Why Did Selena Gomez Undergo Chemotherapy? The Singer Bravely Revealed Lupus Diagnosis In New Interview

When Selena Gomez took a break from Hollywood in 2014 and checked herself into a rehab program for reported "exhaustion," rumors began circulating about the reason for the stint. Now, Gomez is confronting the gossipers with her scary reality that has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol, as was rumored — in the pop sensation's new interview with Billboard, Gomez revealed that she was diagnosed with lupus, and that her short absence from Hollywood had everything to do with getting well by undergoing treatment. In this case, the treatment for Gomez's lupus was to undergo 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 said.

It's a shocking revelation from Gomez, but it's amazing to see her sharing her struggle so bravely and honestly — hopefully her candor about the subject will help others who might be going through similar struggles in their lives. Some might be wondering, however, why Gomez underwent chemotherapy — a treatment generally used to combat cancer — to treat an autoimmune condition. The answer, though, is simple: According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, and painful or swollen joints, which are symptoms that would be difficult on anyone — let alone someone who is expected to perform and behave a certain way in public. Though there are many ways to treat lupus, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it is not uncommon for those with the autoimmune disease to undergo some form of chemotherapy.

Recovery for lupus can be challenging on its own, but perhaps one of the biggest hurdles that Gomez had to go through was dealing with the scrutiny from the public. Though Gomez seems to be doing much better today, the pop star told Billboard that she was very frustrated with the rumors circulating her break from the spotlight: "I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I'm in chemotherapy," said Gomez of the rumors surrounding her at the time. "...I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again."

It's heartbreaking that the press made things more difficult for Gomez during a time when she was making her health her number one priority. While Gomez certainly doesn't owe the public an explanation, her reveal may ultimately help many people struggling with chronic diseases. It should also be a reminder to everyone not to jump on the gossip train: we never truly know what people go through until they choose to tell us their story and celebrity's like Gomez are no exception.

Hopefully, Gomez's reveal will give her some peace, and remind everyone struggling with illness that they are not alone.