Demi Lovato says there was a time she did not believe she would make it to age 21.
The pop star, now 23, had battled drug and alcohol addictions, bipolar disorder and an eating disorder for years and underwent rehab in 2010, at age 18. She has spoken about her personal struggles before and revisits them in July’s edition of American Way magazine for American Airlines.
She recalls how she used to self-medicate with alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin.
“I lived fast and I was going to die young,” Lovato says. “I didn’t think I would make it to 21.”
Lovato made headlines in 2010 when she punched a backup dancer on her tour with the Jonas Brothers, her co-stars from the Disney Channel’s Camp Rock film series. The singer then checked into rehab for three months, where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also treated for bulimia.
“So now I’m in rehab,” Lovato tells American Way, “and I thought, ‘Oh great, now the world thinks I’m just another stereotype.'”
“I thought, ‘I’m not in treatment for a drug and alcohol problem,’ ” she adds. “But once I started eating again, the other issues got worse. It was like whack-a-mole.”
In January 2013, it was revealed Lovato had checked into a sober house. She remained there for about a year. Lovato had said on Access Hollywood that December that before she sought treatment for substance abuse, she “couldn’t go without 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine” and would even sneak some onto airplanes.
American Way says the singer took her last drink in January 2012 and continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as many past addicts do. Lovato celebrated her fourth year of sobriety this past March.
Lovato’s body image battle began long before she was officially diagnosed with bulimia. The singer recalled looking down at her belly as a small child and wondering if it would ever be flat. She had made similar comments in an interview on Katie in 2012.
Her mother, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and Lovato’s grandmother had both struggled with bulimia, American Way said.
“Even though I was 2 or 3 years old,” the singer tells the magazine. “Being around somebody who was 80 pounds and had an active eating disorder…it’s hard not to grow up like that.”
Her mother’s eating disorder worsened after Lovato’s father, who also battled bipolar disorder and alcoholism, separated when Lovato was a toddler, American Way reported. He died at age 54 in June 2013.
“Hopefully my kids won’t have it, but it’s kind of like addiction,” the singer says about bulimia. “It’s hereditary.”
Lovato also tells American Way about how she would compete in child beauty pageants until age 12 and that she attributes some of her insecurities to “being onstage and judged for my beauty.” She said she began binge-eating when she was 9 and later started binging and purging as she gained weight with age and compared herself to skinny models. She was also being bullied in school and began cutting herself.
Lovato nowadays uses her fame to raise awareness for body image acceptance. She is known for slamming the “thigh gap” trend and has embraced a healthy gym regimen, as seen in videos posted on her Snapchat.
Lovato has over the years inspired scores of her fans by overcoming her struggles.
“When I have meet-and-greets, I can’t tell you the amount of times that girls will show me their arms covered in scars or cuts,” Lovato tells American Way. “They’ll tell me, ‘You helped me get through this. Because of you, I stopped self-harming,’ or ‘I got sober.’ Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.
She also tells the magazine she did not enter treatment thinking she was going to become “an inspiration.”
“At times I was resentful for having that kind of responsibility,” she says. “But now, it’s really become a part of my life. It holds me accountable.”
Category: Articles and Press
Demi Lovato, Allure’s February cover star, has been modeling attitude and independence for years. She is the antithesis of the sugarcoated pop star, with her slashed jet-black hair and constellation of tattoos. And while she’s hardly the first star to rebel against her Disney roots, she was one of the first to speak candidly about her demons.
In 2009, photos surfaced showing Lovato with cutting scars on her wrist, and a year later, she sought treatment for bulimia. In 2010, while on tour with the Jonas Brothers, Lovato made headlines for punching a backup dancer while traveling to Peru; she checked herself into a rehab facility shortly thereafter. Ultimately, she decided to come forward and address the issues. “I realized I could help people,” she says. When a young star shares the unvarnished truth, she adds, “it creates a conversation—there’s an opening for children themselves to actually come forward and say, ‘This is what I’m dealing with.’ Or ‘I have a problem. I need help.'”
In the years since then, Lovato has incorporated her struggles into her music and her message, talking about her battles with anorexia and bulimia, self-harm, and drug abuse. (In 2013, two years after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she wrote a New York Times best-seller, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year [Faiwel & Friends].) Along the way, she has gotten both support and criticism for her outspokenness. “I’ll have people who are like, ‘Stop talking about eating disorders. Like, we get it. You struggled. Now shut up,'” she says, unfazed. “I’m sure they get tired of reading about it, because I get tired of talking about it, but this summer I started wearing sexier stuff, and I got some hate for that—like, ‘You’ve changed.'” She smiles at the irony. “It’s like, What’s wrong with being confident enough to wear this?”
