Editor's Note: The following article includes details about addiction that may be triggering. Please proceed thoughtfully.
Demi Lovato’s docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil features interviews from many of the people closest to her, including her sisters, Dallas Lovato and Madison De La Garza. Watching the documentary, it’s clear how much Demi means to them, and vice versa. But it isn’t until a particular revelation about the star’s recovery after her 2018 overdose that you truly realise the depth of their connection.
As a result of her near-fatal drug overdose, Demi came down with pneumonia after asphyxiating, entered multiple organ failure, and suffered three strokes and a heart attack. The strokes in particular caused permanent brain damage and blind spots in her vision that leave her unable to drive to this day.
In Dancing With The Devil, Demi describes waking up at the hospital and not being able to see. “I was legally blind when I woke up, and my little sister [Madison] was at my bedside and I was so blind that I couldn’t see who she was, even though she was standing next to me,” Demi says. “I asked her ‘Who are you?’ And she just started sobbing because she thought from then on that I wasn’t going to be able to see.”
The interviewer then points out that the first time Demi got sober in 2012, it was in response to the fact that her parents told her they wouldn’t let her see Madison if she didn’t get clean. And then in the hospital in 2018, she literally couldn’t see her when she woke up. “It’s really ironic and in a weird way poetic that it ended up happening like that,” Demi says as tears run down her face.
“To be honest, when I found out that Demi wanting to be able to see me and keeping a relationship with me was one of the reasons she went to treatment, I didn’t believe it,” says Madison. “That a sister relationship like that could stand in the way of Demi and her addictions even for a moment.”
“I think that God has a twisted sense of humour sometimes,” Demi adds.
For those unfamiliar with Lovato's family life, Madison, 19, is an actress herself, and is Demi and Dallas' younger half-sister. She starred as young Juanita Solis in ABC's Desperate Housewives, and continued acting in TV shows like Bad Teacher and American Koko over the years. Most recently, however, she's made her foray into screenwriting and directing: In 2020, she co-directed short film called Pink Elephant and produced the sci-fi film Subject 16. She doesn't share much about her older sister Demi, but did share a sentimental Instagram post on Demi's birthday, a month after her overdose.
"i've been thinking about how i wish that everyone could see the silly little things that she does," she wrote, "like how her nostrils move when she says certain words and when she brushes my hair behind my ear when i'm trying to sleep, because those are the things i'm thankful for today. they seem so small, but those little things make up my sister - not a singer, not a celebrity, and definitely not what she's been described as in the media - she's a daughter, a friend, and my big sister... and i am so, so thankful that i can tell her happy birthday."