How Demi Lovato Turned Her Life Around With the Most Inspiring Comeback
By Rachel McRady
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Demi Lovato is a warrior. The pop star turns 28 on Thursday, and to celebrate, ET is looking back at the former child star's impressive comeback following years of ups and downs.
The GRAMMY-nominated singer, who got her start on Barney & Friends and the Disney Channel, has spent the last two years inspiring her Lovatics by taking full advantage of her second chance at life after her overdose in 2018.
Here's how Lovato has managed to go from rock bottom to a skyscraper in the past two years.
In the year after her overdose, Lovato mostly stayed out of the spotlight to focus on herself and her recovery. After struggling with an eating disorder, Lovato has been focused recently on not letting food or her weight bring her to a dark place again.
"I'm tired of running myself into the ground with workouts and extreme dieting," she told Ashley Graham in February 2020 on the Pretty Big Deal podcast. "I thought the past few years was recovery from an eating disorder when it actually was just completely falling into it."
Lovato has also spoken up for herself when she's been publicly criticized for her weight. After a tabloid posted about the performer's "fuller figure," she fired back in a post on her Instagram Stories, writing, "I'm angry that people think it's OK to write headlines about people's body shapes, especially a woman who has been so open about being in recovery from an eating disorder. I'm not upset for myself but for anyone easily influenced by the diet culture. Too many people today base their ideal body weight off of what OTHERS tell us we should look like or weigh. Articles like these only contribute to that toxic way of thinking."
Later in 2019, she did her part to show her fans that it's OK to be comfortable in the skin you're in, posting an unedited bikini photo on Instagram.
"I’m just literally sooooo tired of being ashamed of my body, editing it (yes the other bikini pics were edited - and I hate that I did that but it’s the truth) so that others think I’m THEIR idea of what beautiful is, but it’s just not me," she wrote. "This is what I got."
"Ultimately, I made the decisions that got me to where I am today. It was my actions that put me in the position that I'm in," she admitted at the time. "I think it's important that I sit here on this stage and tell you at home or you in the audience or you right here that if you do go through this, you yourself can get through it. You can get to the other side and it may be bumpy, but you are a 10 out of 10, don't forget it. And as long as you take the responsibility, you can move past it and learn to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved."
As fans anxiously await the release of Lovato's seventh album, they've been gifted with three emotional and empowering new singles, "Anyone," "I Love Me," and "I'm Ready" (featuring Sam Smith). The new music is particularly powerful as Lovato admitted earlier this year that she wasn't even sure that she would return to her singing career following her overdose.
In January, Lovato performed her song, "Anyone," at the GRAMMYs, and had to momentarily stop and restart after getting emotional onstage. She was able to pull it off and wowed viewers with the raw performance. A few days later, Lovato dazzled yet again, singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Moments after the widely praised performance, Lovato told ET, "I don't remember anything! I blacked out. I was so excited."
As for her upcoming album, a source told ET in January that it will "be like a rebirth for Demi."
As of early March, Lovato said she was still working on the new album, noting that her two major performances at the start of 2020 took her "back to the drawing board" to see what her album was "missing."
Lovato's fiancé, Max Ehrich, tweeted in early August that he was "in awe" listening to the singer's "new music," getting fans very excited for what's to come.
"I've always considered myself someone that speaks honestly about issues that face my generation," Lovato shared in a statement about the show. "We're excited to bring those frank conversations to a public forum, where people can have the opportunity to relate to the topics and guests, while finding room for laughter and learning."
For fans who want a look into the singer's highs and lows from the past two years will also be treated to a four-part YouTube docuseries as the follow-up to her 2017 YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated.
In addition to her professional work, Lovato has also remained focused on activism and using her platform for good. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, she has encouraged fans to wear masks to help at-risk and immunocompromised people, like herself.
In late May and early June, when the Black Lives Matter movement came to the forefront of the conversation, Lovato used her social media platform to amplify Black voices, providing resources for those who wanted to help and a space for Black activists to reach larger audiences.
The "Anyone" singer, who is openly bisexual, also continued her support of the LGBTQ+ community, making an appearance virtually during the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in July.
"To all the trans youth, I want to make sure that you know you matter," Lovato told viewers. "Don't let anyone, especially our government, fool you into thinking you are anything less than perfect and meant to be. Be proud of who you are. Keep your voices loud and strong and know that we are fighting for you."
When Lovato's longtime on-off ex, Wilmer Valderrama, visited her in the hospital following her overdose, fans were hopeful that the pair would rekindle their romance. Valderrama has since moved on with model Amanda Pacheco, announcing his engagement in January, and so has Lovato.
“I’m really happy for him and I wish him nothing but the best, but we’re not in each other’s lives, haven’t spoken in a long time,” Lovato told Harper's Bazaar in March. “But I think I needed that because I needed to learn to be OK on my own. When you get into a relationship with somebody at that young of an age and then you spend six years with somebody, you don’t really get to learn about yourself.”
Following her hospitalization and stint in rehab, Lovato had a few short-lived romances. Her first rumored relationship was with fashion designer Henry Levy, just a few months after her time in rehab. After lots of online flirtation and setups between friends, Lovato went on a date with Bachelorette contestant Mike Johnson in the fall of 2019.
"Demi Lovato and I went on a date. The woman is quite astounding and amazing," Johnson told ET at the time. "And that's all I'll say on that."
Then in November 2019, she went Instagram official with model Austin Wilson before calling it quits the next month.
Shortly after quarantine began, Lovato and Young and the Restless actor Max Ehrich began dating. The couple fell for each other fast, confirming their romance in the music video for Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber's love song, "Stuck With U."
Not shying away from any online PDA, the pair announced their engagement in late July after four months of dating. This could be the start of Lovato's dream of having a family of her own.
In January, before her romance with Ehrich began, she opened up about her desire to be a mom on New Music Daily With Zane Lowe on Apple Music's Beats 1. "When I think of my future for the decade, I think at some point in this decade I want to start a family," she admitted. "That would be dope."
For more on Lovato’s inspiring journey, watch the clip below: