Selena Gomez announced on Aug. 30, 2016 that she is taking a break from her career to deal with the side effects from her recent lupus diagnosis.
“As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways,” the singer-actress told People magazine in a statement. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges.”
“I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off,” she added. “Thank you to all my fans for your support. You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”
Sources for the magazine shed further light on Gomez’s decision to step out of the spotlight, insisting it is “absolutely not related to alcohol or substance abuse” and that she simply “hadn’t felt like herself” in recent months. “She decided to clear her calendar for the year in order to have this be her priority for future happiness and didn’t want to leave any promoters at bay,” a source said. “She feels relieved that she can now make more sense of why she was feeling the way she was and is optimistic about the future.”
Fans grew concerned about Gomez—who previously underwent chemotherapy to treat lupus—in July 2016 after she posted a since-deleted cryptic Instagram message. “Tonight I felt extremely unauthentic, unconnected to both…myself and my music,” she wrote one day after turning 24. “I’ve never really felt like my materials, wardrobe or a video could define me. I act on a moment and fear something that hasn’t happened. I’m stagnant, I stay still and don’t just sit with myself first and ask, ‘Is this where I am, wholeheartedly?’ I’ve always told the truth. I’m always true to my word, I’ve shown who I am but I need to rethink some areas of my life creatively and personally. Had to get that out.”
She also got into a high-profile Instagram feud with her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, in August 2016, after Bieber grew impatient with fans for criticizing his relationship with his rumored new girlfriend, Sofia Richie.