The issues at the heart of Selena Gomez's latest passion project—suicide, depression, and emotional abuse—hit very close to home for the young singer-actress. Gomez, who's an executive producer on the upcoming Netflix series 13 Reasons Why addressed reporters at a press event on Wednesday, and revealed how her own "difficult time" made the production more authentic.
13 Reasons Why is based on Jay Asher's book of the same name, and tells the story of a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes explaining the reasons why. Each of the tapes focuses on a different person that Baker knew and the very real impact that they had on her life.
"I actually was going through a really difficult time when they started production," Gomez said at the Netflix panel. "I went away for 90 days, and I actually met tons of kids in this place that we're talking about a lot of the issues that these characters are experiencing."
Gomez says she dealt with similar issues, albeit in different ways. "Whether it was just kids, or growing up in the biggest high school in the world, which was Disney Channel, it was also adults that had the audacity to tell me how to live my life," she said. "It was very confusing for me, it was so confusing. I had no idea who I was going to be."
She's not kidding. In late August the 24-year-old announced she was taking some time off to focus on maintaining her emotional and physical health. In a statement at the time, Gomez revealed that she had been plagued by panic attacks, anxiety, and depression—all of which can be side effects of Lupus, which she revealed she was diagnosed with in 2014.
As the reigning queen of Instagram, Gomez knows better than anyone how social media can compound these issues. "It's hard right now. I can't stand social media, I can't stand what they're looking at," she said at the panel. "I can't stand what they think is reality and the show is as real as it could possibly get."
"I want them to understand it," she continued. "I would do anything to be able to have a good influence on this generation, but I definitely relate to everything that was going on [in the show]. I was there for the last episode, and I was a mess just seeing it all come to life because I've experienced that."
13 Reasons Why hits Netflix on March 31. Don't miss it.