Demi Lovato Reveals The Moment She Realized Hollywood Normalizes Eating Disorders

Demi Lovato at a house party in music video screenshot

Demi Lovato has made an effort to be totally transparent about her weight and drug struggles over the years, but now she’s opening up about the moment she really felt she understood how normalized eating disorders are in Hollywood. Back when she was starring on Disney Channel’s Sonny with a Chance, the actress went to rehab for her eating disorder and only then realized the environment she was living and working in was not the healthiest.

In fact, in a profile over at Bustle, Demi Lovato talked about that first rehab experience and the choice she had to make after she sought help for her eating disorder, which had already been a problem before she was a star. But in 2010, after getting help for the first time, she said she had an aha moment about how “normalized” Hollywood can make some things seem that aren’t truly normal.

I kind of looked around and had a moment where I was like, ‘Wow.’ This is so terrifyingly normalized. When I went to treatment in 2010. I came out of the experience with the choice of talking about my struggles or my journey with the possibility of helping people, or keeping my mouth shut and going back to Disney Channel. And I was like that doesn't feel authentic to me. So I chose to tell my story. And I had this, like, savior complex, where I thought, ‘Oh, I made this pact with God when I was young and now I have to save people.’

At the time, Demi Lovato was a successful singer and the star of Sonny with a Chance. The show only ran for two seasons on the Disney Channel and now Demi Lovato is saying that was due to her decision to leave after dealing with her personal struggles. At the time she left, the show had been on hiatus for six months and Lovato’s trip to rehab had been spun as being due to “emotional problems.”

Years later, of course we know that Demi Lovato had struggled with eating disorders as well as drug and alcohol abuse. She lived in a sober facility for a while and had celebrated her anniversary of being six years sober in 2018. However, she had oft been open about going back to work on projects like The X Factor too soon after rehab and just a few short months after her six-year sobriety post she was hospitalized following an overdose.

Again though, Demi Lovato is nothing if not open, whether that has to do with talking about her personal struggles or her behemoth career. She previously noted her eating disorders kept her away from acting for a while, but that she has finally made peace with herself and her body type. She said earlier in 2020:

My eating disorder kept me from going back to acting for years. But I finally came to a place with my body where I thought, ‘Why am I going to let this stop me when it’s just my shell? I’ve stopped letting my weight control my life.

Now, she tells Bustle she’s just looking forward to a “career that has nothing to do with my body” and perhaps she'll ultimately find peace outside the music business or taking on other work in Hollywood. Or perhaps she’ll eventually be able to take a note from some other industry veterans like Kelly Clarkson and find a path in the industry that still allows her to be fully her own authentic self. We're rooting for her either way.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.