It’s been quite a year for Selena Gomez — from her new music to executive producing a hit Netflix series, to her health struggles and continued Instagram fame — and Billboard honored her with “Woman of the Year” award at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music event.
Co-star Elle Fanning introduced Gomez at the ceremony. “It’s rare to find someone who uses their trials and tribulations to make everyone else stronger.”
Francia Raisa — the actress who donated her kidney to Gomez — presented her with the honor.
“When we first met, we bonded immediately,” Raisa explained.
“When I found out I was a match for Selena, I didn’t think twice about it,” she said of her kidney donation.
Gomez almost immediately teared up after accepting the award from Raisa, saying she saved her life.
“I feel incredibly lucky,” Gomez began. “Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position I’ve been given in my career.”
“I want people to know I respect the platform that I have so deeply,” Gomez said.
“Specifically this year, I would like to thank my amazing team and my family because they stuck with me through some really hard times,” Gomez continued. “I got to do a lot this year, even though I had a couple of other things to do.”
She then paid tribute to those who had come before her. “I’m so grateful for the older women who have lifted all of us up.”
After thanking Fanning and Raisa, Gomez added “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay it but maybe I’ll make an epic album next year.”