Last night brought the troubling news that Demi Lovato has left her tour with the Jonas Brothers and entered medical treatment for "emotional and physical issues"—and with new info circulating that the star's problems stem from a painful past, everyone's wondering whether they missed the early signs of trouble. Does Demi's history reveal hints of darkness, despair and an abrupt exit from the public eye? Let's find out, with a look back at her life so far.
Demi (whose commonly-known name is actually short for "Demetria") was born on August 20, 1992, in Dallas, Texas. The child of a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader mom and a recording artist dad, she already had performing in her blood—the musically gifted girl started playing the piano at age seven and got an early start in showbiz as a cast member on "Barney and Friends." (Fun fact: Demi appeared on the show alongside Selena Gomez, who became her bestie.)
After a couple years out of the spotlight, Demi was back again in 2006 with a guest spot on the TV drama "Prison Break." But despite her already-budding career, the news wasn't all good: In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Demi admitted that she was the victim of relentless bullying by her fellow middle-school classmates (who probably couldn't find a healthy way to handle their jealousy). Eventually, she asked to be home-schooled—a choice which not only helped her escape the abuse, but also allowed her the freedom to pursue acting with real passion.
It didn't take long for the decision to pay off; in 2008, Demi joined the cast of "Camp Rock," where her vocal talents and acting chops made her an instant star. Just three months later, she released her debut album, "Don't Forget"—which took her only ten days to record, and only a week to skyrocket to the number two position on the Billboard 200 chart.
Practically overnight, Demi's life became a whirlwind of world tours, TV appearances, and studio recording. 2009 was a big year; she snagged the lead role in the Disney Channel Original Series "Sonny With a Chance," released her second album, "Here We Go Again", and scored four nominations in the Teen Choice Awards for her musical and onscreen work.
While some girls might let the thrill of celebrity go to their heads, Demi channeled her fame and fortune exclusively for worthwhile causes: buying a house for her family, appearing in public awareness campaigns for the U.S. Census and speaking out as a spokesperson for PACER, an anti-bullying organization. And somewhere in there, she even found the time to date—and then un-date—her longtime friend and tour companion Joe Jonas.
Of course, today brought the sad news that Demi has left the Jonas Brother World Tour to enter a treatment facility. But don't think you've seen the last of her; with such a devotion to her craft and so many highly-anticipated projects in the pipeline—including the 2011 release of her third album—we know she'll get help, get healthy and get back to work as soon as she's ready.
Click on any of the photos above to see our entire flipbook of Demi's career so far!
Leave your well wishes for Demi in the comments section!