EXCLUSIVE: Michael B. Jordan on Close Pal Selena Gomez' Lupus Battle: 'I Can't Imagine Her Not Conquering It'

by Leena Tailor 7:30 AM PDT, September 29, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Michael B. Jordan has spoken out about the health of his close friend Selena Gomez, describing the singer as a “really, really strong woman” who will conquer her struggles.

The 24-year-old pop star is reported to have entered rehab in early September for depression and anxiety caused by her battle with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease.

ET caught up with Jordan at Lupus LA’s eighth annual Get Lucky for Lupus celebrity poker tournament at Avalon Hollywood last Wednesday.

“Everybody comes to terms with it in their own time and she’s finally taking the time to deal with it and address it,” said the Creed star, who is intimately familiar with the effects of lupus as his mom, Donna, also suffers from the disease. “My advice would be, ‘Stay optimistic, don’t succumb to how you feel in the moment -- because it will pass and get better -- and surround yourself with positive people.”

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Jordan, 29, added that he has previously reached out to Gomez about the illness. 

“She’s a really good friend and we’ve talked and had conversations,” he shared. “She’s a really, really strong woman, so I can’t imagine her not conquering it just like she has everything else.”

The inflammatory disease causes the immune system to attack its own tissue, resulting in pain, inflammation and damage to body parts. Symptoms include chest pain, fatigue, hair loss and rashes, and in some cases, several symptoms occur at once, in what is referred to as a flare.

Gomez, who found out she had the disease four years ago, called off her Revival tour at the end of August, saying she wanted to be “proactive” about looking after her health.

MORE: Selena Gomez Opens Up About Rehab Stint and Battling Lupus -- 'I Needed Time to Just Be OK'

“I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges,” she said in a statement. “I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off."

Previously, the “Hands to Myself” singer had undergone chemotherapy for the illness.  

Having witnessed his mom’s battle with lupus, Jordan believes the hardest aspect of living with the disease is not feeling “healthy enough or good enough” to complete the most simple tasks and activities, which many people take for granted.

“Just day-to-day routine and the most normal things are really hard to do when you’re not feeling well and your lupus is flaring up,” the Fantastic Four star told ET. “Every day can be a struggle.”

Jordan also opened up about his own struggle of watching his mother deal with the illness after she was diagnosed in 2000, following complications with an operation on her knee.

“When I was younger I didn’t understand it as much,” admitted the star, who is preparing for his upcoming role as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. “As you get older, you really understand what’s what and the reality of the situation. Just coming to terms with the fact that she’s not healthy and there’s no cure for it is really hard. So you have to be extremely optimistic about finding a cure.”

MORE: Lady Gaga Reacts to Selena Gomez Taking Time Off -- 'Fame Is Very Isolating'

“There’s also a feeling of helplessness,” he continued. “The most frustrating part for the family around somebody who has lupus is that you just want to do something to help, but there’s not a lot you can do. So for me, the best way I can help is to just be present at events like this and to raise awareness and money because ultimately, research and time spent is what will correct the case.”

Jordan has, in fact, been instrumental in helping raise funds and awareness of the disease. Becoming an ambassador for Lupus LA he has worked closely with the organization’s chairman, Adam Selkowitz, and in June 2015 was publicly recognized for his efforts with the Loop Award at Lupus LA’s Orange Ball.

While watching his mom live with an incurable illness remains difficult, Jordan says Donna is currently doing well.

“She’s doing good,” he said. “She just had hip replacement surgery not that long ago, so she’s getting back on her feet and getting strong, but she’s doing well.”