"While people were writing that I was stupid for being in [the relationship], this is what I always saw in him," Gomez told The New York Times. "I’m like, duh!"
Like 21-year-old Bieber, Gomez is going through some changes herself. Her upcoming album, Revival, out Oct. 9, reflects that.
"It’s all part of my story. I’m growing and changing," the "Same Old Love" singer revealed, referring to both her past relationship and new album. "I was in a relationship, and I was being managed by my parents, and I was still under Hollywood and Disney, and I was being held to this expectation of being the good girl."
Gomez also opened up about some of her more private moments, where she often felt lost and unhappy.
"I knew deep down that this wasn't what I wanted to do -- being exhausted of forcing something that wasn't right, even in my personal life," she said. "I had to have moments where I was crying and I was like, 'Why am I not in love with what I do?' I was forced to get very uncomfortable for a while in order to make the decisions I made [which included switching labels and management]. I definitely remind myself that I’m in control. I feel like ultimately if I sit down and I think about a decision I need to make, it's really within myself. I make the decision. Everything goes through me."
Gomez and Bieber had a series of major ups and downs throughout their highly publicized on-again, off-again relationship from 2011 to 2014. Despite hidden messages to each other in their most recent songs and music videos, Gomez says they are just friends.
"I'll forever support him and love him in a way that ... We grew up together," Selena told Elle magazine this month. "I think people want it to be different."
Bieber recently spoke up about his comeback, his emotional VMA performance and feeling judged. Watch the video below to hear him candidly chat about his soul-searching journey on the Today show.