Francia Raisa and Selena Gomez have been the absolute best of friends — possibly even more so than Gomez and Demi Lovato or Taylor Swift ever were, because, well, Raisa gave Gomez a kidney. In addition to sharing experiences in show business through Disney brands (Gomez on the Disney Channel’s Wizards Of Waverly Place and Princess Protection Program and Raisa on Freeform’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, followed by the Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish), the young women share a bond that few other celebrity friendships can match. However, their companionship, like others, has had a series of ups and downs, some of which have been extreme.
As of this writing, it’s unclear how close they remain after everything that’s gone down between them. From health scares to friendly frustrations to boy drama, get to know the intimate pact and complicated camaraderie that Gomez shares with Raisa, the woman credited with saving her life.
Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa used to be roomies
Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa have been close since 2007. Raisa told Latina in 2013 that she met Gomez, then a Disney star, when the House of Mouse paired them up to visit the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles together for charity. Raisa and Gomez reportedly lived together, at least temporarily, around 2017, and Raisa has said they enjoy girls’ nights eating Mexican food. In 2018, Gomez revealed she no longer was living in Los Angeles, so it’s unclear whether she and Raisa have continued cohabiting.
Raisa is so close with Gomez that she even starred in two viral videos that the former Disney starlet filmed amid her more tumultuous times during her relationship with ex Justin Bieber. Raisa can be seen dancing with Gomez and pals to Dustin Tavella’s « Everybody Knows » in 2013, as well as to Gomez’s BFF Taylor Swift’s « I Knew You Were Trouble. » The pair were so close, in fact, that Gomez’s mother, Mandy Teefey, openly regards Raisa like her own daughter, and Gomez and Raisa often call each other « sis » and « hermana. »
How much did Selena Gomez help Francia Raisa’s career?
Having a friend like Selena Gomez obviously comes with some benefits, seeing as she’s one of the biggest stars on the planet. Francia Raisa admitted as much to Rogue when she said, « Honestly, Selena has been a huge help in my career. I’ve seen her grow and she’s seen me grow and we have a lot of conversations about the industry. In seeing how much she has to go through. I’ve learned a lot myself, and so I’m really grateful to her and what she’s confided in me and taught me. »
In fact, a professional struggle both Gomez and Raisa share is looking younger than their years. Raisa lamented to Rogue that she initially wanted to pursue « older roles, » but that she looks so youthful onscreen, she often found herself playing teenagers even into her late 20s. Gomez similarly griped to Harper’s Bazaar of her own babyface in 2013, « I’m getting older, though I don’t look it at all — I hate it now, but I’ll love it later. »
Francia Raisa immediately volunteered a kidney for Selena Gomez
Francia Raisa and Selena Gomez were living together when Gomez learned that she needed a kidney transplant due to her struggles with lupus, the complications of which included arthritis. Raisa reportedly volunteered her own kidney without a second’s hesitation in order to save her friend’s life. Raisa recalled on Today in October 2017, « One day she came home, and she was emotional. I hadn’t asked anything. I knew that she hadn’t been feeling well. She couldn’t open a water bottle one day and she chucked it and just started crying. » Gomez then told Raisa she needed a kidney transplant, but was scared of the seven- to 10-year wait for a donor. « And it just vomited out of me, » Raisa said. « I was like, ‘Of course I’ll get tested.' »
Raisa immediately got a full physical exam, as well as blood and urine testing. Today reported that the process, which typically can take months, finished in just a single day. Gomez « She lived with me in this interesting time where my kidneys were just done, » Gomez explained. « That was it and I didn’t want to ask a single person in my life. The thought of asking somebody to do that was really difficult for me. And she volunteered and did it … The fact that she was a match, I mean, that’s unbelievable. »
Selena Gomez had complications after her kidney transplant
After her kidney transplant, Selena Gomez almost immediately suffered complications when « her new kidney started turning around inside her body », sending her right back into the operating room for emergency surgery. « I was freaking out, » Gomez revealed on Today, adding, « 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. » Francia Raisa told W that Gomez texted her, admitting she was scared for her life; she also explained that Gomez’s doctors had to take a vein from the singer’s leg to essentially create a new artery for her new kidney.
Thankfully, it was for the best and Gomez is doing fine now with her new kidney. « As soon as I got the kidney transplant, my arthritis went away. My lupus — there’s about a 3-5 percent chance it’ll ever come back, » she told Today. « My blood pressure is better. My energy, my life has been better. »
Francia Raisa had a tough recovery after her donation
Though Selena Gomez is the one who actually needed a new kidney, Francia Raisa says she, too, had a bit of a tough recovery, though she didn’t experience the terrifying complications that Gomez did. Raisa told W that her recovery was « hard » and that she didn’t want to eat or drink anything for a while after the procedure. She also said the difficulties associated with the process were part of why the girls kept it a secret for so long.
« We went through a depression at the time. We kind of just wanted to be normal and not have that attention on us, » she admitted. Raisa told Harry Connick, Jr. in February 2018, « It’s harder as the donor because we are losing something our body didn’t need to lose, so trying to recover from that, and she’s gaining something her body needed. So she was up and at it immediately, and I had a hard time. » Raisa couldn’t do any physical activity other than walking for two months, and before that she needed help doing basic tasks like showering and simply getting up.
Raisa’s recovery affected not just her health, but also almost impacted her career: She confessed to W that weeks after surgery, she auditioned for Grown-ish and was in so much pain she could barely open the door to get inside the room, but kept it a secret from the casting directors.
Is Selena Gomez not taking care of her new kidney?
Since the kidney transplant, Selena Gomez has been to rehab twice that the public is aware of. The Blast reported in February 2018 that Gomez spent two weeks in a facility to focus on her mental health, as her lupus and kidney transplant understandably caused her to have a tough few months. She reportedly was in treatment to get her anxiety and depression under control. About eight months later, Gomez went to rehab again in the same East Coast facility, The Blast reported, after physical effects of her kidney transplant allegedly gave her an « extreme » panic attack. TMZ additionally reported that Gomez had a breakdown after learning of « an alarmingly low white blood cell count » that eventually led her into an emotional spiral that resulted in her being hospitalized.
While Gomez reportedly wasn’t being treated for substance abuse, reports of her drinking — a habit to which she admitted in Elle — raised red flags, with at least one doctor who hadn’t treated her speculating to Radar Online that her alleged alcohol consumption could worsen her lupus and threaten her life. A source told the outlet in October 2018 that Gomez allegedly refused to stay sober despite what they claimed were doctors’ orders, and that her drinking was partly to blame for her physical and mental health crisis.
Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa were rumored to have stopped speaking
In summer 2019, a report surfaced claiming that Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa were no longer on speaking terms and hadn’t seen each other since October 2018. A source told Radar Online that Francia was frustrated with Gomez for not taking her health seriously, explaining, « Selena did the exact opposite of what she said she was going to do when she got well again. She said she was not going to drink anymore, but she did. » The source said Francia confronted Gomez about her habits out of worry for her wellbeing, and it didn’t go over well. « She cares about her and she loves her, » the insider said. « She told her that she was just really making some unhealthy choices, and that she was concerned for her. » The insider claimed that while Gomez is healthy now, it may be difficult for her and Raisa to be as thick as thieves like they were before after Raisa allegedly called Gomez out.
However, while neither Raisa nor Gomez have spoken out about the rumors, a source close to the singer told Gossip Cop that the reports were false and that Gomez and Raisa were actually together the week before the reports were published.