It’s a refrain that has struck a chord with fans of all ages and particularly with young women, who, more and more, are idolizing bold, unapologetic, tough-girl heroines. And Lovato’s latest style evolution is as much of a declaration as her music itself. “I’ve never felt as confident in my skin as I do today,” says Lovato. “A year ago, on tour, almost every inch of my body was covered by clothing, and it was because I was hiding behind so many layers. Once I started feeling better about myself, I felt better about showing more skin. I have insecurities about my arms, so to wear a tank top on stage is extremely liberating for me, and uncomfortable sometimes. It’s also a statement, like, ‘Hey, watch out. You’re no longer getting the insecure Demi that you’ve been getting for the past couple of years. I mean business now.'”
Maybe it’s her Disney training, but at times, Lovato sounds a bit like the star of her own ABC Afterschool Special. She is hyperaware of her role-model duties and has no shortage of learned lessons to share, especially when it comes to staying healthy, in body and in mind. She is a big proponent of self-care—hence the foot massages. On the road, she exercises regularly and relies on a nutritionist to send her meals. “My food choices don’t rule my life anymore,” she says.
“My 2015 has been incredible,” says Demi Lovato, 23, whose fifth album Confident arrived in November. “People look at me as an artist that has been around for a while, rather than another former Disney star.” Sure enough, Lovato’s most recent record debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, bolstered by the coyly bicurious lead single “Cool for the Summer” and the triumphant title track. Even more spectacular, though, was watching Confident’s declaration of self-love at work in her own life. Lovato — who has been frank about her struggles with addiction, depression and body image — never has been afraid to show her vulnerabilities. But with the launch of her mental-health campaign “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health” in May, which led her to speak even more openly about living with bipolar disorder, she also showcased her hard-earned self-confidence (even posing nude in an unretouched, makeup-free Vanity Fair photo shoot). This was the year Lovato redefined “fearless.”
“The biggest struggle isn’t being a ‘woman in the industry,’ it’s being a ‘celebrity’: People feel entitled to demand things because they feel you belong to them. To me, it’s less about gender and more about fame.”
On Going Nude and Makeup-Free
“The response has been incredible. I’m really glad people understood the meaning and the purpose behind it.”
“If I was able to record a song with Kelly Clarkson, that would be a dream come true.”
“Tove Lo’s ‘Talking Body’ and [Hailee Steinfeld’s] ‘Love Myself’ — they’re probably the songs I listened to most this year.”
Debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with Confident
Hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Cool for the Summer”
Lobbied legislators on behalf of advocacy campaign “Be Vocal”
Released Demi Lovato: Path to Fame mobile app
Visited Sweden twice: “I really enjoyed Stockholm!”
The pop star participated in a rally as part of her awareness campaign.
For better or worse, issues of mental health have catapulted into the news cycle as politicians and commentators try to make sense of the mass shooting in Oregon last week. John Oliver pointed out the connection in a Last Week Tonight segment on Sunday, in which he suggested that some politicians have used mental illness as a scapegoat in addressing gun control. But on the other hand, he said, “if now is our only opportunity to have a conversation about public health, perhaps we should do it.”
It can be a tough conversation given the social stigmas, but it’s one that pop star Demi Lovato is more than willing to have. As the spokesperson for the mental health awareness campaign “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health,” the 23-year-old has been candid about her struggle with bipolar disorder and depression, which she manages through medical treatment and medication.
This week, Lovato took her cause to D.C., where she met with Linda Rosenberg, the president and CEO of the nonprofit National Council for Behavioral Health, and advocated on behalf of the millions of Americans who suffer from mental illnesses. Her visit was part of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 11th annual Hill Day, an event aimed at encouraging federal mental health and addiction reform.
The group has been active in pushing Congress to pass a series of bills that would fund addiction prevention and recovery, authorize a national mental health education program, and maintain the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, a government-run organization that is facing a proposed $127 million budget cut.
“What I would love to see is comprehensive mental health reform in our government, and I think it’s really important that mental health treatment is more accessible than it is,” Lovato said Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall. When it comes to her own diagnosis, Lovato said, “there were tons of signs that were missed” by the people around her, but the primary problem was that she didn’t vocalize them. “I think that the more that you’re vocal for yourself and also others, the more that people can help you,” she said.
About one in five adults—or an estimated 43.8 million Americans—experienced mental illness in the past year, but less than half that number received mental health services, according to a 2013 survey by the U.S. Department of Mental Health Services Administration. Of the roughly one in 20 adults—or 10 million—living with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder, more than 30 percent did not receive mental health services in the past year, according to the same report.
As conversations about mental health have been elevated in the media following the Oregon shooting, Lovato echoed Oliver’s sentiments when she argued that mental disorders are not the root of violence—at least not against others. “Unfortunately we’ve had several instances where mental health has been brought to the attention by the media because of these tragedies,” she said during her MSNBC interview. “I think it’s really important to remember that actually people with mental illness are actually more likely to inflict harm on themselves and become the victim rather than be the perpetrators.”
Vanity Fair photographer Patrick Ecclesine was with Demi Lovato this week when the singer was suddenly inspired to pose for a series of portraits, with only three rules: “no makeup, no clothes, no retouching.” These are the results.
