Selena Gomez broke the news on Instagram in the middle of September that she had undergone a kidney transplant due to the severity of her Lupus condition and the donor was her best friend, Francia Raisa. Selena admits that before the surgery, her body was shutting down and she kind of just denied the whole thing. She told TODAY show anchor Savannah Guthrie, "I would get fevers, headaches. I would get fatigue. But I always just kept going. I kind of ignored it, to be honest, because it wasn't something that maybe really I wanted to accept...I don't think I made the right decisions. Because I didn't accept it. And that's extremely selfish, and at the same time, really just unnecessary. I'm not really proud of that."
But, because they are best friends, Francia knew something was wrong. She was about to move out of the house she shared with Selena but it was the "Bad Liar" singer that asked her to stay. She said, "One day she [Selena] came home and she was emotional. I hadn’t asked anything. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well. She couldn’t open a water bottle one day. She chucked it and she started crying. And I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and that’s when she told me. And she goes, ‘I don’t know what to do. The list is seven to ten years long. It just vomited out of me: I was like, ‘Of course I’ll get tested'."
Francia completed the testing needed to be done in about a day. Because this was an emergency situation, it all happened so fast. Usually, the process takes about six months. Selena said, "The thought of asking someone to do that was really difficult for me. She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real."
So, how did Francia tell Selena she had made the decision to donate a kidney? Apparently, Selena found out on her own. But, Francia gave her a gift to solidify the deal.
She said, "But, I did have a surprise and I made her pretend she didn't know anything. I said we're actors, we're acting right now, this is the scene. Very dramatic. So I'm walking in, I had a case that I had engraved, it looked like a Bible and on top of it I had a quote that she gave me when we first started becoming friends and it said, 'A sister is a forever friend.' So I had that engraved and then inside I had a kidney bean and that was my way of telling her."
Fans of the singer were able to get a sneak peek at the interview a few days early. A clip from the exclusive sit down was released and even that had everyone in tears. Selena said, "My kidneys were just done. That was it and I didn't want to ask a single person in my life. That was the day I came home and I found out, she volunteered and did it."
Selena believes Francia really did save her life. She said, "Because she did [saved her life]. That’s it. I guess I got to the point where it was really kind of life or death." The whole thing is very real, raw and emotional. Francia did not say anything in the video clip, but she did reveal her side of the story in the full interview. She even talked about fearing for her own life.
Francia said, "I had to write a will, which was scary because there’s no guarantee I’ll wake up." While Francia's surgery went well, the same couldn't be said for Selena. Once the "Wolves" singer was awake with her new kidney she felt a terrible pain. Selena explained, "My teeth were like grinding, I was freaking out. It was a six-hour surgery that they had to do on me, and the normal kidney process is actually two hours. Apparently one of the arteries had flipped. I’m very grateful that there are people who know what to do in that situation."
After that second surgery, Selena is healthier than ever. She revealed that there is only a three to five percent chance that her Lupus will ever return. Her blood pressure is better. Overall, she is a new person and it's all because of what Francia did for her.
Last year, Selena took some time away from the spotlight to deal with anxiety and depression which was ultimately triggered by her Lupus. She said, "I went away to a facility. I took some time off. I needed to get my mind right, be healthy. I removed myself from everyone in my life." Francia admitted that even though this was hard for her, she had to let Selena do what was best for her.
"We went six months without speaking. It was a huge lesson of friendship for me, and trust. Because it's easy to feel offended or want to be there. It's just, they need to go through their own thing."
After everything that the girls have revealed about their journey, Selena has made it a point that she doesn't want anyone to feel bad for her. This was something she went through that has made her the person she is today. "I don't want people to think it's a sad thing that I went through this with Francia or with anything in my life. I think all of the stuff that I went through made me and defined everything that I am right now. It's a really beautiful thing and I have to remind myself of that. It's not a negative experience."
She continued, "What I believe is that it does happen for a reason. I think a huge part of my discernment and my honesty and my truth has been because I've had a relationship with God."
The girls have been friends for a very long time and ultimately, this has made them friends for life. After Selena shared part of her story on Instagram, Francia shared hers. She wrote, "I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process. This was part of our story, and we will share it soon, but what is important now is that this is not the only story. For more information regarding Lupus, please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org -- Love you sis, so glad we’re on this journey together. ❤️ xx."
Francia truly is a hero. Not only is she a hero to Selena, but she's also a hero to others who are following this story and might be in the same situation. This is the first time Selena and Francia are speaking out about the surgery and what happened when they realized the transplant needed to happen or the "Bad Liar" singer's life could have been cut short, which is something truly terrifying to think about. We're so proud of both girls that they are not only talking about their experience and raise awareness for Lupus at the same time.