Selena Gomez’s My Mind and Me documentary was shot over six years, covering her life from 2016 to the present. During that time, Gomez and Justin Bieber ended their 10-year on-off romance for good, with Gomez having to also take in Justin’s quick engagement to Hailey Bieber in July 2018, just months after Gomez and Bieber ended their romantic relationship that March. But Justin was barely mentioned in the doc and only once by name by Gomez.
The focus of My Mind and Me is her mental and physical health journey, as she learned about her bipolar disorder diagnosis and survived an episode of psychosis in 2018.
Still, Justin—and really Gomez’s love life generally—was a major presence in the 2016 and 2019 portions of the film. Here’s where he was featured—and how the documentary showcased Gomez’s moving past him privately.
In the 2016 portion, when she was rehearsing for the Revival tour, Gomez name-dropped Justin…and how she wanted to be enough on her own.
Much of My Mind and Me‘s shooting took place in 2019 and beyond, but the project initially began in 2016 during Gomez’s Revival tour. After rehearsal, Gomez is very down on her performance and mentioned being afraid that she wasn’t seen as enough on her own.
It’s then that she alludes to a potential collaboration with Justin that ultimately wasn’t released. (Teen Vogue speculated this was the 2015 duet “Strong,” which was leaked but never ultimately came out.) When talking about the head of her record label, John Janick, she said, while crying, “I don’t know what John thinks, I want to talk to John. I don’t want to disappoint John. I don’t want him to think that he signed some f*cking Disney kid. It just sucks too, because the whole song thing. He called me this morning about the song with Justin, like, when am I just going to be good enough by myself? When am I just gonna be good enough by myself, not needing anybody to be associated with?”
Friends around her reassured her, “you already are.”
Paparazzi footage of Gomez throughout the film showed paps asking her about Justin.
Gomez wouldn’t mention Justin by name again for the rest of the film. But director Alek Keshishian wisely included paparazzi footage that put into stark focus how obsessed the public and press was with bringing up that relationship. In the 2016 portion in particular, paparazzi asked Gomez extremely personal questions about Justin that she just ignored, like, “Did Justin Bieber make you go to rehab?”, “Justin has a new girlfriend. Are you jealous, Selena?”, “Did you go back to drinking? Selena, where’s the alcohol?”, and “How are you feeling about Justin? Are you depressed?”
Later in the film, when focusing on “Lose You to Love Me,” paparazzi footage is shown again, with one pap asking Gomez, “Any comment on Justin Bieber’s engagement?”
Gomez talked about moving on from the Justin breakup when releasing “Lose You to Love Me” and how the split was “the best thing that ever happened.”
Justin’s last appearance in the doc came when Gomez discussed releasing “Lose You to Love Me”—her breakup song about him. It was the last time her love life was really referenced in the film, as the rest of it was about her mental health recovery and finding her purpose.
When discussing being ready to write about the experience, Gomez said, “I texted Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter and said I think I’m ready to just say I’m sad. We wrote the song in 45 minutes, the fastest song I’ve ever written. It’s about more than just a lost love. It’s me learning to choose myself, to choose life, but also hoping that people can find grace and peace in that too.”
“The song is about knowing that you completely lost every part of who you are just to rediscover yourself again,” she continued. “Everything was so public. I felt haunted by a past relationship that no one wanted to let go of. But then I just moved past it, and I wasn’t afraid anymore.”
“I feel like I had to go through the worst possible heartbreak ever and then just forgetting everything at the drop of a hand, it was really confusing,” she added. “But I just think that needed to happen and ultimately it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Keshishian asked her to repeat that. She playfully declined at first and then confirmed: “It was the best thing that ever happened to me, yes”
You can watch My Mind and Me on Apple TV+ now here.
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.