The untold truth of Demi Lovato

On July 24, 2018, TMZ reported that Demi Lovato was taken to the hospital as the result of an apparent overdose.

The pop star and actress has been open about her personal life, specifically with her past drug and alcohol abuse. In October 2017, Lovato released a YouTube documentary called Simply Complicated that went into full detail about her life, showing fans that despite appearing to "have it all," she's struggled with plenty of demons.

Though the doc portrayed a happy ending for Lovato, as it seemed she may have learned how to stay in front of her addictions, rumors of Lovato's relapse began swirling in early 2018. In June 2018, Lovato appeared to announce a relapse in a new song, "Sober," but no one could have predicted just how fast (and hard) she had fallen.

Since news about Lovato's overdose broke, fans and fellow celebrities have tweeted their support for the struggling singer. As we wish her the best in her recovery, we're taking a look back at her roller coaster of a journey through stardom and substance abuse. This is the untold truth of Demi Lovato. 

She was taken to the hospital for an apparent overdose

On July 24, 2018, TMZ broke the news that Demi Lovato had been sent to the hospital for an apparent overdose after being found unconscious in her home. She had allegedly been "treated with Narcan — an emergency treatment for narcotic overdoses." Later in the day, her rep released a statement saying, "Demi is awake and with her family who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers and support."

Information began leaking about what drugs Lovato took before overdosing. TMZ reported that a source told them that she had not used heroin, though they didn't give any more information on what she did take. Another TMZ report alleged that Lovato refused to tell paramedics what she had taken. As of this writing, police have told TMZ that no criminal charges will be filed against Lovato.

Though this is clearly the most alarming time Lovato has pushed her drug use to the edge, it isn't the first time. In Simply Complicated, Lovato recalled a scary moment after her first stint in rehab. "There was one night where I used a bunch of coke and I popped a few Xanax bars and I started to choke a little bit and my heart started racing," she recalled. "And I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, I might be overdosing right now.'"

She's struggled with addiction since a young age

Another revelation Demi Lovato and her team shared in Simply Complicated is that her drug use began around the age of 17, when she started experimenting with alcohol, Adderall, cocaine, and worse. It escalated to the point where Lovato thought she "was going to die young," telling E! News"I didn't think I would make it to 21." 

"I couldn't go without 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine," she also told Access Hollywood in 2013.

At age 18, Lovato finally entered a treatment center after getting into an altercation with a backup dancer on a plane. In her documentary, Lovato explains that after a night of partying, the dancer tipped off the Jonas Brothers' father that Lovato was using Adderall, getting Lovato in trouble with her management. After learning who told on her, Lovato punched the dancer in the face. 

"That was when it dawned on me that this was probably a much bigger situation than just a kid who wanted to party," said John Taylor of Lovato's management company.

She had a tumultuous family life

In addition to the stressors of child stardom, Demi Lovato was also dealing with a lot at home. During a 2018 Good Morning America appearance, Lovato's mom, Dianna De La Garza, revealed that their family struggled throughout Lovato's childhood. De La Garza explained that she struggled with an eating disorder, and in Lovato's aforementioned documentary, De La Garza said she believes she passed that onto Lovato.

Lovato has also been open about her abusive father, Pat, who also struggled with addiction, and how his absence from her life affected her. In her documentary, Lovato explained that she "always searched for what he found in drugs and alcohol," since it apparently completed him. 

"Pat had a good heart. He really did. He loved his family; it's just that he had mental health issues that were never addressed," De La Garza wrote in her memoir Falling with Wings: A Mother's Story (via People). "And I think he covered up those issues with drugs and alcohol." 

Lovato revealed on Dr. Phil that she stopped talking to her father as a teen and struggled to find closure after he passed away. She even wrote a song, called "Father" about the heartbreaking experience.

She's been a danger to herself in the past

Demi Lovato's battle with her inner demons began at a young age and extends beyond substance abuse. In a March 2018 appearance on Dr. Phil, Lovato revealed that she started thinking about suicide at the age of seven. "I had this fascination with death," she explained. "At seven I knew that if I were to take my own life, that the pain would end." She said her thoughts about death continue to resurface when she finds herself in tough positions.

Lovato has also been open about about her struggle with self-harm. In her memoir Falling With Wings (via Entertainment Weekly), Lovato's mom wrote about finding her daughter in bed with a bloody rag after apparently cutting her wrists and fearing that Lovato would take her own life. 

"There were times I felt so anxious, almost like I was crawling out of my skin, that if I didn't do something physical to match the way I felt inside, I would explode," Lovato told SELF in 2012. "I cut myself to take my mind off that. I just didn't care what happened. I had no fear."

She used drugs while promoting sobriety

Demi Lovato's first stint in rehab was not enough to get the star to put her drug and alcohol use behind her, despite the irony that she became a high-profile sobriety advocate afterwards. In fact, in the opening of Simply Complicated, Lovato shares, "The last time I did an interview this long I was on cocaine." She was referring to a previous documentary, Stay Strong, that was supposed to be chronicling her journey through her newly sober life. But not everyone was fooled. 

