From Her Breakout Music Career to Her Recent Hospitalization: Demi Lovato's Ups and Downs
Demi Lovato landed her first gig at age 7, singing the theme song on Barney & Friends with future BFF Selena Gomez. Things may have looked perfect to an outsider, but they were far from it according to the singer. "At the time, I was just so grateful to be on TV, but I was also really struggling," Lovato told Cosmopolitan in 2013. "Looking back, there was a connection, probably between any kid who's ever sang that song to Barney, a little place in a child’s heart, a void, that could be filled. And maybe Barney fills it. Even before Barney, I was suicidal. I was 7."
In the midst of her pain, Barney helped her through. "I guess subliminally, I did have a relationship with this figure that was saving my life in a way," she said. "I've talked about being bullied and the years of being a teenager, but I went through things when I was younger that I've never talked about that probably caused me to turn out the way I ended up turning out."
Barney was only the beginning for Lovato, who would reach superstardom years later after appearing in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Camp Rock, opposite the Jonas Brothers. The record-breaking movie-musical led to other opportunities for the rising star, who would go on to star with Selena Gomez in another Disney Channel movie, Princess Protection Program, have her own show, Sonny with a Chance, and launch her own music career.
Despite their picture-perfect friendship, Lovato and Selena Gomez appeared to hit a rough patch in 2010. When a fan asked Lovato, "How's Selena?" the singer responded, "Ask Taylor." Fans speculated the duo had a falling out over Gomez's close friendship with her now-BFF Taylor Swift and Lovato's budding friendship with fellow Disney star Miley Cyrus.
As her celebrity grew, Lovato began using alcohol, cocaine and OxyContin as a way to self-medicate. "I lived fast and I was going to die young," she told American Way Magazine. "I didn't think I would make it to 21." Lovato eventually checked into rehab in 2010, at age 18, to deal with her eating disorder, cutting and substance abuse issues.
She may have briefly dated her Camp Rock co-star Joe Jonas, but Lovato took on a more serious approach to dating when she embarked on a six-year relationship with actor Wilmer Valderrama. The couple began dating in 2010, but ultimately ended things in 2016, vowing to remain the "best of friends no matter what."
During an appearance on Millennial Hollywood with Dakota T. Jones in April 2018, Lovato's mom, Dianna De La Garza, opened up about the couple's 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 shared.
Following her three-month rehab stint in 2011, Lovato revealed she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "Looking back it makes sense," she told PEOPLE of her diagnosis. "There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I'd be up until 5:30 in the morning."
"I feel like I am in control now where my whole life I wasn't in control," she added.
Lovato has never been one to shy away from speaking about her struggles with sobriety. "I couldn’t go 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine and I would bring it on airplanes. I would smuggle it basically and just wait until everyone in first class would go to sleep and I would do it right there," she told Access Hollywood in 2013. "I'd sneak to the bathroom and I’d do it. That’s how difficult it got and that was even with somebody [with me], I had a sober companion, somebody who was watching me 24/7 and living with me [and] I was able to hide it from them as well."
She continued: "I was going to the airport and I had a Sprite bottle just filled with vodka and it was just nine in the morning and I was throwing up in the car and this was just to get on a plane to go back to L.A. to the sober living house that I was staying at … I had all the help in the world, but I didn’t want it. When I hit that moment I was like, it's no longer fun when you’re doing it alone."
A NEW FLAME
One month after she and Valderrama called it quits after six years together, Lovato became linked to MMA fighter Guilherme Vasconcelos, whom an insider says "had a quick fling" with the singer in July 2016. But the pair rekindled their romance months later, in January 2017, and stayed strong until their demise in May 2017.
Lovato is known for her body-positive Instagram photos and messages — but the Grammy nominee is only human, after all. She told PEOPLE in May 2017 that she combats negative feelings with affirmations. "When I'm really down, I do a positive self-affirmation," the star told PEOPLE. "I talk positively to myself in the mirror. As awkward and uncomfortable as it can be, it can be really self-assuring. I also talk to people around me. But getting in the gym makes me feel the best I possibly can, so I make sure I get that in.”
In 2016, longtime friends Lovato and Nick Jonas joined forces on their joint Future Now tour. The two got so close on tour that fans began to speculate Lovato's 2017 song, "Ruin the Friendship," was about Jonas.
