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Selena Gomez Opens Up About Rehab and Why She Doesn’t Use Instagram

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue
Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott/Vogue

Selena Gomez had the most-liked Instagram photo of 2016, but she doesn’t even have the app on her phone because using it makes her “feel like s—.”

The “Hands to Myself” singer opens up about her 2016 rehab stay and disdain for social media in her very first American Vogue cover story, alongside a photo shoot with Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Selena tells the magazine that once she found out she was the most-followed person on Instagram, she “sort of freaked out,” because “it had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like s— when I look at Instagram. Which is why I’m kind of under the radar, ghosting it a bit.”

These days she doesn’t even have the password to her account — if you see new pics, they’ve been posted by Selena’s assistant.

Selena’s 90-day hiatus and “rehab stint” last year also comes up, a stay in a Tennessee psychiatric facility she says was catalyzed by the toll touring takes on her: “I’ve cried onstage more times than I can count, and I’m not a cute crier.”

“My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage,” Gomez told Vogue. “Basically I felt I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t capable. I felt I wasn’t giving my fans anything, and they could see it—which, I think, was a complete distortion. I was so used to performing for kids. At concerts I used to make the entire crowd raise up their pinkies and make a pinky promise never to allow anybody to make them feel that they weren’t good enough.”

“Suddenly I have kids smoking and drinking at my shows, people in their 20s, 30s, and I’m looking into their eyes, and I don’t know what to say,” she continued. “I couldn’t say, ‘Everybody, let’s pinky-promise that you’re beautiful!’ It doesn’t work that way, and I know it because I’m dealing with the same shit they’re dealing with. What I wanted to say is that life is so stressful, and I get the desire to just escape it. But I wasn’t figuring my own stuff out, so I felt I had no wisdom to share. And so maybe I thought everybody out there was thinking, This is a waste of time.”

After 90 days spent with “real people who couldn’t give two sh—s about who I was,” Selena returned to a revised version of her real life, and delivered her heartfelt speech (“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken”) at the 2016 American Music Awards. Selena currently lives in an AirBNB in the San Fernando Valley.

Read the full, intimate profile on Selena Gomez over at Vogue; the issue hits newsstands on March 28.

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