Selena Gomez experienced another health scare several years after her lupus remission.
The emotional moment is captured in the singer and actress' Apple TV+ documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, director Alek Keshishian's (Madonna: Truth or Dare, With Honors) intimate portrait of the star that spans six years of her life.
In 2020, amidst the early days of COVID-19 lockdown and five years after she revealed that she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease and underwent chemotherapy as a result, Gomez woke up one morning sobbing in pain and feared that her lupus had once again returned.
"Is this what it felt like before when you found out you had lupus?" she's asked. Gomez, 30, who was diagnosed in her early 20s, says in between heaps of tears, "Yeah, but I was so young. I haven't felt it since I was younger." She explained that the pain permeated every inch of her body. "In the morning, when I wake up, I immediately start crying because it hurts," she says.
Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic Selena Gomez
A call from her doctor reveals she experienced something referred to as a lupus myositis rheumatoid overlap. Gomez was prescribed more Rituxan treatment, an antibody medication used to treat cancer and other types of autoimmune diseases, to help ease the joint pain. "Rituxan was really hard to do last time," she explains in the film. "It's a treatment they give through an IV [for] about four hours, five hours. It's really hard on your system at first, but it's okay."
Her treatment and recovery, as well as her 2017 kidney transplant, is documented in the doc, which also dives deep into her battle with mental health. Interspersed with vignettes from her childhood in Grand Prairie, Texas, and deeply personal diary entires, My Mind & Me begins with her preparation for her 2016 Revival tour (and its subsequent cancellation after more than 50 shows due to mental health tolls) and tracks other big moments that followed, such as her 2018 hospitalization following an emotional breakdown and highly-publicized breakup with Justin Bieber.
"I felt haunted by a past relationship that no one wanted to let go of," she says. Gomez found catharsis in writing 2019's "Lose You to Love Me," her first No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. "I had to go through the worst possible heartbreak ever and then just forgetting everything at the drop of a hand — it was really confusing," Gomez says. "But I just think that needed to happen and ultimately it was the best thing to happen to me."
Lighter moments also punctuate the otherwise solemn character study of a young star trying to break free from her Disney Channel image, such as the admission that Gomez once had a crush on fellow Disney alums Dylan and Cole Sprouse. A walk through the Wizards of Waverly Place alum's childhood home reveals Cole's name written on a door. "I'm sorry, Cole, if you ever see this," she quips.
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me debuts Friday on Apple TV+.
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