While she's remained mum on who really inspired the song, Lovato revealed in an interview with Noisey that "Ruin the Friendship" was inspired by a person, with whom she wanted to take things to the next level. "I was frustrated with a certain situation," Lovato told the Vice affiliate. "And I was like, 'You know what, I'm just going to write about it.' And so I did, and sent [the songs] to that person, and that was … Interesting. Any time you send a song about the person, to the person — it’s ballsy. It’s like, 'Hey! Here's my feelings for you!'"
Lovato previously released the 2012 documentary, Stay Strong, about her rough recovery from purging and self-harming. And in October 2017, the singer opened up to PEOPLE about debuting another biographical film, Simply Complicated, while admitting 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 told 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. 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."
Delena fans everywhere rejoiced when Lovato and Gomez reunited at the 2017 InStyle Awards, where they hugged on the red carpet and posed for pictures together. "We've been through a lot together. We've had periods of times where we grew apart and we just didn't really talk," Lovato told MTV of the pair's friendship. "Now we are in a place where I think we realized that life is so short and that when you have people in your life that love you so much, then you should just always be around them."
In a heart-wrenching new memoir, Dianna De La Garza, Lovato's mother, opened up about her family's battles with mental illness and addiction — and her famous daughter's tortured path to success. In one instance, following Lovato's role on Barney, De La Garza recalled making a startling discovery. "[Years later] I found Demi's diary," De La Garza wrote in Falling with Wings. "One sentence in particular crushed my heart: 'Nobody loves a fat rock star. Guess I’ll have to starve myself so people will like me."
By the time Lovato turned 16, De La Garza lost control of her middle daughter, who was disobeying curfew and, she suspected, getting into drugs and alcohol. "Every night I'd set an alarm for 2:00 a.m. If she wasn’t [home], I called her until she walked through the front door," De La Garza recalled in her book. "What do you say to your child when she is the one paying most of the bills?"
In May 2018, Lovato and Christina Aguilera teamed up for the duet, "Fall in Line," three days after the powerhouses performed the song live for the first time at the Billboard Music Awards, where the crowd leapt to its feet for a rousing standing ovation.
In June 2018, Lovato released a new single, "Sober," in which she revealed she broke her sobriety after six years. Lovato sings about the guilt she feels about relapsing, asking for forgiveness from her family and from her fans.
"Mama, I’m so sorry I’m not sober anymore / And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor,” she sings on the heartbreaking piano ballad. “And I’m sorry for the fans I lost who watched me fall again / I wanna be a role model, but I’m only human.”
“I’m sorry that I’m here again,” she adds at the end. “I promise I’ll get help / It wasn’t my intention / I’m sorry to myself.”
In July 2018, the singer tweeted a cryptic message, leading her followers to believe there could be a rift between her and Mike Bayer, who is also the CEO of CAST Centers, a treatment center co-owned by Lovato.
"Good luck on your blog," she wrote on the same day Bayer shared a vlog on Instagram in which he shared his "biggest pet peeve" with celebrities, though he did not name Lovato.
Lovato's fans implied Bayer’s remarks as a dig to the Tell Me You Love Me hitmaker as one Lovatic even commented, "Good luck on your blog," which Demi "liked" on Instagram.
That same month, Lovato and G-Eazy sparked romance speculation when they were spotted leaving a club in the same group, following the rapper's split from Halsey. G-Eazy, however, shot down those rumors, telling Entertainment Tonight that Lovato is "just a friend."
On July 24, Lovato was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering an apparent overdose. She is now "stable," a source close to the singer told PEOPLE.
"This is absolutely what so many people feared would happen. She has not been sober for quite some time but more tragically, has had no interest in being sober," an insider with knowledge of the star’s ongoing sobriety struggle told PEOPLE of Lovato's recent hospitalization.
TAKING BIG STEPS
On Aug. 3, sources told PEOPLE the singer agreed to enter a drug treatment center following a relapse and overdose that left her hospitalized for 10 days. "Demi is well enough to leave the hospital this weekend. She has agreed to rehab and will go straight to an in-patient facility," one source shared. "It's her choice to go to rehab. This is not anything that can be forced."