Demi Lovato Says She Felt 'Controlled' by Her Team During Eating Disorder Recovery
The singer opened up about her eating disorder and overdose on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
On Thursday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Lovato, 27, debuted a clip of her upcoming new single “I Love Me” and spoke about how she came to embrace the song’s uplifting message after struggling with feeling “controlled” during her eating disorder recovery.
“So you’ve been honest about your eating disorder,” host Ellen DeGeneres began the interview. “I just learned today that when you came for the last six years — you’re no longer with this team — but there was a team that used to handle everything before you got here. They were told to hide all of the sugar and put everything away so that when you got to your dressing room, even backstage, there was no sugar anywhere near. Did you know that was happening?”
“I didn’t know that until today too,” Lovato said. “But I lived a life for the past six years that I felt like wasn’t my own. Because I struggled really hard with an eating disorder, yes, and that was my primary problem and then it turned into other things, but my life, I just felt was — I hate to use this word, but I felt like it was controlled by so many people around me.”
“If I was in my hotel room at night, they would take the phone out of the hotel room so I couldn’t call room service, or if there was fruit in my room they took it out because that’s extra sugar. We’re not talking about brownies and cookies and candies and stuff like that, it was fruit,” the singer shared.
Lovato added that “for many years” she didn’t have a birthday cake, eating watermelon cake with “fat-free whipped cream” on her birthday instead.
She continued: “This year, when I turned 27 — I have a new team — Scooter Braun, my manager, gave me the best birthday cake and I spent it with Ariana Grande, who is one of my good friends, and we just had the best birthday. I just remember crying because I was finally eating cake with a manager that didn’t need anything from me and that loved me for who I am and supported my journey.”
“I think at some point it becomes dangerous to try to control someone’s food when they’re in recovery from an eating disorder,” Lovato said.
During the interview with DeGeneres, Lovato also spoke about her overdose in July 2018, saying that her eating disorder recovery was one of the triggering factors in her relapse.
“I have to preface it with the fact that I got sober at 19,” the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer said. “So I got sober at an age where I wasn’t even legally allowed to drink. I got the help that I needed at the time, and I took on the approach of a ‘one size fits all’ solution, which is sobriety.”
Lovato continued, saying that her eating disorder “got worse and worse” and that she “asked for help and I didn’t receive the help that I needed …. So I was stuck in this unhappy position and here I am sober and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m six years sober but I’m miserable. I’m even more miserable than I was when I was drinking. Why am I sober?’ ”
“I sent a message out and I reached out to the people that were on my team and they responded with, like, ‘You’re being very selfish, this would ruin things for not just you but for us as well,’ ” the musician said. “When I heard that — my core issues are abandonment from my birth father as a child — when they left, they totally played on that fear and I felt completely abandoned, so I drank. That night, I went to a party and there was other stuff there, and it was only three months before I ended up into the hospital with an OD.”
“Ultimately, I made the decisions that got me to where I am today, it was my actions that put me in the position that I’m in,” Lovato concluded. “I think it’s important that I sit here on this stage and tell you at home, or you in the audience, or you right here that if you do go through this, you yourself can get through it, you can get to the other side … As long as you take the responsibility, you can move past it and learn to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved.”
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.