In Simply Complicated, Demi's manager Phil McIntyre recalls thinking Lovato was "full of it" as she continued using. "I remember we were in New York, and she clearly was on something, and she was on air promoting this new way of life," he says, revealing that he finally got through to her after forcing her to destroy her phone that gave her access to "the wrong people [and] the drug dealers." Lovato refers to this moment as "the beginning of the process of surrendering."

She relapsed after 6 years of sobriety

Demi Lovato seemed to be doing well after a second stint in rehab and time spent living in a sober house. On March 15, 2018, Lovato tweeted, "Just officially turned 6 years sober. So grateful for another year of joy, health and happiness. It IS possible." However, rumors soon began circulating that the star was on the brink of a major relapse.

That same month, Lovato appeared in a photo on Instagram that appeared to show her with a glass of beer in her hand. Though at the time Lovato claimed (via Buzzfeed) that it was Red Bull in her cup, in June 2018 she released "Sober," which seemed to be a confession straight from the star that she had relapsed.

Apparently, Lovato's relapse wasn't a shock to her inner circle. After Lovato released "Sober," rapper Iggy Azalea told Entertainment Tonight, "I had known about it, as a close friend." She continued, "So I had really wanted for her to be the one to tell people that." TMZ also reported that some close friends knew something was wasn't right with the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer. One source told the tab that it appeared Lovato had been "in the danger zone."

Her breakup with Wilmer Valderrama triggered another relapse

Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama met in 2010 when he was 29 and she was 17. The two began dating after she turned 18. "We connected on a level that I've never connected with anybody before," Lovato said in Simply Complicated. The two went on to date for six years, but broke up in 2016. They released a joint statement explaining that they "realized more than anything that we are better as best friends."

However, it seems the break up hurt Lovato more than she let on. In Simply Complicated, Lovato revealed how the breakup caused her to relapse with her eating disorder. "What started the relapse was missing Wilmer," she said, explaining that after not purging for three years during her relationship with Valderrama, that's "one of the first things" she did post-breakup. "I've never loved anybody like I loved Wilmer, and like I still love Wilmer," she said.

According to People, Lovato's overdose "shocked" Valderrama. "He knew she was going through a tough time but he wasn't prepared for this," a source told People. "He saw her through so many ups and downs and was her rock through some of her darkest moments. To see her back in such a sad and vulnerable place is heartbreaking for him."

She regrets her early fame

Though Demi Lovato's career really took off after being picked up by Disney, she got her start long before her Camp Rock days. At eight years old, Lovato appeared on Barney and Friends, a career move she has since looked back on in regret. "I wouldn't start that young if I could do it over again," she said at the Cannes Lions festival (via The New York Post) in 2017.

Former child stars like Justin Bieber, Corey Feldman, and Lindsay Lohan are all examples of young stardom gone awry, with drug abuse and psychological abuse as unfortunate side effects of success at a young age. "Childhood is about finding out who you are and being able to relate to others, and those things are harder to learn when you're famous," clinical psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore told USA Today.

Demi Lovato is no different, and she's fully aware of the implications child stardom has had on her. "Everything happened so fast," she said in Simply Complicated. "Looking back, I think that it was a lot for anyone, let alone a kid."

She's been diagnosed with mental illnesses

As Demi Lovato told Dr. Phil in 2018, her longest lifelong illness has been her eating disorder. "My eating disorder started when I was very young," she said of her bulimia. "That's something that I still work on on a daily basis and it's kinda the last thing to go." Despite struggling with her own body image issues daily, Lovato has spent much of her career trying to promote wellness and body confidence. 

"When I was younger, stick-figure thin was in and nobody was talking about eating disorders. I want girls to know that it's OK when they grow up and their body changes," she told SELF.

When Lovato entered treatment at 18, she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which Lovato said in Simply Complicated "just made sense." She recalled having episodes of mania when she was younger, though at the time she didn't know that's what it was. "In a way I knew that it wasn't my fault anymore," she said. "Something was actually off with me."

She's bisexual

Though Lovato claims her heart will always be with Wilmer, she has also been open about her bisexuality. In a 2015 interview, Lovato explained the lyrics behind her song "Cool for the Summer," which reference hooking up with a woman. 

"All of my songs are based off of personal experiences," she told Alan Carr. I don't think there's anything wrong with experimentation at all."

In Simply Complicated, Lovato clarified that she is "open to human connection," whether it's with a boy or a girl. Lovato has since been linked to female stars like Bella Thorne after they flirted over social media, and more controversially to actress and DJ Ruby Rose who seemed to have started a romantic back-and-forth as recently as the beginning of July 2018.

However, some stars have attacked Lovato for her bisexuality. In a 2017 Paper interview, singer Halsey seemed to make a reference to Lovato's "Cool for the Summer" lyrics when discussing straight stars singing about experimenting with the same sex. Lovato was quick to respond, tweeting, "You know a song is a hit when people are still talking about the lyrics two years later."