The last few years haven't been easy for pop star Selena Gomez and her family. In September, the singer and actress revealed in an Instagram post that she had undergone a kidney transplant over the summer due to complications from lupus.
The former Disney star wrote that the surgery was needed to improve her overall health as she battled the debilitating autoimmune disease that affects around 1.5 million Americans.
Two months after coming clean about her transplant, Gomez sat down for her first interview and revealed that she had to undergo a second emergency surgery to fix a flipped artery. Following the procedures, the Good For You singer is now in remission, and with the support of her fans, family and friends, already gave her first performance in over a year at the American Music Awards in November.
"It’s really hard to think about, or even to swallow, especially now that as soon as I got the kidney transplant, my arthritis went away, my lupus, there’s about a 3 to 5 percent chance it will ever come back, my blood pressure is better,” Gomez said. “My energy, my life has been better."
While it wasn't an easy journey, Gomez's surgery scars will fade and her pain will subside, but there is one big scar that her family haven't been able to heal - the loss of Gomez's unborn sister, Scarlett.
During the 2011 holiday season, Gomez revealed that she was going to become a big sister. Her parents, mom, Mandy Teefy, and stepfather, Brian Teefy, were expecting a baby.
“Momma and Brian are finally letting me share the news,” she wrote on Instagram. “My mommys carrying my baby brother or sister 🙂 I’m the happiest girl in the world!”
Unfortunately, Mandy had a miscarriage and Scarlett never made her debut.
Now, six years after her loss, Mandy shared an emotional post on Instagram remembering the daughter she lost on December 17, 2011.
Mandy shared a series of photographs, including one where she is holding Gomez as a baby and another where Gomez smiles as she places her hand on her mother's pregnant belly.
"Thank you to all the fans who honored our Scarlett yesterday," Mandy wrote in the caption. "Dec. 17th will never be the same, but we decide to celebrate her by writing her letters on red balloons and releasing them."
"A moms love for their children is pretty fierce," she continued. "In order of my girls, Selena, Scarlett and Gracie."
Mandy, who has been working alongside her popstar daughter as one of the executive producers of the Netflix hit show 13 Reasons Why, also expressed gratitude towards her colleagues, referring to them as "family 13."
“Family is what matters, blood or not, #family13 made me smile and feel loved when so needed and they didn’t know,” she continued.
She also reassured fans that they're considered family in her eyes, "Fans, I want you to know you are family because I have a huge family and you are the only ones who remember! XO forever."
Thank you to all the fans who honored our Scarlett yesterday. Dec 17th will never be the same, but we decide to celebrate her by writing her letters on red balloons and releasing them. Now the 17th is intertwined with the wrap of S2. So, she was there in spirit as always. A moms love for their children is pretty fierce. In order of my girls, Selena, Scarlett and Gracie. Family is what matters, blood or not, #family13 made me smile and feel loved when so needed and they didn’t know. Then, I came home to Brian and Gracie to send our love to Scarlett. Fans, I want you to know you are family because I have a huge family and you are the only ones who remember! XO forever.
Although Scarlett will never be forgotten, Mandy and Brian welcomed their rainbow baby, Gracie, in 2013.
Selena has taken on her big sister role in full stride, and even occasionally pens heartwarming messages on social media to her 4-year-old sister.
"I will forever let my sister know she is strong, bold and beautiful," the singer wrote in an Instagram post. "She will be raised to know her voice matters. She is going to understand the importance behind being a leader and inspire others by her truth."
Rest in peace Scarlett.