13 Reasons Why criticisms 'valid' - producer Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has addressed the controversy surrounding the hit teen suicide series she produced, saying simply: "The content is complicated".

13 Reasons Why, which premiered on Netflix earlier this year, centres on the self-inflicted death of 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who leaves behind 13 tapes - one for each of the people she says caused her to end her life.

The graphic suicide along with an explicit rape scene drew heavy criticism from mental health experts, who suggested the show's creators were careless with their treatment of such sensitive and potentially triggering subject material.

In an interview with US radio station Z100, pop singer and actress Gomez spoke out on the vitriol and discussion the show generated, admitting she was stunned by the response.

"I definitely was overwhelmed by the reaction. We'd had the book for seven years, so we knew we wanted to do the book justice because it had a following," Gomez told host Elvis Duran.

"The content is complicated, it's dark and it has moments that are honestly very hard to swallow. I understood that we were doing something that is difficult - but these kids today are so exposed to things that I would never even comprehend when I was eight.

"I feel like, if this is what we're going to talk about, we might as well do it in a way that's gonna be honest, that's gonna be real and that stays true to the book."

The 'Hands to Myself' hitmaker says the ground the first season of the series covered was hugely important, as it exposed the sorts of things teens are going through.

"Whether or not you wanted to see it, that's what's happening," she said.

"I think a lot of that stuff is uncomfortable for people to talk about, but hopefully it'll open the door for people to actually accept what's happening, and go and change it and talk about it."

Gomez says she understands where the criticisms of 13 Reasons Why were coming from, but insists that a lot will be addressed in the upcoming second season.

"All the questions that came up and all the talk about it was valid, and I understand it - but I think with season two we're gonna answer a lot of those questions, and there's gonna be a lot of resolution with the characters," she said.

"With season two we kind of go into where these characters are going... it's actually really encouraging and empowering. We're gonna take a little inspiration from the first [season] and bring it into the second."

It is not yet known when the second season of 13 Reasons Why will be available to watch on Netflix.