It was half past midnight when Demi Lovato announced that it was time to take her clothes off. In the streets below her Manhattan hotel room, the crowd of dedicated fans waiting for a glimpse of the singer/songwriter/actress/pop star couldn’t possibly imagine what was about to transpire behind closed doors. Quite frankly, neither could I.
That morning I’d stepped off a plane from Los Angeles to shadow 34-year-old Phil McIntyre, C.E.O. of music talent-management firm Philymack, who has launched the careers of several major pop stars, including Nick Jonas and Lovato, whose new album, Confident, is set to be released on October 16. After shuttling from meeting to meeting, we ended up at the Greenwich Hotel to meet with the Philymack team.
The topic at hand was Lovato, whose great-grandfather Buddy Moore had died the day before. Lovato considered him one of the most important people in her life, and McIntyre and his team were concerned. At midnight, an emotionally drained Lovato arrived sans makeup, hair pulled back, carrying her Yorkiepoo, Batman. I had photographed Lovato once before, so she smiled and said hello, then plopped down in a chair. Batman came over and jumped in my lap. She spoke about her sadness, and then she got an idea.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past day, it’s that life is too short,” she said. “I’m about to launch an album that finally represents who I truly am. How do I embrace this new chapter in my life? How do I really walk the walk? What does it mean to be confident? It means letting go, being authentic, saying I don’t give a fuck and this is who I am. I want to show the side of me that’s real, that’s liberated, that’s free. What if we do a photo shoot where it’s totally raw? Super-sexy, but no makeup, no fancy lighting, no retouching, and no clothing. Let’s do it here, let’s do it now.”
The room emptied, and I wondered how I’d fallen into this situation. With only her assistant remaining, Lovato and I worked in near silence, making our way through the hotel room, communicating with subtle gestures, nods, and tilts of the head. Lovato had rarely posed nude before, so I had to be respectful of that and tread lightly. When I left her at three in the morning, she gave me a quick hug and thanked me for making her feel pretty. I thanked her for her confidence.
*Note: gallery photos are password protected. If you’d like to view the album, please contact me at email@example.com for the password.
Fans of the Delena friendship (that’s Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez) have nothing to worry about.
Comments that Lovato made during a Q&A with Complex about the friendship (or supposed lack thereof) with Gomez surprised many fans who thought things were getting better for the two Disney Channel stars-turned-pop stars.
Demi Lovato Explains Why She & Selena Gomez Aren’t Friends Anymore
“You and Selena Gomez used to be close, but you’ve had some ups and downs over the years. Are you talking anymore?” asked Complex.
“Nope,” responded Lovato.
Lovato also talked about friends drifting apart and how she feels about Gomez’s ex Justin Bieber.
After the interview and her comments began making the rounds on the Internet, Lovato took to Twitter to set the record straight.
Interviews are done months and months before the issue is published. I lot can change between then and now. Don't read into the bullshit
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) September 30, 2015
A lot definitely has changed since the interview was done, apparently. It was just a few weeks ago, on Sept. 10, that Demi posted the photo below with Selena, adorably punny caption and all.
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) September 10, 2015
We told you back in June that Demi Lovato is guest starring in “From Dusk Till Dawn” this season, and as it turns out, she’s not just appearing in the finale, Episode 2.10, “Santa Sangre”; we’ll also see her in the immediately preceding Episode 2.09, “There Will Be Blood.” Even better? We have a first-look photo of her in character to share!
Multi-platinum selling recording artist and actress Demi Lovato’s guest starring role in the supernatural crime saga “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” currently airing Tuesday nights at 9pm ET on El Rey Network, is that of Maia, the sexy, sultry sidekick of Carlos Madrigal, played by her real-life boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama (“That ’70s Show,” “Minority Report”). She appears in the last two episodes of Season 2, airing October 20th and October 27th.
Series creator Robert Rodriguez, who directed the Season 2 finale featuring Lovato, enjoyed working with the pop star so much that he went on to direct the music video for the title track of her new album, “Confident,” set to be released on October 16th.
If you’re not caught up on the series, don’t forget about this weekend’s mid-season marathon, featuring the first six episodes of Season 2, airing in order three times in a row, beginning on Saturday, October 3rd, at 12:00 noon ET.
Here’s what’s ahead on the show:
Episode 2.07 – “Bring Me the Head of Santanico Pandemonium” (airs 10/6/15)
Episode 2.08 – “The Last Temptation of Richard Gecko” (airs 10/13/15)
Episode 2.09 – “There Will Be Blood” (airs 10/20/15)
Santanico confronts Malvado with Seth’s help, while Richie and Kate must stop Carlos and Scott from overturning the ancient prophecy and taking control of a powerful evil. Written by Matt Morgan and Ian Sobel; directed by Joe Menendez
Episode 2.10 – “Santa Sangre” (airs 10/27/15)
Seth and Santanico clash with Richie over his betrayal, while Carlos and Scott aim to take Malvado’s empire and unleash culebra frenzy on the world. Written by Sarah Wise and Diego Gutierrez; directed by Robert Rodriguez