Selena Gomez and her friend Francia Raisa are opening up about the surgery that saved the Hands to Myself singer’s life. “I had arthritis, my kidneys were shutting down,” Selena said during an interview on the Today Show that aired Monday, October 30. “My mentality was to just keep going. I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my body.” One day after struggling with the effects of the illness, the Disney alum returned to the home she shared with Francia, which is when her friend noticed that something was wrong.
VIEW GALLERY Francia and Selena sat down for their first interview since their surgery Photo: NBC
“[Selena] couldn’t open a water bottle one day and she chucked it and started crying,” the star of the upcoming Freeform show Grownish said. “And she goes ‘I don’t know what to do. The list is seven to ten years long.’ And it just vomited out of me. I was like ‘Of course I’ll get tested.'” After that conversation, Selena, 25, and her pal, 29, got the surgery process rolling, with Francia getting all of the appropriate test and blood work done in a day – a process that normally takes six months.
“I had to write a will, which was scary because there’s no guarantee I’ll wake up,” Francia confessed. When the day of the surgery arrived, the pair were right by each other’s side until it was time for Francia to be wheeled away. “I got to see you and tell you I love you,” Selena told her friend. “And then I went back to my room and attempted to fall asleep.” After her first surgery, Selena experienced complications and started hyperventilating. “I was freaking out,” she said. “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 thankful that there are people who know what to do in that situation.”
VIEW GALLERY In September, Selena revealed that she received a kidney from Francia Photo: Instagram/@SelenaGomez
After the private ordeal, the two stars returned to a shared residence, where they started the “humbling” road to recovery. “It was hard, because you constantly had to ask for help,” Francia said. "It was a really brutal process." Together, Selena, whose health has dramatically improved since the surgery, and Francia hope that their story will help inspire and educate others on the disease. “I just really hope that we can help somebody,” the Wolves singer said as she teared up. “I don’t think what we went through was easy, I don’t think it was fun.” She added, “I just hope that this inspires people to know that there as really good people in this world."
Selena was overcome with emotion as she opened up about Francia and her decision to save her life. "I guess I got to the point where it was really kind of life or death," Selena recalled. "My kidneys were just done. That was it. I didn't want to ask a single person in my life, and that was the day I came home when I found out and she volunteered and did it." When asked by Savannah if she feels her friend saved her life, the singer replied, “Because she did. That’s it.”
VIEW GALLERY The singer said her friend saved her life Photo: Instagram/@franciaraisa
In September, the Bad Liar singer, who revealed her struggle with Lupus in 2015, took to her Instagram to reveal that she received a kidney from Francia. “So 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,” the post read along with a photo of Selena and the Secret Life of the American Teenager star holding hands in hospital beds. “And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis."
After the Fetish singer shared the news, Francia broke her silence on the surgery with an Instagram post. “I am beyond grateful that God would trust me with something that not only saved a life, but changed mine in the process,” she penned. “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.”
WATCH SELENA AND FRANCIA SHARE THEIR STORY BELOW