When Selena Gomez took a break in late 2013 and went to rehab the following January, she was actually dealing with chemotherapy for lupus.
See, kids, sometimes “not for substance abuse” actually means “not for substance abuse.”
“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,” Gomez, 23, tells Billboard, which has her on its cover. “I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. ... I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”
At the time, after “The Heart Wants What It Wants” singer had checked into a Malibu rehab for a couple of weeks, her rep confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that “Selena voluntarily spent time at Meadows, but not for substance abuse,” and declined to comment on the specifics of Gomez’s stay.
The lupus diagnosis had actually come years earlier, Popdust reported at the time.
“Selena has been going full throttle the past few years and her lupus is really catching up with her right now,” a source told that website in December 2013. “She knows that she needs to take some time to address the disease and look after herself better if she wants to live a full and healthy life.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s own antibodies attack and destroy healthy tissue in the skin, joints and internal organs. It flares up from time to time and can go into remission. In lupus, chemotherapy involves the use of immunosuppressants that are sometimes used in cancer treatment, but the disease has nothing to do with cancer, the Lupus Foundation of America notes.
However, Radar Online’s rehab story line — Gomez was “partying very hard,” and “broken-hearted” over her breakup with “self-confessed pot user Justin Bieber” — was the one that stuck.
“I’m so ... nice to everybody, and everyone is so vile to me,” the “Wizards of Waverly Place” alum tells Billboard, in the context of talking about gossip sites. “I’ve been working since I was 7. I’ve been a UNICEF ambassador since I was 17. It’s so disappointing that I’ve become a tabloid story.”
She later adds, “I’ve never had a problem with drinking.”
Still, it’s not all bad. After all, she’s got a new album coming out Friday, “Revival,” and is in four movies that are on the way. Currently, she can be heard voicing Mavis in “Hotel Transylvania 2.”
“The hate,” Gomez says, “motivated me.”