Selena Gomez Opens Up About Rehab: ‘My Self-Esteem Was Shot’

Going to rehab was, in Selena Gomez’s words, “the best thing” for her. The “Kill Em With Kindness” singer, 24, opened up about her 2016 stint in her first American Vogue cover story.

Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is Vogue’s April cover girl. Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue

“People so badly wanted me to be authentic, and when that happened, finally, it was a huge release,” Gomez said in the April 2017 issue. “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. I feel that’s a huge part of why I’m where I am.”

Selena Gomez

The former Disney star checked into rehab last October to “focus on her mental health.” She canceled the 34 remaining dates on her Revival world tour in the process.

“Tours are a really lonely place for me. My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting on stage or right after leaving the stage. Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it — which, I think, was a complete distortion,” Gomez told the mag.

“I was so used to performing for kids. At concerts I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough. Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t say, ‘Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!’ It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same s–t they’re dealing with,” she adds. “What I wanted to say is that life is so stressful, and I get the desire to just escape it. But I wasn’t figuring my own stuff out, so I felt I had no wisdom to share. And so maybe I thought everybody out there was thinking, ‘This is a waste of time.'”

Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez appears Vogue’s April issue. Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue

Gomez recovered at a Tennessee treatment facility. “You have no idea how incredible it felt to just be with six girls. Real people who couldn’t give two s–ts about who I was, who were fighting for their lives,” she told Vogue. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”

During her stay, Gomez avoided all social media — including Instagram. In December 2016, she was crowned the most followed celebrity on the platform.

“As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out. It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about,” she says. “I always end up feeling like s–t when I look at Instagram. Which is why I’m kind of under the radar, ghosting it a bit.”

Today, Gomez, who lives in an Airbnb in the Valley, doesn’t have the app on her phone and doesn’t even know the password. “I think 17 people have my phone number right now,” she added. “Maybe two are famous.”

Gomez, who is currently dating The Weeknd, has also tried to keep her personal life off of social media. She briefly posted and then deleted a video of The Weeknd in January.

“Look, I love what I do, and I’m aware of how lucky I am, but — how can I say this without sounding weird? — I just really can’t wait for people to forget about me,” she said.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!