Demi Lovato has lived an accomplished — but often difficult — life in her young 25 years. In March 2017, she celebrated five years of sobriety, something she has said she did for her little sister more than anything else. In her new YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, Lovato is as candid as ever about the details surrounding her addiction and recovery, as well as about her ongoing struggles with an eating disorder, her relationship with ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama, her current dating life, and more. Check out five of the most compelling revelations from Simply Complicated below.
1. She was in treatment for addiction while she was a judge on The X Factor. Lovato found a whole new audience when she joined the US version of The X Factor as a judge in 2012 and 2013. In her documentary, it’s revealed that she was in the thick of addiction treatment at the time, living in a sober apartment and not even in possession of a cell phone. “What nobody knows is, while she’s a judge [on X Factor], she’s living in a sober apartment, with roommates,” Mike Bayer, Lovato’s personal development coach, says in one scene. “She’s having to do chores, she has no cell phone, she is completely and totally submitted to the process of recovery.”
2. She still has so much love for Wilmer Valderrama. The connection that still exists between Lovato and Valderrama since they ended their six-year relationship isn’t exactly a new revelation, but the way Lovato still speaks of her ex is heartbreaking. “I’ve never loved anybody like I’ve loved Wilmer. And like, I still love Wilmer,” she says in the doc. “We connected on a level that I’ve never connected with anybody before. He was just my rock, my everything.” Lovato says that they didn’t break up because they fell out of love, but because she needed to learn to be alone to overcome her issues. “I do have moments where it’s late at night and I’m lonely and I wonder if I made the right decision, because love is a gamble. I don’t know if I’ll lose him for the rest of my life.”
3. She still struggles with body-image issues and bulimia. In one scene, Lovato admits to her manager that she recently had a relapse of binging and purging. “Food is still the biggest challenge in my life and it controls — I don’t want to give it the power to say it controls my every thought, but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about,” Lovato shared. She says her first recollection of an unhealthy relationship with food was when she was just eight years old. “Body image, what I’m going to eat next, what I wish I could be eating, what I wish I didn’t eat. It’s just constant.” Lovato’s manager notes major improvements, however, including the positive impact her Jiu-Jitsu training has had. Lovato says that “the gym really helps and I know that I would be in a very dark place without it.”
4. She was hungover when she performed on American Idol. Even as Lovato’s alcohol and drug problems affected her life, she continued to make it through professional obligations, including a major TV performance. “I was at a hotel and I invited two random people and basically just drank with them,” Lovato recounts. “I got really, really drunk until it was time to get on a flight. And I was so drunk that I threw up in the back of the car service on the way to the airport to perform on American Idol. I felt like that was a moment in my career where I didn’t care. I just knew that I needed to get high to get through what I was going through at that point.” Lovato says that was the last time she drank alcohol.
5. She started using cocaine as a teenager. “I felt out of control with the coke the first time that I did it,” Lovato admits. She says she was 17 years old and still working on the Disney Channel when some friends offered her the drug. “I was scared because my mom always told me that your heart could just burst if you do it. But I did it anyways and I loved it,” she says. She also reveals some heartbreaking insight into what she felt fueled her eventual addiction. “My dad was an addict and an alcoholic and I guess I always searched for what he found in drugs and alcohol because it fulfilled him and he chose that over a family.”
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(Photos via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images + Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen)