Selena Gomez covers the Talents & Legends issue of WSJ. magazine photographed by Lachlan Bailey and styled by George Cortina.
On her love life: Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, two singer-songwriters who’ve also become Gomez’s close friends collaborated with Gomez on Rare “Justin and I will go to the studio before [Gomez arrives] and gather ideas,” Michaels says, adding that they wrote “Lose You to Love Me” on Valentine’s Day. “I’ll text her to say, ‘What kind of mood are you in?’ One time she responded, ‘I’m feeling strong and happy,’ and then she said at the end of the text: ‘I really just want a boyfriend.’ I thought we should do a song about it. Of the resultant song, “I Want a Boyfriend,” Tranter says, “One of the lyrics is about a fine line between a want and a need. Yes, she wants a boyfriend, but it’s not a need. She’s OK on her own, and we all should be too.”
On needing time for herself: “I need time by myself,” she says. “I love going to my room at the end of the day. Just me and my dog. I got the full granny panties situation, stretched out in my bed.” Does this song answer the question of her relationship status? “I’ve been single for over two years now,” she confirms. But, she agrees, at least she’s gotten a good song out of it. “I’m OK with that” she says.
On her new music: “I remember Taylor said when I played her some of the new songs, ‘I feel like I’m seeing who you were before this,’” Gomez says. “That makes me happy. I like feeling like that girl again.”
Taylor Swift on Selena’s new album: “This is the first time I’ve heard her truly channel the details of her emotional experience,” says Gomez’s close friend Taylor Swift. “I just thought, Wow, she’s finally allowing herself to let other people know things aren’t always OK. You can be vulnerable and lonely and independent and strong and brave and scared all at once.”
Taylor on her friendship with Selena: “I knew from when I met her I would always have her back. In my life, I have the ability to forgive people who have hurt me. But I don’t know if I can forgive someone who hurts her.”
Selena on her friendship with Taylor: “We clicked instantly and, man, that was my girl,” Gomez says. “We both went through s— at the same time,” Gomez says. “She taught me a lot about how I should be treated at a young age.”
“There’s so much of my friendship with Taylor that people don’t know about because we don’t necessarily feel the need to post about everything we do,” Gomez explains. “She has showed up for me in ways that I would have never expected. Flown in because I was hurt and was going through something. Stuff that was going on with my family. It’s been proven year after year and in every moment of my life that she is one of my best friends in the world. We don’t agree on everything, but we respect each other with everything.”
On mental illness: “I feel like I was supposed to go through everything I’ve gone through. I had low self-esteem, and that’s something I work on continuously. But I feel so empowered because I’ve gained so much knowledge about what was going on mentally.”
“My highs were really high, and my lows would take me out for weeks at a time,” she recalls. Gomez has now been working with therapists for more than six years, she says, and has been in and out of treatment facilities. “I found out I do suffer from mental health issues,” she says. “And, honestly, that was such a relief.” “I realized that there was a way to get help and to find people that you trust,” she says. “I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”
On Social Media: “I took a break off Insta for a year, maybe a year and a half,” she says. “I’d rather stay away from anything that’s going to make me feel like s—.” But even music charts? “Honestly, anything in the internet world,” she says.
“I got back on [Instagram] because I was releasing music, but I just told my best friend Courtney [Lopez] yesterday, I’m going to have to take it off my phone again soon,” she says. “They know I have an addictive personality, and it can be unhealthy.”
On wanting to get back to acting: “I want to do movies so bad. I want to do TV so bad,” she says, adding she’s conscious of casting restraints. “I find that I look too young most of the time, or people can’t separate the two [the real Selena from a character], which bums me out. So I continue to audition, and I just have to wait for whenever my time is.”
On her physical illnesses: “The lupus was a huge thing that happened to me, then the kidney thing happened, and that was the scariest because, yeah, you could actually die,” she says. The transplant was a two-hour surgery. “The moment I came out I remember starting to shake and my mom screaming and then being put back under,” she recalls. Due to complications, the surgery lasted another seven hours, and in the process her doctors had to use arteries from her legs. “That’s what makes you go, You know what, I’m just so happy to be alive,”
This article is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s February Talents and Legends Issue out on newsstands Saturday, January 18th.
[Photo Credit: Lachlan Bailey/WSJ. Magazine]