It’s not everyday that a music lover finds an artist who is willing to share each and every aspect of their life with their fans. In fact, many stars are known for avoiding too much contact with curious fans, fiercely guarding their personal privacy. Demi Lovato, on the other hand, has no such reservations about letting her fans into her personal life.
In fact, the ex-Disney Channel star is even ready to show them her life story. In Lovato’s documentary, the singer makes it clear that, despite her status as a celebrity, her life is nowhere near close to perfect and never will be. As said by Lovato and reflected in the title of the documentary, her life, just like everyone else’s, is “Simply Complicated.”
“The last decade has taught me a lifetime of lessons,” says Lovato at the opening of the project. “I’ve learned that secrets make you sick, I’m learning how to be a voice and not a victim, I’ve learned that sex is natural, I’ve learned that love is necessary, heartbreak is unavoidable and loneliness is brutal. I’ve learned that the key to being happy is to tell your truth, and be okay without all the answers.”
Throughout the documentary, Lovato shares all the experiences which taught her this ‘lifetime of lessons,’ including drug addiction, eating disorders, bullying, and the devastating end to a happy relationship. For any fan of Lovato’s, especially young adults and teenagers, it’s tremendously difficult not to relate to her story.
Lovato recounts the various hardships she faced throughout adolescence, including her struggle with addiction. For part of her time on the Disney Channel, the then-teenage actress began using cocaine and Adderall. According to Lovato, by the age of 17 she was “either craving drugs or on drugs.” Her managers vividly remember times when she was on stage performing while she was seriously hungover and struggling to hide it.
Eventually Lovato became aware that, unless she faced her addiction and tried to find help, she would end up ruining her own life. At that point, the young artist sat down with her managers to answer the difficult question of where and how she would receive the help she desperately needed.
Unfortunately for Lovato, addiction wasn’t the end of her problems. Although she is almost six years clean from drugs and alcohol, she is still struggling to conquer her lifelong eating disorder. Even as a young girl, she would turn to food for comfort to avoid the stress of her life, while simultaneously worrying about her body image.
This combination of stress and insecurity led to Lovato developing bulimia at the age of 9. However, at 18 she took it upon herself to change her lifestyle, quitting a 2010 tour to enter rehab for her eating disorder.
Whether or not you can personally relate to her struggles with bulimia, it’s quite easy for any college student to understand the difficulty of staying healthy. The term “freshman 15” (gaining weight during the first year of college as a result of having unlimited access to dining halls) is not an obscure term for many college students.
If this phrase happens to become your reality, you just might struggle to get the weight off, by changing your diet and exercise routine, or by seeking help from outside sources on a new lifestyle. On the other hand, you might simply accept your fate as a college freshman and embrace the change in your body.
However, many young people, like Lovato, have immense difficulty either controlling their diet or accepting their body for what it is, due to the pervasiveness of eating disorders. Lovato’s recounting of her struggles with bulimia serve as a grim reminder to young people to appreciate and take care of their bodies.
Another facet of Lovato’s story which will resonate with college students is her relationship and eventual breakup with Wilmer Vanderrama. College, for many students, is the age of experimentation, whether it’s with alcohol or with one’s sexuality.
In Demi Lovato’s documentary, you can see that she is no different. “I am on a dating app with both men and girls,” says Lovato. If you were at all skeptical about your curiosity when it comes to sex, this Disney Channel star can give you the confidence and reassurance that it is okay.
On the other hand, ending relationships can also be a central — not to mention difficult — part of college. Once again, Lovato shows that she’s no different from any other young person, opening up the end of her relationship with Wilmer Vanderrama.
According to Lovato, the breakup was devastating for her, but it was also necessary. “There are issues that I haven’t conquered yet that I know I won’t conquer if I’m relying on somebody else to take care of the loneliness. I just wasn’t ready and there was so much in my life that I hadn’t explored yet,” she says.
At the end of the documentary, some might find it hard to believe that Lovato is only 25 years old after seeing her face so many obstacles, including drug addiction, eating disorders, and heartbreak. It can be unsettling to watch, but it’s also incredibly relatable for those who are dealing with the same issues that Lovato had to overcome, whether the issue in question is an eating disorder, a drug addiction or even just the typical uncertainty of adolescence and young adulthood. And it’s inspiring to see Lovato telling her story, proving that it’s possible to overcome a struggle like hers and still be able to talk about it.