In a candid new interview with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro, the singer admitted the track helped her find closure after splitting from Justin for good in 2018, months before he wed model Hailey Baldwin.
Asked about the inspiration behind the number one song, Gomez said, "It has a different meaning to me now from when I wrote it. I felt I didn't get a respectful closure, and I had accepted that, but I know I needed some way to just say a few things that I wish I had said."
"It's not a hateful song; it's a song that is saying, 'I had something beautiful and I would never deny that it wasn't that'. It was very difficult and I'm happy it's over. And I felt like this was a great way to just say, 'You know, it's done, and I understand that, and I respect that, and now here I am stepping into a whole other chapter.' "
"Saying goodbye to Justin Bieber, who I'm assuming you're speaking about," Garcia-Navarro pried, prompting Selena to concede, "You had to get the name in, I get it."
Gomez also revealed she felt abused emotionally as Bieber's girlfriend, adding, "It's dangerous to stay in a victim mentality... I'm not being disrespectful (but) I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse... I had to find a way to understand it as an adult."
"And I had to understand the choices I was making. As much as I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I've ever felt and I've found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible."
Bieber has yet to respond to his ex-girlfriend's radio comments, but last year (19), he confessed he had been a bad partner in the past.
"l started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships," he wrote on Instagram. "I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry. It took years to bounce back from all these terrible decisions, fix broken relationships, and change relationship habits."