Selena Gomez Makes Emotional Return at the 2016 American Music Awards | NBC Southern California

Selena Gomez Makes Emotional Return at the 2016 American Music Awards

The singer made her first public appearance since taking a career hiatus earlier this year

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    Singer Selena Gomez arrives for the 2016 American Music Awards held at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

    Selena Gomez won her first American Music Award Sunday--and with her acceptance speech, she won the audience's hearts, too.

    After she was named Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, the "Hands to Myself" singer--making her first public appearance since taking a career hiatus earlier this year--spoke about her public struggles and how much it means to have such dedicated fans.

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    "Thank you guys so much," Gomez said, her voice shaking as she clutched her AMA. "In 2014, this stage was actually the first time that I was authentically 100 percent honest with all of you. I think it's safe to say most of you know my life whether I liked it or not. And I had to stop. Because I had everything. And I was absolutely broken inside. I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down."

    2016 AMAs Red Carpet Arrivals

    "I don't want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what's in here," Gomez said, pointing to her heart. "I'm not trying to get validation, nor do I need it anymore. All I can say is I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every day with people that I love. I have to say thank you so much to my fans, because you guys are so damn loyal, and I don't know what I did to deserve you. But if you are broken, you do not have to stay broken. That's one thing you should know about me: I care about people. And this is for you."

    As Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and other stars cheered, Gomez said, "Thank you."

    Gomez was also nominated for Artist of the Year, but lost to Grande.