Selena Gomez: I refuse to let critics win

Story highlights

  • Selena Gomez responds to those who've criticized her tougher times
  • The actress and singer has admitted that she's "lost sight" of who she is
  • Adults have "picked on" her, she says
  • Gomez: "I refuse to let them win"

(CNN)Former Disney star Selena Gomez hasn't had the easiest year.

The 22-year-old actress/singer started off 2014 by quietly checking into an Arizona rehab facility, and then has spent the remaining months mired in rumors about her on-again, off-again relationship with Justin Bieber.
Gomez has been the first to admit she's been struggling: In March, she told an audience filled with students at WeDay's 2014 conference that she "lost sight of who I was."
    But while Gomez added that she's learned from her mistakes, learning from them in the public eye has made her a ripe target for those who've watched other young stars slide from fame to failure in the blink of an eye.
    "I get picked on by grown adults all the time," Gomez admitted to E! News while promoting her newest film, "Rudderless." "It's grown-ups and I don't get it. It just baffles me. I wish I could just sit them down and say, 'What were you doing at 15? What were you doing at 18? What were you doing at 21?' Because I can guarantee you it's not half of what I've done.'"
    It's true that Gomez has been working since she was a child; her first acting credit came on "Barney & Friends" when she was 10 years old.
    Since then, Gomez has gone from the baby-faced Alex Russo on "Wizards of Waverly Place" to doing more risque work like 2012's college romp "Spring Breakers." Now, the actress says she's trying to brush off recent criticism and keep moving forward.
    "Trust me, it's hard," Gomez told E!. "I've had my moments where I've let them get to me but I refuse to let them win."