Feature

Lovato’s lost years

Demi Lovato was almost destroyed by early fame.

Demi Lovato was almost destroyed by early fame, said Kate Williams in Nylon. At age 7, she landed a role on TV’s Barney & Friends, which led to star turns in Disney Channel movies and shows, and the release of several hit albums. But as her celebrity grew, so did her dangerous behavior. By the time she was 17, the singer and actress had stopped eating regularly and taken up drinking, doing drugs, and cutting herself. “My parents tried to control me, but I’d be like, ‘I’m grounded? Well, I pay the bills,’” says Lovato, 21. “I thought that if I was adult enough to get there, then I could party like an adult. And obviously I couldn’t.” After taking a swing at one of her backup dancers during a 2010 tour, Lovato agreed to enter rehab and get clean. During her three-month treatment, the pop star was diagnosed as bipolar, which finally put her emotional struggles into context. “There were times where I was playing for thousands of people, then I’d get on my tour bus, like, ‘Why can’t you just be happy? What is wrong with you?’ It was a relief to be like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s not me, it’s my brain.’”

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