Selena Gomez Says She Felt Like a Joke After Leaving Disney Channel

Selena Gomez opened up about her life in the spotlight on last week’s episode of 'The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter' podcast

Selena Gomez opened up about her unique life in the spotlight on last week's episode of The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast. 

"I felt like it was very difficult for people to take me seriously," the actress said of her time after leaving Disney Channel. "I have slowly pushed through that, and I'm really glad, but it was very frustrating. I felt like a joke, you know?"

Now 29, Gomez began her acting career at age 7 and quickly made a name for herself on Wizards of Waverly Place between 2007 and 2012. Before she'd even reached 20, Gomez became the first person to reach 100 million Instagram followers and had already built a starry music career with her band, Selena Gomez and The Scene. 

Since then, Gomez has worked hard -- personally and professionally -- to establish her adult identity. She's released three solo albums, worked in a variety of film and TV, and founded the intensely popular makeup brand, Rare Beauty. In 2020, she was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world. These steps did not come easily, though: Gomez was also diagnosed with lupus in 2014 and underwent a kidney transplant and chemotherapy for treatment. In 2018, she separated from her former boyfriend Justin Bieber, a relationship that was the focus of intense, years-long media scrutiny. Later, she gave up her social media accounts over to her assistants four and a half years while also working through a bipolar disorder diagnosis. She returned to her internet presence -- most notably TikTok -- earlier this year. 

"It was necessary for me to walk through those things," Gomez said of her personal struggles. "I had a lot of soul-searching to do. By all means I don't have life figured out, but I do know that during that time I was learning so much about myself. I was, you know, obviously going through a really tough break-up, and then I was left with the question of my career and where am I gonna go and what’s gonna happen? It just was all of these different things I was feeling. And then my medical stuff kind of kicked in — I was dealing with my lupus and I was dealing with some kidney problems. It was actually really hard. But, being on the other side of it, I have to be honest, it's actually been really good for me. It allowed me to develop a character where I don't tolerate any sort of nonsense or disrespect in any way, and I'm really proud of how I came out of it."

In 2022, Gomez is back and more resilient than ever. She earned her first GRAMMY nomination this year for her 2021 EP Revelación and now stars in Disney/Hulu's Only Murders in the Building. ET recently caught up with her and her OMITB co-stars, Steve Martin and Martin Short, following Gomez's appearance as SNL host.

"How did you think I did?" Gomez asked her co-stars --15-time SNL host Martin and former SNL cast member, Short.

"I thought you delivered the comedy so beautifully and so low key, but hilarious," Martin, who appeared in a skit on last weekend's show with Gomez, gushed.

"They kind of helped me with a few jokes," Gomez shared.

"We said, 'Go Selena,'" a proud Martin added.