What really went wrong between Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama

After a long and dramatic roller coaster relationship, pop star Demi Lovato and actor Wilmer Valderrama called it quits in June 2016 and have not (yet) reunited. The pair posted identical announcements about the breakup: "After almost six loving and wonderful years together, we have decided to end our relationship. This was an incredibly difficult decision for both of us, but we have realized more than anything that we are better as best friends. We will always be supportive of one another."

That much is true, because to this day, Lovato and Valderrama occasionally pop up on one another's social media and Instagram feeds to remind the world that they're "best of friends no matter what." In fact, there were eyewitness reports in February 2018 that Valderrama and Lovato may be friends with benefits. They were supposedly spotted putting on the PDA during what appeared to be a lunch date. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at what really went wrong between Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama and consider the possibility of a reunion in their future.

She was ready for a ring

After being together for six years, the public (and even the couple's friends, including Iggy Azalea) started to ask when Valderrama was finally going to put a ring on it. Sadly, Lovato seemed much more enthusiastic about the idea than he did.

When a New Zealand radio station asked Lovato in July 2015 if she'd like Valderrama to propose, she replied, "I am very, very in love with him … if he asked tomorrow I would say yes." In February 2016, she told a prying Ellen DeGeneres, "I don't see a ring…I wouldn't mind if I saw one! We've been together this long…obviously I'm not going anywhere."

Valderrama apparently wasn't thrilled about those conversations. In a Complex interview where Lovato described her ideal wedding (not an insane notion, given they were together more than five years at the time), she admitted, "He was like, 'Umm, babe?' And I was like, 'What?' And he showed me an Instagram where people had screenshotted stuff and they tagged him in it." She said, "I was like, 'Uh…' He was like, 'Do you want to warn me with this stuff?' I was like, 'It just came out! I'm really sorry.' He was like, 'Don't apologize.'"

Their age difference may have caught up with them

Valderrama is about 12 years Lovato's senior, and that can make a world of difference in how partners view their relationship. The "Daddy Issues" singer may have been looking for a father figure after her own allegedly abusive dad left her as a kid, then died of cancer in 2013.

Lovato admitted to Entertainment Tonight that Valderrama was initially apprehensive about getting involved with her. "Everyone thinks it's our six-year anniversary," she said in January 2016. "We met six years ago. I knew I loved him … He had some hesitations. Once I got older … then we could be together."

Of course, the age difference may not have actually bothered Valderrama that much, because the That '70s Show star has a history of dating much younger girls. When he was in his twenties, he reportedly hooked up with Mandy Moore when she was 16 or 17 and with Lindsay Lohan when she was just 17. He was first rumored to be dating Lovato when she was still 17 to his 30

He's a player

Valderrama and Lovato first hooked up shortly after she emerged from rehab in 2010. She credits him for her sobriety, even telling The Huffington Post, "I guarantee I wouldn't be alive without him today."

That doesn't necessarily mean he was the world's best boyfriend. Valderrama allegedly ditched Lohan to hook up with pop singer Ashlee Simpson. Though he denied the overlap, that sort of gossip isn't unusual for him. Us Weekly reported that he romanced actress Minka Kelly while he and Lovato were "on a break" in 2012, and he even boasted about his dalliances on Ryan Seacrest's nationally syndicated radio show, which likely stung for Lovato.

In March 2015, Popdust dished that Lovato supposedly busted one of her friends sexting Valderrama. Star (via Celebrity Dirty Laundry) reported the same type of transgression in November 2014. Popdust sources also claimed that while Valderrama's texts could be potentially perceived as flirtatious, he may have been simply trying to defuse the situation without angering Lovato's friend. Hmm…

The breakup coincided with a brutal period in her life

The year leading up to their big breakup had been a tough one for Lovato. She lost her great-grandmother, mourning her in a touching Instagram post; Spawn, the dog she shared with Valderrama, passed away; and her beloved puppy, Batman, was killed by a coyote. In May 2016, Lovato was forced to give up her pet cat after her allergies grew too severe.

To make matters worse, Lovato was having trouble making friends with her peers in the music industry. In May 2016, rumors about a feud with Nicki Minaj surfaced on social media after what Lovato described as a miserable time at the Met Gala. She also allegedly took issue with Taylor Swift's silent donation to pop star Kesha's legal fees because Swift never actually spoke out against the record producer Kesha accused of drugging and raping her.

This was all on top of Lovato's battle with self-harm, addictions, bulimia, and bi-polar disorder. To say she was going through a tough period would be an understatement, and all of these issues likely strained her relationship with Valderrama. She told Complex in 2015, that her physical and mental health had affected their relationship before. "The only times that we were off was when I was not in a healthy state of mind, or he was like: 'I can't be with you until you get sober. I can't enable what you're doing right now.' Or with food: 'You need to get your food settled before you can get into a relationship. You need to learn how to love yourself first.'"

