Just a few months ago, Selena Gomez was seemingly everywhere.
With a new single to promote ("Bad Liar"), she graced the cover of Vogue and did multiple interviews. But then, as the summer went on, the 25-year-old pop star seemingly disappeared.
As Gomez announced via Instagram Thursday, she had a good reason for taking time out of the spotlight. "I'm very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn't promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of," she said. "So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering."
Gomez, who in 2015 publicly revealed that she is battling Lupus, said she needed a new organ to improve her "overall health." While she didn't want to go into too many details, she wrote, "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. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery."
The singer admitted "there aren't enough words" to properly thank her "beautiful friend," 29-year-old Secret Life of the American Teenager star Francia Raisa. "She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis," the "Fetish" singer wrote. "Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made."
Gomez posted photos of herself in the hospital with Raisa, as well as of her post-surgery scars. The singer ended her note by asking her followers to visit the Lupus Research Alliance website.
Raisa, meanwhile, has yet to public speak about her organ donation.
In 2014, E! News exclusively reported that Gomez had entered a treatment facility in Utah. "Selena voluntarily spent time at Meadows but not for substance abuse," her said at the time. One year later, she told Billboard why she needed that two-week break. "I was diagnosed with lupus, and I've been through chemotherapy. That's what my break was really about. I could've had a stroke. I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I'm in chemotherapy. You're a—holes,'" the singer recalled. "I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again."
Six months after she first discussed her diagnosis, she gave a health update to GQ. "I just have to be patient. It's slowly dissolving the older I get. And I just have to be patient and make great things with quality, from producing to singing to acting," Gomez said. "And one by one, I will be able to change the dialogue and people won't care about everything that's happened to me." She hated that people would often "fixate" on her Lupus, saying, "I needed time to just be OK."
Gomez announced four months later that she would be taking time off to focus on her health. "As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways. I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," she told People in a statement. "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off. Thank you to all my fans for your support."
She also apologized if she upset any fans. "You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this," she continued. "I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues."
Far away from the spotlight, Gomez spent 90 days at a facility in Tennessee.
The former Disney Channel star made her return to the limelight at the 2016 American Music Awards, where she delivered an emotional acceptance speech and touched on the issues she had been facing. "I think it's safe to say most of you know my life whether I liked it or not. And I had to stop. Because I had everything. And I was absolutely broken inside. I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down...I'm not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore. All I can say is I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every day with people that I love. I have to say thank you so much to my fans, because you guys are so damn loyal, and I don't know what I did to deserve you. But if you are broken, you do not have to stay broken," she said. "That's one thing you should know about me: I care about people. And this is for you."
Treatment worked wonders for Gomez. As she said in Vogue's April 2017 issue, "People so badly wanted me to be authentic, and when that happened, finally, it was a huge release. I'm not different from what I put out there. I've been very vulnerable with my fans, and sometimes I say things I shouldn't. But I have to be honest with them," she said. "I feel that's a huge part of why I'm where I am." By discussing her mental and physical health openly and publicly, Gomez hopes to inspire others to feel less shame about their own issues. "I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we're taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who's down," she said. "We also need to feel allowed to fall apart."