‘That’s why I took a break’: Selena reveals she needed chemotherapy

Back in 2013, Selena Gomez was almost constantly pictured on the red carpet or out in LA, usually on the arm of her then-boyfriend Justin Bieber.

But towards the end of that year, the singer dropped out of the spotlight unexpectedly, leading many to claim she was in rehab or simply couldn't take the pressures of fame.

In a new interview with Billboard, Selena has finally set the record straight, and the reality is far more upsetting than any rumour.

The 23-year-old was forced to undergo chemotherapy that year, to fight the auto-immune disease lupus.

"'That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke," Selena explains.

Lupus is a potentially fatal disease that causes the body to attack its own healthy tissue, leading to inflammation, joint swelling, fatigue, chest pain and hair loss among other symptoms.

Selena's diagnosis and subsequent treatment meant the singer had to cancel both the Australian and Asian leg of her 2013 world tour.

While some sources at the time claimed the cancellation was for medical reasons, Selena says it was tough reading the false tabloid reports suggesting she had a drug or alcohol addiction.

"I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re a**holes,'' she admits.

"I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again."

Emerging after treatement happier and healthier, Selena was again forced to deal with negative press earlier this year, this time for her body shape.

"I was in a bikini and got publicly ripped for being overweight," she recalls. 

"That was the first time I’d experienced body shaming like that. I believed some of the words they were saying."

Five months on, Selena is using that negativity in a constructive way, embracing her body and even posing naked on the cover of her upcoming album, aptly titled Revival.

"The hate motivated me,' she explains.

"This is my time. I’ve deserved this. I earned it. This is all me."