In a world ruled by looks and likes, Demi Lovato keeps it real by using fitness to promote a healthy body and mind.
A TV debut at age 10. Starring roles, certified-gold album and a household name by 15. Drugs, alcohol, an eating disorder and a stint in rehab by 18…
For a while there, it looked as though 26-year-old Demi Lovato was going to end up as another name on the ‘curse of the child stars’ list. It’s a pretty long list of starry-eyed kids who were thrown into the world of too much too soon – too much money, too much partying, too many yes-men. Top this off with an inescapable pressure to have the ‘perfect’ body, and it’s no wonder so many celebrities fall victim to the insane excess of Hollywood – something that most adults can’t even handle. ‘Being a celeb can be dangerous,’ she has said. ‘Nobody says “no”.’
But for a young woman who now personifies ‘strong is the new skinny’, Demi wasn’t about to go down like that.
Rewriting the rules
So the child-star-reinvents-themselves-after-falling-off-the-wagon story is as old a trope as the curse itself. The thing is, it doesn’t feel like a ‘comeback’ when you’re talking about Demi. She didn’t vanish into obscurity after seeking treatment; there was no ‘Where Are They Now?’ show made about the Disney darling. And she didn’t make a desperate bid to return to the spotlight, hiding behind a brand new squeaky-clean image.
Not Demi. She let the world in on her road to recovery, speaking candidly about her struggles with body image, addiction and a bipolar disorder diagnosis every step of the way. ‘Every day is a battle. You just have to take it one day at a time. Some days are easier than others,’ she said at the Brent Shapiro Foundation For Drug Prevention Summer Spectacular in 2017, where she received the Spirit of Sobriety award.
Hers is no orchestrated Hollywood story with the PR machine working overtime behind the scenes. She went through recovery with her no-nonsense honesty and realness, so it felt more as though we were going through it with a friend, rooting for her the whole way. ‘I decided to be open about my story and share everything I’ve been through because it helps others. I have had several people come up to me and say, “Hey, my dad got sober because you did,” and, “I got sober because you did.” It’s just so meaningful to me that I wouldn’t change it for the world.’
But after being sober for six years, Demi recently admitted to having a relapse. The news was followed by the release of ‘Sober’ in which she expresses her apologies to her family and friends – and herself – for letting everyone down. Despite this setback Demi has been one of the most vocal champions of body positivity and mental well-being, advocating for the impact good physical health can have on one’s mental health.
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