Demi Lovato Recalls Having an Eating Disorder, Being Overworked & More During 'Sonny With a Chance' Reunion
By Liz Calvario
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Demi Lovato got real about her time on Sonny With a Chance.
The 27-year-old singer has come a long way since her Disney Channel days, with a number of personal ups and downs over the years. The Sonny and So Random! casts reunited in a pre-recorded virtual chat posted on Saturday, where Lovato got candid about the experiences she had while on the show, which included getting treatment, battling an eating disorder and feeling overworked.
Lovato was joined by Tiffany Thornton, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Doug Brochu, Sterling Knight, Audrey Whitby, Matthew Scott Montgomery, Shayne Topp and Damien Haas.
When Arm asked what everyone has been up to since the show, Lovato quipped, "I went to rehab. Several times!"
She then explained that Thornton was such an inspiration to her after she went to treatment for the first time. Lovato was 19 when she exited Sonny after its second season. The rest of the cast, among other new additions, went on to star in the spinoff series, So Random!
"When I went away to treatment for the first time, you were my biggest inspiration coming out of it because you dealt with all of those pressures of being a woman on TV," Lovato told Thornton. "I looked at that as, 'I wish I had that so bad.' Yes, I probably was happier in my head with whatever I looked like at the time. But I'm so much happier now with the mentality that you have. I look back now and I'm like, Man, it's a shame that we wasted any energy on what we wore on set."
She then explained that while on Sonny she would spend hours in a fitting and during her recent guest appearance on Will & Grace it only took 10 minutes and didn't care how she looked.
Lovato also confessed that while on the Disney Channel series she "wasn't sleeping and I was so miserable and angry too because I felt like I was being overworked." She also admitted that she was a bit surprised that when she left Sonny, the show continued without her.
"When I left, you don't expect your show to go on without you, but it did," she said. "But I couldn't have been happier for everybody…I just wasn't in a period of time when I was ready to be on camera again. I could not go back into that environment and there were other things that factored into it."
Lovato, meanwhile, reflected on how some people choose to step away from the spotlight to live a happier and healthier life -- and sometimes wonders if she should do the same.
"I'm realizing that as I've gotten older because when I was young, when you start off in the industry as a 7-year-old, 8-year-old, you kind of value your self-worth with your success," she explained. "I have moments all the time where I'm like, Do I want to continue this? Or do I want to pull a Tiffany and move to Texas, have a family and have a farm."
The conversation only got more real as the reunion kept going, with Thornton at one point recalling how Lovato's dressing room was "98 degrees everyday."
Lovato then quipped, "I had an eating disorder and I was underweight and freezing!"
"I would have people over for meetings on my lunch breaks, because that's how much I worked," she recalled. "People would come in and I'd be covered in a blanket and people would say, 'Why is it 80 degrees in here?' I would be like, 'Because I'm freezing.' They would be like, 'Oh my god, what's wrong with you?'"
And while Sonny is near and dear to Lovato's heart, it's not something that she would want to revisit.
"I love all of you guys so much, but I went through so much during that show that I would rather just start a whole new project with all of you," she told the group. "I had the best time with you guys and when I think about the show, I miss you guys. And I miss spending time with you and joking and going to Kitchen 24 on our lunch breaks…If we were ever to do anything, I think we should just do a whole new thing."
Before signing off, however, Lovato did share some words of wisdom to child actors who are starting in the industry.
"I would just say, speak up for your needs, always tell the people around you [how you feel]," she shared. "If you're tired, tell them you're tired. If you're sick, be honest about being sick and not feeling good. Just speak up for yourself."