Demi Lovato opened up about how she came to experiment with opiates as a teenager and described how her management team exacerbated her eating disorder in a new interview on the Spotify podcast Call Her Daddy.
Lovato — who just released a new album, Holy Fvck — explained that she started “experimenting” with drugs when she was 12 or 13, after a doctor prescribed her opiates following a car accident. “My mom didn’t think she would have to lock up the opiates from her 13-year-old daughter but I was already drinking at that point,” Lovato said. “I had been bullied and was looking for an escape. And when my mom saw how many of the pills had disappeared, and how fast they did, she took them away and locked them up.”
Lovato was characteristically candid as she discussed her difficult experiences being bullied in school and using pills and alcohol throughout her teenage years. She admitted to stealing her mom’s Xanax, as well as her dad’s beer, saying she got drunk for the first time by herself just to see what it felt like: “That should’ve been a major red flag,” Lovato said. After using cocaine for the first time when she was 17, she added, “[I] loved it too much, and that led into me going to treatment right after I turned 18.”
Lovato also spoke about the harmful changes that occurred in her life after a new person joined her management team and every aspect of her life suddenly became way more controlled (she did not name this person). While a sober companion helped her stay clean at first, Lovato said the arrangement ultimately lasted too long. Even more detrimental, was the level of control placed over her food consumption, like keeping food and snacks out of her hotel room, and removing phones so she couldn’t call room service. These measures, she said, exacerbated her eating disorder and made her bulimic again.
One night, Lovato said she snuck out of her room, binged, and purged. After coming clean to her team, she said, “My security guard walked by my room, or was made aware that they had barricaded me into my hotel room. They put furniture outside of my door so that I couldn’t get out, sneak out, and eat if I wanted to.”
Lovato added that her eating disorder worsened to the point where, one time, she was throwing up blood and told the unnamed person on her team that she needed treatment. “This was in, like, 2017, and this person looked at me and said, ‘You’re not sick enough,’” she recalled. “And I think that was his way of saying, ‘No, you’re not going back to treatment, because if you do, this will look bad on me.’ And so I didn’t, I didn’t go back into treatment. And less than a year later, I ended up overdosing.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lovato spoke about one of the most devastating details from her documentary, Dancing With the Devil, when she revealed her first experience with sex was being raped. In talking about trying to heal from that, Lovato said on the podcast, “Time can heal wounds, maybe not all of them, but the more time that has gone by, the easier it has gotten. But there’s still a sadness, a deep sadness inside of me, that someone took that from me at such a young age. It was hard because this person was also around, they were also on Disney, and seeing them around was difficult, and it really messed up my teenage years… I’ve had other traumas happen, and it kind of pushes those to the side a little bit. But there are moments where I will cry and feel the sadness inside of me, because that’s healthy to do, rather than bottle it up.”