little bit about how medication has helped her significantly but how some days are still harder than others.
“I feel great, yeah. I’m on the proper medication that I need to be on, even as far as my mental health,” she said. ” I fully believe in just making sure you check in with your doctors or therapist. [Taking care of mental health — ] that’s forever. That’s something I will have to continue to work on. Yes, I don’t think I just magically feel better. I have days where it is hard for me to get out of bed, or I have major anxiety attacks. All of that still happens.
Now with the release of Rare, her first album in five years, it’s evident she’s taking ownership of her narrative and proving she’s resilient.
“The reason why I’ve become so vocal about the trials and tribulations of my life is because people were already going to narrate that for me. I wasn’t going to have a choice because of how fast everything moves now. And most of the time, yes, it’s not true, or it’s an embellished version of what the truth is,” she said. “I want to be able to tell my story the way that I want to tell it. And all of these things happened, and I wasn’t going to deny that, I wasn’t going to pretend to put a smile on when it actually was awful — a few of the worst moments of my life. And I don’t know if I would have made it. And that’s medical reasons, obviously, and emotional reasons. I just had to find a way to claim my story.”