×

Selena Gomez Chokes Up While Describing ‘Life or Death Struggle’ With Lupus

Less than a day after performing at the 2017 American Music Awards, her first performance since undergoing a kidney transplant this summer, Selena Gomez took the stage at the Lupus Research Alliance’s Breaking Through Gala where she spoke about her “life or death” struggle with the autoimmune disease.

The event, held in New York City on Monday night, honored Gomez, who is an honorary chair for the foundation, for her help in spreading awareness for the disease. After being diagnosed with lupus arthritis roughly five years ago, Gomez underwent a kidney transplant this year with the help of her friend, Francia Raisa.

Though Gomez assured that she is “very well now,” she warned about the dangers of not taking medical diagnoses seriously, like she initially did. “They said I would be needing a kidney transplant,” Gomez said. “Maybe I wasn’t necessarily really good at knowing what that meant, so it actually got to a point where it was life or death. Thankfully, one of my best friends gave me her kidney and it was the ultimate gift of life. And I am doing very well now.”

Along with encouraging people to see a doctor immediately if they experience lupus symptoms, Gomez also hopes that research evolves and future generations don’t have to undergo as serious procedures as kidney transplants to better their health. “I would love to see the day when young women can realize their dreams of life above lupus,” Gomez said, choking up.

In addition to Gomez, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was also honored for the company’s $1 million donation to the alliance and lupus research. Though Burke praised the way NBCUniversal programs spread awareness about illnesses with “This Is Us” and “The Real Housewives” franchise (“make a positive impact on people’s lives”), he admitted that his shows and movies could never live up to the work that the Lupus Research Alliance does.

“[NBCUniversal] also knows how lucky we are and how fortunate I am that my job affords me the opportunity to be in contact with organizations such as this one that touches people’s lives in a way that is much more meaningful than any movie or television show could ever be,” Burke said. “It’s a privilege and not one I take lightly.”

Lupus Research Alliance 'Breaking Through Lupus Gala'

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19:

    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

  • Demi Moore Corporate Animals

    Demi Moore Teases Upcoming Memoir 'Inside Out,' Talks 'Corporate Animals' Team Bonding

    As Demi Moore gears up for the Sept. 24 release of her autobiography “Inside Out,” the actress says she feels like a weight has been lifted. “Even the stuff that I may have been nervous about is completely lifting…because it’s a process,” Moore told Variety at the premiere of her upcoming film “Corporate Animals” at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content