Charlie Puth is still thinking about Selena Gomez.
The 26-year-old singer opens up about his brief fling with the former Disney star in the new issue of Billboard, confessing that their short time together left him "messed up."
"It's about a particular moment in my life, when someone very close to me wanted the attention of somebody else," Puth tells the magazine of his and Gomez's 2016 collab, "We Don't Talk Anymore." "When I found that out and we ended it, I might have done some shady things too, and she might have asked me, 'How long has this been going on?'"
If you think Puth was implying his songs "Attention" and "How Long" were about Gomez -- who dated The Weeknd last year before getting back with Justin Bieber -- you'd probably be right.
"I don't kiss and tell, but the only way a song like that can come across as real is if there's something else going on behind the scenes. And that's what was happening. Very short-lived, very small, but very impactful. And it really messed me up," Puth says. "I'm trying to put this the best way possible: It wasn't like I was the only person on her mind. And I think I knew that going in -- what I was getting myself into."
"You gather up a bunch of emotion with the life shovel, throw it in the life bucket, mix it up. And she evoked such good emotion on that song, it was a pleasure working with her," Puth continues. "That's why I'm always happy to sing it, even though it came from a dark point in my life."
In fact, "We Don't Talk Anymore" seems to be the only thing Puth likes from his first album, Nine Track Mind, which he describes as "bitten nails on a chalkboard."
"Everything I didn't want to happen to me -- typical things you hear about a young kid getting signed in the music industry -- happened to me," he explains. "I was being told to do this, this and this. I didn't want to do any of it, and I was just going along with the punches."
"I didn't feel like an artist until 'Attention' came out. And I feel like people are just starting to get it. I'm not mad that they're just finding out -- they're getting the message I wasn't allowed to say before. 'Attention' is me saying, 'F**k everybody: I'm doing this song the way I want to do it,'" he shares.