Let me start this post out by pointing out that Demi Lovato is nineteen years old. Nineteen. She’s also famous, and has been since she was about seven years-old, when she first began appearing on TV.
Now let’s pause for a second. Think back to when you were ages…let’s say thirteen to nineteen. Think about the choices you made, the pressures you experienced, and the disappointments you felt. Then imagine having to share those moments with a world so hungry for gossip that you can’t tell whether they’d prefer you to succeed or fail.
The first part I can imagine. The second part I can’t, and no one else can, either, unless they’ve experienced it.
In a new interview with British magazine Fabulous, Demi Lovato admits to using drugs in the past:
“What I can say is that I was depressed. I would come off stage in front of 18,000 people and suddenly be alone in a hotel room. I’d come crashing down and would try to find a way to recreate that feeling, to stay ‘up’.”
This confession comes on top of previous acknowledgments of her severe struggles with bulimia, self-mutilation, and alcohol abuse, none of which she’s completely comfortable discussing yet. However, Demi did have a few disturbing revelations about how she was able to gain access to such dangerous substances as a teenager:
“Promoters gave me drugs and alcohol in restaurants or clubs. They wanted me to come back so I would be seen there. They were basically kissing my ass [...] I thought they were my friends. I thought I was having fun.”
Now, I’m all for people being responsible for their own actions, and I don’t think anyone would deny that Demi has made some pretty significant mistakes in her nineteen years of life…HOWEVER. She was and is still a teenager. I personally made a ton of mistakes as a teenager…I was just lucky enough not to be offered alcohol and drugs and superstardom just for going out to eat.
If I had, I can’t guarantee that my sixteen-year old brain would have been developed enough to say no to any of it. (Which, coincidentally, is the reason that minors are generally discouraged from experimenting with mind-altering substances such as alcohol and drugs…and superstardom — because their brains literally aren’t done developing yet.) In theory, that is why adults — and specifically parents exist in the world — to make those annoying decisions for their children that are in their child’s best interests, even if it makes them unpopular.
Unfortunately for Demi, some of the adults surrounding her seem to have been more interested in furthering their own careers than in monitoring hers. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for an adult offering a child drugs. It’s easy to forget, because she became a working professional with a polished image at such a young age, but Demi was still very much a child as all this was going on, and it’s important that children are surrounded by positive, supportive influences. Which typically excludes drug-pushing adults.
In today’s society of over-saturation and media frenzy, it’s easy to feel like we know celebrities and that we have a free pass to judge them because their humiliations are more public than ours. But ultimately they’re still humans, and they experience the same fears, insecurities, and motivations as the rest of us, just with much higher stakes. In Demi’s own words:
Being a celebrity can be dangerous. Nobody says ‘no’. That’s why so many end up overdosing and dying. It could definitely have happened to me.”
As close as she may have come to tragedy, Demi is now working hard to get back on track. Last year, she completed three months of rehab and took six months off from performing to focus on getting healthy. She’s embracing her size 10-12 body and has tattooed the words ‘Stay’ and ‘Strong’ over her cutting scars on her wrists. She admits that she still struggles, and that she’s “slipped up a few times, but each time I have learned from it, and it’s become further apart.”
Ultimately, as much as I hope she’s on the right track, I’m not excusing Demi’s choices. I’m just glad I wasn’t presented with the same ones.
(Photo: Fabulous Mag)