Selena Gomez Opens Up About Healing After Justin Bieber 'Emotionally Abused' Her

"I'm not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse."

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber
(Image credit: Noel Vasquez)

Selena Gomez gave NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro one of her most open interviews yet (opens in new tab) on how she healed after her heartbreak, along with how toxic her on-off relationship with Justin Bieber had become before it ended for good in spring 2018. The singer spoke for the first time about how she believed she was a victim of emotional abuse when with Bieber. Bieber himself admitted before to "abusing" past relationships (opens in new tab).

Garcia-Navarro got Gomez to explicitly confirm for the first time that Bieber was indeed the inspiration behind "Lose You to Love Me." (opens in new tab)

Gomez started by discussing why the song meant so much to her: "I'm very proud of it," she said. "It has a different meaning to me now from when I wrote it. I felt I didn't get a respectful closure, and I had accepted that, but I know I needed some way to just say a few things that I wish I had said. It's not a hateful song; it's a song that is saying—I had something beautiful and I would never deny that it wasn't that. It was very difficult and I'm happy it's over. And I felt like this was a great way to just say, you know, it's done, and I understand that, and I respect that, and now here I am stepping into a whole other chapter."

"Saying goodbye to Justin Bieber, who I'm assuming you're speaking about," Garcia-Navarro said.

"You had to get the name in, I get it," Gomez conceded.

Garcia-Navarro asked if getting over Bieber and that relationship was one of the harder parts of her life she had gone through.

"No, because I've found the strength in it," Gomez said. "It's dangerous to stay in a victim mentality. And I'm not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse—"

"You mean emotional abuse?" Garcia-Navarro asked.

"Yes, and I think that it's something that—I had to find a way to understand it as an adult. And I had to understand the choices I was making. As much as I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I've ever felt and I've found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible."

Bieber did not give a comment to NPR on Gomez's claim. But on his Instagram this August, he wrote (opens in new tab) about how he abused drugs and his past relationships before getting help with his issues—some of which stemmed from being a child star.

"I started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships," he wrote of himself at his worst. (Bieber was dating Gomez on-off (opens in new tab) when he was 19.) "I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry. I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind a shell of a person that I had become. I felt like I could never turn it around. It’s taken me years to bounce back from all of these terrible decisions, fix broken relationships, and change relationship habits."

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Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she's not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.