In conversation with Fast Company, the 31-year-old singer spoke candidly about her exit from the social media platform in conjunction with her official split from Justin Bieber in 2018. In the spring of that year, the “Who Says” creator and “Ghost” vocalist called it quits after eight years of being in an on-again, off-again relationship.
And, according to Gomez, the breakup was a huge factor in removing herself from Instagram. Soon after the musical pair ended things, Bieber was confirmed to be dating Stephen Baldwin’s daughter Hailey. One month later, Bieber and Hailey were engaged, tying the knot in September of 2018.
For the former Disney Channel star, having just gotten out of the tumultuous relationship, she had no interest in keeping up with her ex. “I had just gotten my heart broken. I didn’t need to see what everyone was doing,” she told Fast Company.
“Then there were those moments of not feeling positive about how I looked because of what I’d see on Instagram,” Gomez continued. “Wow, I wish my body looked like that.”
The Wizards of Waverly Place lead explained how growing out of her “teenage body” and watching her figure develop was difficult. “None of the sample sizes were fitting, and that would make me feel embarrassed. Although how unrealistic is it to expect a normal woman’s body not to change?” she added.
Gomez was not only battling intrusive thoughts about her body, but simultaneously dealing with having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the same year she and Bieber split. The mental health advocate exposed her condition on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram live show Bright Minded in 2020.
“I grew up being a people pleaser,” the “Love Song” artist remarked. “I had a responsibility at a very young age – young people were looking up to me. I didn’t know who I was. Having that responsibility would make me walk on eggshells a lot.”
“I thought maybe it would be damaging to tell people who I am. It started to become a threat that freaked me out,” Gomez went on to say. “Well, if you’re not right, then you can’t work.”
Before the Only Murders in the Building cast member even knew about her condition, she had been struggling with uncontrollable mood swings. “I went through a really hard season [then]. It was my highs and my lows, and I didn’t know what to do, so I couldn’t control it,” Gomez admitted to Fast Company.
“I would want to cancel things. It was just a tormented feeling. That’s why, when I found out my diagnosis, it was just: ‘Oh, okay, I feel a bit relieved, I understand a bit more.’”
Gomez now considers herself to be on a different level than some of her famous counterparts. “I’m not unattainable. I look at someone like a Beyoncé, and I am amazed. My jaw drops. Every part of her is just impeccable, and it’s just so beautiful,” she noted.
“I went to her show and was blown away. But I’m just not that, and that’s okay,” Gomez continued. “I’m me, and I’m a little silly, but I also like being sexy and fun, and I also want to do good with the time I have here. We need goddesses like Beyoncé and Adele. But I’m just happy to be your best friend.”