Devi Lovato has opened up about her childhood as a Disney Channel star and the battles with eating disorders that she says were enabled by her management team and upheld by the television industry.
In a new interview with Bustle, Lovato revealed the real reason why she decided not to return to star in the Disney series Sonny With a Chance after a 2010 altercation with a backup dancer spurred her to leave the show and undergo her first stint in rehab.
“I kind of looked around and had a moment where I was like, ‘Wow. This is so terrifyingly normalized,” Lovato said of the television industry, detailing that she used to be given “watermelon with fat-free whipped cream” in place of a birthday cake each year.
“When I went to treatment in 2010, I came out of the experience with the choice of talking about my struggles or my journey with the possibility of helping people, or keeping my mouth shut and going back to Disney Channel,” she continued. “And I was like that doesn’t feel authentic to me. So I chose to tell my story.”
Lovato’s eating disorder persisted, fueling her opioid addiction and eventual overdose in 2018, which resulted in the her returning to rehab. This time, she has emerged in a much healthier place, ready to reinvent herself and dictate her own future, she explained.
“I want a career that has nothing to do with my body. I want it to be about my music and my lyrics and my message. And I want a long-lasting career that I don’t have to change myself for,” Lovato said. “Music brought me so much joy when I was younger, and I lost that joy throughout the hustle and bustle of the music industry. I got miserable. And I don’t ever want it to be like that again.”