Selena Gomez has never shied away from honesty with her fans, and she’s certainly not starting now. On Thursday, Gomez posted a picture on Instagram explaining why she’d been “laying low” the last couple of months, and no—her disappearance wasn’t due to a scandal or any clandestine work work on an album. Instead, as it turns out, Gomez had a secret kidney transplant over the summer, and she’s been taking it easy as she recovers.
In the past, Gomez has been open with fans about her struggles with lupus, a chronic disease in which an individual’s body attacks its own organs. The inflammation caused by lupus can damage tissues and organs, including a person’s kidneys—which is exactly why Gomez had to undergo a transplant.
“I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of,” Gomez wrote on Instagram, captioning a picture of herself and her friend, actress Francia Raisa, who donated her kidney to Gomez. “I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health.”
Gomez was effusive in thanking Racia for undergoing surgery for her.
“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend,” she wrote on Instagram. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
The “Bad Liar” singer promised to reveal more details later, in keeping with her usual habit of being open about her health concerns with fans. By talking about her experiences with lupus, which affects 1.5 million people in the United States and currently has no cure, Gomez has helped bring awareness to the autoimmune disease and helped young fans struggling with chronic illnesses feel less alone.
“It has been overwhelming and the response has been very supportive, which is nice,” Gomez told Billboard in December. “I’m not trying to be loud about it: It was time to use my platform to help.”
And that’s exactly what she keeps on doing. Congratulations to Gomez on the successful surgery, and here’s to hoping she’s fully recovered and ready to get back to doing what she loves.