Singer/songwriter Bebe Rexha is the latest guest artist to appear on NBC’s Songland looking for his or her latest hit and giving aspiring songwriters a chance to break into the business. Ahead of her episode, here’s what you need to know about the musician’s unabashed candor about her sexuality and her struggle with bipolar disorder.
Rexha Opened Up About Being Bipolar in April 2019
A year ago, Rexha took to Twitter to tell her fans and followers, “I’m bipolar and I’m not ashamed anymore. That is all. (Crying my eyes out.)”
She continued, “For the longest time, I didn’t understand why I felt so sick. Why I felt lows that made me not want to leave my house or be around people and why I felt highs that wouldn’t let me sleep, wouldn’t let me stop working or creating music. Now I know why … This next album will be favorite album ever because I’m not holding anything back. I love you all very much. And I hope you accept me as I am.”
Then in a February 2020 interview with SELF magazine, the singer admitted that being diagnosed bipolar did “kind of f*ck [her] up for a little bit.”
“I was very fearful,” she said. “I didn’t want to think there was something wrong with me.”
She told the magazine that for years, she told her family and her therapist that she didn’t want to know what was going on with her because she was scared. But eventually, she faced her official diagnosis and says that sharing it with her fans was really freeing.
“That was my worst fear all my life: going crazy,” she said. “I felt like me opening up to my fans was me finally saying, ‘I’m not going to be imprisoned by this.’ And maybe it’ll make somebody not feel imprisoned, in that moment, if they feel like they’re going through a rough time. That’s why I decided to really open up and to free myself from that.”
She Also Says Her Sexuality is Fluid
Shortly after revealing her bipolar diagnosis to fans, Rexha did an interview with Health magazine where she talked about refusing to define her sexuality. She said she hasn’t publicly labeled her sexuality because she wants to “keep one thing personal” to herself.
“But I consider myself fluid. Until I find ‘the one,’ I can’t just say what I am. I just want to find someone I love and who loves me — and I don’t care if that’s a boy or a girl,” said Rexha, adding that she didn’t appreciate the backlash over the bicurious lyrics in “Girls” because fans “don’t know what my background is or what I’ve done or who I’ve made love to or what I consider myself.”
In the same interview, she talked about the body image issues she struggles with because she’s a size 8, which is a size considered too big in the entertainment industry — so much so that some designers wouldn’t dress her for the 2019 Grammys.
“When I first got signed to one of my deals, my managers … told me to lose 20 pounds, and it kind of messed me up. I went through a point of really not liking myself, and I still have my moments — but I just started trying to be nice to myself and doing things every day,” said Rexha, adding, “I see pop stars who are super thin. I could definitely get there. I’ve done it before, where I was 120-something pounds — and I was just miserable. I was always cold, never eating; I had no *ss. Now I look at those pictures like, ‘Oh my God, I was so skinny.’ But I wouldn’t go back there.”
Rexha’s Songland episode, where she finds a song to sing at the now-postponed 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, airs Monday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.