Pop star Selena Gomez has opened up about feeling violated as a child star during a new interview for a Business of Fashion cover story.
“I started getting known for things that weren’t [related to] my work,” Gomez told the magazine (via MTV News). “That’s when my passion started to really feel like it was going further and further away. And that scared me.”
While she loved singing live and making her Disney TV show, Wizards of Waverly Place, some harsh realities of the industry began to affect the budding performer.
“When I got older, I started to become exposed to the truth behind some stuff and that’s when it flipped a little bit. I realized that, ‘Oh this is actually really hard, and kind of slimy in certain areas,’ and I didn’t realize that certain people wanted certain things from me,” Gomez explained.
As a teenager, Gomez recoiled from the aggressive attention thrown at her from overeager paparazzi while trying to just live her life.
“I remember just feeling really violated when I was younger, even just being on the beach. I was maybe 15 or 16 and people were taking pictures — photographers,” she described. “I felt very violated and I didn’t like it or understand it, and that felt very weird, because I was a young girl and they were grown men. I didn’t like that feeling.”
“Then, I would say the last season of my show, I was probably 18 years old, is when I felt like the flip happened,” Gomez added. “I didn’t feel like it was about my art as much. I was on the fourth season of the show, and I felt like I was outgrowing it. I wanted something different and obviously I fell in love for the first time. There was all this stuff that was happening and I didn’t know what to do.”
In 2015, Gomez revealed that she lives with the autoimmune disease lupus, and has taken breaks from the industry to take care of herself both physically and mentally. Last year, the star checked herself into a Tennessee facility to “focus on maintaining my health and happiness” after suffering from “anxiety, panic attacks and depression” due to her lupus diagnosis.
“When I took time to learn about my feelings and my frustrations, and where things stemmed from, there was this huge fog lifted from my life because then I understood it,” the singer explained.