She associated him with her illness

Lovato told Cosmopolitan in 2015 that she and Valderrama have had their ups and downs, and that the "downs" were mostly related to her own struggles with sobriety. "People say that relapses happen before you use. Your mind starts setting up the relapse before you take that drink or that first hit. The times we'd broken up, I had already gone to that place of, 'Yeah, this is what's happening.' I didn't realize it at the time, but I just wanted to sabotage everything around me so that I could sabotage myself." In that's true, then a possible relapse may have also led to their split in 2016. 

Following the breakup, Lovato told Glamour that she simply needed time and space to fully recover and reinvent her life. "I think it's healthy to be able to start over with someone else. Being sick was always a part of my relationship with him; I always had something wrong with me. I needed to let go of that … It was hard to depart from somebody who saw everything, but it may be nice to start fresh with somebody. Because that person I was when I was a lot younger is not who I am today."

Their schedules got too crazy

When Lovato and Valderrama first hooked up in 2010, the actor wasn't doing much beyond bit parts and guest stints, so it was likely much easier to schedule couple-time together based on Lovato's recording and touring obligations. But over time, the duo's career obligations ballooned.

Lovato is constantly on tour, in the studio, or promoting her Fabletics clothing line. Valderrama joined NCIS and Grey's Anatomy, voices Disney's Handy Manny, and stars in the TV adaptation of From Dusk Til Dawn

Distance doesn't always make the heart grow fonder — it often pulls the rug from under otherwise stable romances. A source told Us Weekly in July 2018, that a big part of Lovato and Valderrama's split was simply due to being too busy to see one another often. The insider claimed, "He still loves Demi and it was just a matter of scheduling and time that they needed to make a romantic relationship work."

Her mom may have meddled too much

Demi Lovato's mother, Dianna De La Garza, reportedly loved Wilmer Valderrama so much that she wanted him to join the family quickly, which may have put undue pressure on the otherwise low-key couple.

De La Garza admitted on Millennial Hollywood with Dakota T. Jones in April 2018: "I thought they were gonna get married … I really came to really truly love him as a person — and as a person that I really wanted to be in our family. He was just so gracious and caring, and he still is to this day. I believe he loves her, and she loves him."

De La Garza also hinted that Lovato was the one who initiated the split. "I think Demi came to a point where she wanted to make some decisions in her life, and when that happened, it just really broke us all. I mean we were just so upset," she said. "It was her life and I had to let her decide things for herself."

She needed to find herself

Lovato admitted to In Style that part of why she and Valderrama ended their relationship when they did is because she needed to grow as a person. "I'm not suffering because I'm alone," she told the magazine's April 2018 issue. "There were many years I was in a relationship and I wasn't learning about myself. Now I'm learning about what I like, what I need, and what I want."

Lovato said she intentionally didn't dive into a rebound romance after her big breakup. "I think I'm still finding [myself], and that's why I'm not diving into anything with anyone," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I value my time by myself now, and I value my time with my friends. And I just have learned to really appreciate my me time and getting to know myself and learning to fall in love with myself before I fall in love with anyone else."

She's still heartbroken

A source told People in February 2018, "[Lovato has been] very vocal about the fact that he is the love of her life. A lot of their issues had to do with their age difference, but she's matured a lot even in the past year or so. At first, it was really fun for her to be single and date around, but now she's starting to see that the grass isn't always greener."

Lovato admitted in her Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated documentary, "I've never loved anybody like I've loved Wilmer. And, like, I still love Wilmer … We connected on a level that I've never connected with anybody before. He was just my rock, my everything."

In fact,their split reportedly sent her reeling and launched a downward spiral that may have triggered her drug and alcohol relapse and a July 2018 hospitalization for a suspected drug overdose. "She seemed ok with the breakup at first, but she missed him terribly — far more than she thought she would and she has not found anything even close to what they had since then," a source told The Sun following Lovato's overdose. "For two years she has been single and lonely and she really went back to her old negative ways."

Will her struggle reunite them?

Wilmer Valderrama was one of the only people Lovato's mother would allow to visit her in the hospital after her overdose in July 2018, E! News reported. Witnesses say the actor stayed for more than two hours and appeared "somber" and "very down … He was serious, intense and seemed distant, but focused and very calm at the same time."

"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." The source added, "Demi always hoped they would end up back together in the future."

For years, there has been talk of a reunion between these former flames. Immediately after their 2016 split, some sources were already predicting a reunion. "They could definitely end up back together," an insider told E! News at the time. "They have crazy love for one another and a very special place in each other's hearts. When you have history like theirs, things are so comfortable and familiar. Nothing can really compare."