Selena Gomez received the top honor at the 2017 Billboard Women of the Year event in Hollywood on Thursday, November 30, but she felt that it should have gone to her best friend and kidney donor Francia Raisa.
“To be honest, I think Francia should be getting this award because she saved my life,” the “Wolves” singer, 25, told the audience while wiping tears from her eyes. “I feel incredibly lucky.”
“Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position I’ve been given in my career from 7 to 14 to now,” she continued. “I want people to know that I respect the platform that I have so deeply because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something great and I wanted people to feel great because I love people.”
Gomez underwent a kidney transplant earlier this summer due to complications with lupus, the autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with in 2013. “Specifically this year, I would like to thank my amazing team and my family ‘cause they stuck with me through some really hard times,” she said at the Billboard gala, which was sponsored by Iron Mountain Entertainment Services for the second year.
“I got to do a lot this year even though I had a couple of other things to do,” she continued. “But I feel like for me, with my music, I’ve really been able to illustrate the things that I want and I’m reminded by a team of people who believe in me even when I don’t myself and I couldn’t be luckier. But I don’t feel more proud — I’ve never felt this proud — to be a woman in the industry than I do today and that’s because I actually feel comfortable with every single woman that has encouraged me.”
After thanking presenters Raisa, 29, and Elle Fanning for the Woman of the Year award, Gomez added, “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay it, but maybe I’ll make an epic album next year for you guys and everyone else.”
During the event, the Disney alum and the The Secret Life of the American Teenager alum sat together at a front-and-center table. An eyewitness tells Us that Gomez appeared to be in good spirits throughout the evening. She gave a standing ovation to performer Camila Cabello and also clapped for Kelly Clarkson and Ed Sheeran.
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