Selena Gomez needs some time away from the spotlight. The singer, who recently wrapped up her Revival world tour, released a statement today to explain to fans that she’s decided to take some time off to focus on her health and the unfortunate side effects of her 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 24-year-old told People, who first reported the story. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges.”
She continues, “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. 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.”
The young singer broke her silence on her lupus diagnosis during an interview with Billboard magazine for their October 2015 issue, where she also revealed that she’d been keeping an even bigger secret—she went through chemotherapy.
“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 tells the magazine of her time spent away last year, which caused a flurry of speculation as to what caused her decision to stay MIA.
“I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re assholes.’ I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again,” she recalled.
Kenneth M. Farber, the co-CEO and co-president of the Lupus Research Alliance, tells People, “it is not commonly known that depression, anxiety and panic attacks can be side effects of lupus. We are so proud of Selena for taking care of herself and bringing awareness to this sometimes very misunderstood illness.”
Furthermore, a source tells the mag that Gomez’s time off has nothing to do with “alcohol or substance abuse,” and explains that Selena just “hadn’t felt like herself” lately. “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.”