Demi Lovato is known for being an open book. In the past, she's been candid about her experiences with addiction and her relationship with body image and disordered eating. And in a new interview with Paper Magazine, she spoke about how those challenges have, at times, been connected — including how the media's treatment of her body almost led her to break her sobriety.
"I think it was right after I got out of rehab in 2018. I saw an article somewhere that said I was morbidly obese," Lovato tells Paper Magazine. "And that is the most triggering thing that you could possibly write about somebody with an eating disorder. That sucked, and I wanted to quit, I wanted to use, wanted to give up."
The experience became a turning point for Lovato, who told Paper that she no longer reads press about her, or comments on her social media profiles. "I just realized that if I don't look at those things then they can't affect me," she said. "So, I stopped looking and I just really try not to look at anything negative."
In 2020, Lovato also noted that the near-fatal overdose coincided with her struggle with disordered eating, during an interview with Ellen Degeneres.
"I realized that over time as the things with the eating disorder were getting bad, I mean, over the years it got progressively worse and worse with people checking what my orders at Starbucks were on my bank statements. Just little things like that led me to being really, really unhappy," Lovato told DeGeneres. "My bulimia got really bad and I asked for help and I didn't receive the help that I needed. And so I was stuck in this unhappy position. 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?'"
After her 2018 overdose, Lovato tried to become completely sober from all drugs and alcohol. But now, the "Dancing With The Devil" singer relies on a more laid-back, "Cali sober" approach, allowing herself to drink in moderation and smoke marijuana.
"In my career, it benefits me to be a perfectionist," she told Paper. "In my personal life, it definitely doesn't. Having been in recovery from eating disorders, body image and perfectionism are not friends in my eyes, and so it's been difficult to balance. But for the most part it's just something that you have to walk through with as much grace as possible."
Lovato is exploring these topics in even more depth in her new YouTube documentary series Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which premieres today.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorder Information Centre hotline at 1-866-633-4220.