Last summer, Grown-ish actor Francia Raísa helped her close friend Selena Gomez by donating her kidney to the singer, who has lupus. Though the procedure was critical for Gomez's health, the recovery wasn't easy. Raísa said Selena Gomez "could have died" after her kidney transplant in a new interview with W Magazine. Raísa revealed that undergoing the kidney transplant was scary and difficult for both friends, but she is ultimately glad she had the chance to help her BFF in such a profound way.
After the three-hour surgery Raísa felt unwell. “Recovery was hard,” she said. “I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to drink anything." Gomez had also suffered a complication. The actor explained:
"A few hours after our surgery, I woke up and had a text from [Gomez] that said, ‘I’m really scared.’ My kidney was very active, and when it turned I broke an artery. They had to take her into emergency surgery and get a vein from her leg and build a new artery to keep my kidney in place. She could have died.”
The friends chose not to share the details of their harrowing experience with many people outside of their inner circles for several weeks, waiting to go public with the story until they were further along in their recovery. Raísa shared, "We didn’t want to tell anybody because recovery was very hard for us, and we went through a depression at the time.”
Raísa and Gomez were buddies for years before the surgery in 2009. The two met while Raisa was an actor on the ABC Family drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Gomez was one of the biggest names on the Disney Channel. Raisa told W Magazine that they met on an ABC Family-Disney joint trip to a children's hospital and hit it off talking about their respective boyfriends. How their friendship grew is pretty darn relatable. She said:
"We just kept running into each other after that and talking about boys. One day she called me and was like, ‘Hey, I don’t have any friends. Why don’t we ever hang out?’ Then we’ve just been inseparable.”
Raísa was living with Gomez as her health was rapidly deteriorating. Raísa told the Today show after their surgeries that she witnessed Gomez being so weak she could not even open a water bottle. When she found out that Gomez needed a kidney, she immediately offered to get tested to see if she was a kidney match, which she was.
"My kidneys were just done," Gomez previously told Savannah Guthrie on the Today show. "That was it, and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me." She was amazed that her friend was willing to volunteer. She added, "The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real.”
Raísa seems like she has had no regrets about her decision. Shortly after the two went public about the procedure, she shared a picture of the two of them in hospital beds holding hands on Instagram and wrote, "I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process."
Likewise, Gomez has openly shared how thankful she was to Raísa. She also shared the same picture on Instagram and wrote, in part, "There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raísa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis."
Despite all the struggles the two had during their recovery, both are back to work. Raísa landed her role in the Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish with an audition that took place just weeks after the surgery. Gomez also told Billboard last fall that she has "two albums" worth of music that will be ready "soon."