“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy,” Gomez, 23, told Billboard magazine. “That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke,” she said.
Gomez cancelled concerts in Russia and Australia saying at the time that she needed “to spend some time on myself.”
The move, followed by a stint at an Arizona rehabilitation facility, generated tabloid rumours of struggles with pills, alcohol, or even difficulties over her breakup with pop star Justin Bieber, which Gomez told Billboard angered her.
“I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy,” she told the magazine in its new issue which was out on Thursday.
“But I was angry I even felt the need to say that. It’s awful walking into a restaurant and having the whole room look at you, knowing what they’re saying. I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”
Gomez gained fame as a Disney Channel actress in her teens on “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” before launching a music career with hits such as “Love You Like A Love Song.”
“It’s so disappointing that I’ve become a tabloid story. It took away everything I loved about this business,” she added.
Gomez, whose new album “Revival” debuts on Friday, said she is staying healthy now through “diet, routine and medication,” as well as by surrounding herself with supportive friends.
Some 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. The disease mainly strikes females between the ages of 15 and 44 years old.