Selena Gomez Talks to Hoda Kotb About Embracing Her Mental Health Journey: ‘I Told My Story, And I Felt Freedom From It’

TODAY Show co-host Hoda Kotb sits down with Selena Gomez — and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy — for this week’s episode of her podcast “Making Space” to discuss their mission to change the way we talk about mental health.


Gomez, 31, who has spoken in the past about her battles with bipolar disorder, told Kotb that she defines herself as a, “loving, caring… and a person who just genuinely wants to do anything to just help out someone,” Gomez said. “I think life can get distracting, and there’s so much noise, and titles don’t scare me anymore because I claimed my own story. I told my story, and I felt freedom from it.”

The singer said that advocating for mental health is something she’s always been passionate about. But before launching her Rare Beauty makeup line she wanted it to be “more than a brand,” and so insisted that before selling any product she wanted 1% of sales to go to Rare Impact Fund, which focuses on providing kids and teens with wellness resources, including information about suicide prevention efforts.

“Ultimately we are able to help over 700,000 schools, we’ve raised $13 million… my goal has always been, ‘How can I make a positive change in this world?,’” she told Kotb. “Doing it through makeup sounds a little interesting but it is a part of your mental health. It’s mind, body and soul, people think they should feel a certain way and I wanted Rare to be a place where everyone felt like they belong.”

Gomez also recalled a conversation with an older women going through a divorce around the time the singer released her empowering 2019 single, “Lose You To Love Me,” and said that their five-minute chat was way more gratifying that taking a selfie with a fan. “I just noticed that those are the things that keep me going,” Gomez said of meaningful interactions and the importance of making connections. “She made my day and I hopefully was able to make hers.”

Kotb described worrying that Gomez pours so much of herself into her work and into other people that she wondered how the singer has enough energy for herself. “It starts with the fact that I did take the step to get help,” Gomez said. “There was a lot happening and I wasn’t understanding my mind, I wasn’t understanding my reactions and my emotions. And that was probably the most painful time in my life.”

But once Gomez was able to talk to people and work out some of those issues, “it became so clear and so important to me that I now make it a part of my life. I have boundaries. I learned to say no when I need to. I have great relationships and friends and wonderful relationships with people that I learn from.” At the end of the day, she said, it’s about owning her power and knowing, “I am who I surround myself with.”

In March, Gomez spoke on a panel at SXSW about her vulnerable 2022 doc My Mind & Me, confessing that she was on the fence about releasing the move to the public. “The moment I did that, I felt this insane amount of release,” she explained at the time about a feeling that she had to hit “rock bottom” before being able to overcome some of her challenges. “There wasn’t any hiding anymore. It was probably one of the hardest moments of my life.”

The doc was filmed over six years and it delved into the singer’s battles with depressive episodes and anxiety; Gomez revealed in 2020 that she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. At the third annual Rare Beauty Mental Health Summit in New York in May Gomez — the most-followed woman on Instagram with 428 million followers — told Kotb that she disabled the comments on her Insta except for her friends. “So I think I’ve created boundaries to help me,” she said. “I felt empowered by doing that,” she added, “by saying, ‘This is just for me.’” 

“I will always be working on my mental health, and I will always evolve,” Gomez said at the event which also featured Surgeon General Murthy, who has worked with Gomez for years to address mental health-related challenges facing young people in the U.S. “I’m not better or worse than anyone. I’m simply just a person living and surviving every day.” 

And she still is. Speaking on Kotb’s podcast, Gomez said now when she looks in the mirror in the morning she sees someone who is “waking up every day and trying her best. And that’s all I could ask for at the end of the day.”

Listen to the full episode of “Making Space” with Gomez here.

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