Demi Lovato’s long been vocal about her past struggles with addiction, bipolar disorder, and an eating disorder. In a new interview, the 23-year-old revisits those issues, explaining why she once thought they’d cut her life tragically short.
Speaking to American Way, Lovato says she can trace her body image struggles back to age 3. She watched both her mother and her grandmother suffer from bulimia, and she became even more body-conscious after participating in beauty pageants and breaking into the cutthroat entertainment industry. While shooting the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock at age 15, she feared she’d be the next Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, whose tabloid-friendly downward spirals were happening at the same time.
“Making Camp Rock, I was definitely like, ‘Oh crap. In three years, that’s going to be me,’” she said.
As her acting career took off and her star power grew, she started cutting herself, drinking heavily, and self-medicating with cocaine and OxyContin.
“I lived fast and I was going to die young,” she said. “I didn’t think I would make it to 21.”
Lovato is happier and healthier now — she celebrated her fourth year of sobriety this past March, and she credits her dedicated fans for keeping her accountable.
“When I have meet-and-greets, I can't tell you the amount of times that girls will show me their arms covered in scars or cuts,” she said. “They'll tell me, ‘You helped me get through this. Because of you, I stopped self-harming,' or ‘I got sober.' Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.”