SHE was once a sweet Disney Club princess who became an international pop star.
But now, in a shocking documentary about her struggle with addiction, Demi Lovato has admitted to being left brain damaged by a drug overdose that almost killed her.
Demi Lovato is going to talk about her addiction struggles in a new YouTube documentary called Dancing With The Devil next monthCredit: YouTube/Demi Lovato
The actress and singer, 28, has revealed that she had three strokes and a heart attack due to substance abuse in the summer of 2018.
A new four-part documentary about Demi’s battle to get clean hints that her near death experience was caused by heroin.
Previously, it was reported that she had been rushed to hospital in Los Angeles after taking the dangerous painkiller fentanyl at her Hollywood home.
In the series to be broadcast on YouTube next month the former-child star will talk about how the entertainment industry played a part in her downfall.
Unable to drive from permanent eye damage
Having made her acting debut on the hit kids show Barney & Friends at the age of ten, she was addicted to cocaine just seven years later.
Demi, who worked extensively with fellow Disney stars the Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez, has suffered eating disorders and felt the pressure to keep the pounds off.
Demi was just 10 years old when she made her acting debut on Barney & FriendsCredit: Disney
She was a star by her early teens, with big roles in films like Camp RockCredit: Alamy
The former American X-Factor judge also has bipolar disorder and was sent for psychiatric assessment after locking herself in a room with a bottle of pills in 2011.
But her biggest battle has been against drink and drugs, with her high profile attempts to stay sober failing.
Talking about her overdose in 2018, Demi says: “I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with that today.
“I don’t drive a car due to blind spots with my vision and I had a really hard time reading.”
She is lucky to be alive.
When she arrived at hospital her oxygen levels were dangerously low and if the medics hadn’t acted swiftly she would have died.
Demi was rushed to hospital from her sprawling home in the Hollywood HillsCredit: The Mega Agency
In a trailer for the documentary called Dancing With the Devil, Demi reveals she had “three strokes, a heart attack and my doctors saying I had five to ten minutes.”
Like Demi, all of them have been affected by drugs.
Now Demi says “my experiences in the industry are some of the reasons that led up to that breaking point” in 2018.
But it is fair to say that showbusiness alone is not the reason for her demons.
Horrific school bullying & eating disorder
Her sound engineer father Patrick, who died from cancer in 2013, was hooked on cocaine and booze.
She once revealed: “He chose that over a family. He was abusive, he was mean, but he wanted to be a good person.”
Demi was brought up alone by her former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader mum Dianna because her parents split up when she was aged two.
Demi with her mum Dianna, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleaderCredit: Splash News
At school she faced horrific bullying, with fellow pupils signing a petition encouraging her to kill herself when she was aged 12.
By this point she was already on the way to the top, having started performing on stage from the age of seven and securing Barney & Friends in 2002.
When others taunted Demi about her weight, she would make herself throw up her food.
At the age of just 15 she was the Disney Channel’s big new star, winning lead roles in both Camp Rock and Sonny With a Chance.
In 2009 she played a princess in the company’s Princess Protection Programme and in the same year her second album Here We Go Again went to number one in the US.
Violent outburst and rehab
But the image of perfection she promoted in front of the camera was shattered in November 2010 when she punched a female backing dancer in the face.
Realising it was time to get her act together, Demi checked into rehab for three months.
That first attempt to get clean didn’t work, with her continuing to get high even when she was telling the world she’d quit for good.
Demi has made several attempts to get clean and soberCredit: YouTube/Demi Lovato
With things spiralling out of control, she swallowed a load of pills in front of a nurse who was checking her into hospital in Palm Springs.
Demi, who was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 18, was admitted to the psychiatric ward for assessment, but she admitted “I’d lie straight to their faces”.
It took another spell in rehab and the intervention of her close friend Nick Jonas to seemingly get clean.
She says: “I was sober for over six years.”
That all came to an end less than three years ago, when she fell off the wagon.
‘Are we talking about heroin?’
While Demi was singing a song called Sober on stage, in reality she was so off her head she couldn’t remember all the lyrics.
In July 2018 she was rushed to hospital where she spent two weeks, with rumours that the cause was a heroin overdose.
Demi performing on stage – her substance abuse has affected some of her showsCredit: Netflix
That was denied at the time, but in the trailer for the documentary one of her best friends says: “She should be dead. Are we talking about heroin? Are we doing that?”
The true cause should come out on YouTube because this promises to be a warts and all show where everyone is encouraged to speak openly.
Demi insists she will be totally honest about her issues in the four-part series, which begins on March 23.
She says: “I’m holding myself accountable. I learned a lot from my past.”
‘Publicity stunt’ romance
The show will also delve into her colourful love life, with her ex-boyfriends including Joe Jonas, Miley Cyrus’s brother Trace and That 70s Show actor Wilmer Valderrama.
Last summer it looked like Demi was going to settle down when she announced her engagement to 29-year-old soap actor Max Ehrich.
They had chosen to move in together in March shortly after the pandemic struck and gushed about each other on social media.
Demi with Max Ehrich – their whirlwind romance broke down last yearCredit: Refer to Caption
Demi said at the time: “I knew I loved him the night I met him. So a week later we went into quarantine.”
Lockdown love was shattered by the reality of the real world, when Max headed off to Atlanta to work on a project.
Her decision to call off the marriage in September sparked an increasingly bitter war of words.
Both sides accused each other of using the relationship for publicity purposes.
‘I’m on my ninth life’
The “gender fluid” star is now back dating, with both men and women potential partners.
In the past she has been linked romantically to her friend Ruby Rose and DJ Lauren Abedini.
Demi says she wants to stay clean to continue making great work for her fans
Along with the documentary Demi is also releasing new material, with her seventh album planned for later this year.
The singer believes she works better when not inebriated.
Demi comments: “A lot of artists when they say I make better music when I’m in a dark place or when I’m on something or whatever.
“I personally don’t relate to that because I feel that the best work I make is when I’m present.”
At the start of this month she released a single called What Other People Say, where she sings that she is “better than” taking the “same old drugs everyone else takes.”
Her fans around the world will be hoping that is true this time, because Demi knows she does not have many chances left.
She says: “I’m on my ninth life”.