Demi Lovato previously released the 2012 documentary, Stay Strong, about her rough recovery from purging and self-harming. Now, five years later, the singer, 25, is debuting another biographical film, Simply Complicated, as she admits she was on cocaine for the majority of filming Stay Strong.
“I was so honest in that documentary but I wasn’t honest enough. And I think it was because I wasn’t honest with myself,” Lovato tells PEOPLE exclusively about why she opens her new YouTube documentary with the never-before-heard confession about Stay Strong.
“Yes, I did touch on issues and certain things that were real and true but I think the biggest problem was I was lying to myself,” she says. “And in this documentary, I’m 1000 percent sober and I get to really explain myself and apologize to my fans. There wasn’t anything that was off-limits.”
Simply Complicated, which premiered Tuesday, is an in-depth retrospective of Lovato’s ups and downs as well as the making of her latest album, Tell Me You Love Me, over a course of seven months in early 2017.
“I have been very open and honest with [fans] about my struggles so I don’t think it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders but it’s something I definitely feel relief from,” Lovato explains of the therapeutic reflections into her 10 years in the industry. “Being so honest and open and talking about subjects that I never talked about before is a big part of why I feel relieved … I feel like I got to really speak my truth through the documentary and also through the album.”
Among those subjects is her romantic life, specifically the relationship with ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama, whom Lovato says has watched parts of the documentary.
“I talk about my breakup and I talk about my love life and sexuality. There are things that I never touched on that I touch on in the documentary,” she teases. “For me, I get to control the narrative in my documentary, which is really refreshing,” she says of addressing the speculations regarding her interests in men and women.
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And as much as Simply Complicated is a review of her life experiences thus far, Lovato also learned about certain moments in her life from different perspectives.
“Things like stories that people would tell me like ‘Well I remember you did this’ and I said, ‘Wait what? I did that?’ ” Lovato says of retouching up her memories because she was “either not sober and didn’t remember or just completely blocked it out of my memory.”
“There were moments with Nick and Joe and Phil where they told me instances where I acted out and I don’t remember them. I was just really surprised and hearing some of the insight from others about how bad it was,” she shares. “Where I’m at today is really refreshing to hear the positive side of things. It was definitely eye-opening to hear others talk about it.”
Overall, Lovato concludes Simply Complicated is a project that intertwines her road to recovery and sobriety with her music.
“The full circle part of it, when it all comes together, in the end, is my favorite part,” she proudly says. “Talking about being in sober living and then from there, talking about owning a treatment center called CAST Centers.”