Trigger Warning* sexual assault, substance abuse and self-harm
Demi Lovato has grown up in the spotlight. From being on Barney when she was only seven years old, to becoming a huge Disney star in her teens; every part of her life was publicized and critiqued. She became known as one of Disney Channel’s role models and was looked up to by thousands of young kids. Her friendships, relationships and any mistakes made along the way were in the view of the public, and that had a detrimental effect that only continued to spiral as she became older.
The new documentary everyone has been talking about is Demi Lovato’s new YouTube four-episode series “Dancing with the Devil.” In this new series, Lovato gives a raw look into the struggles she continues to battle every day such as substance addiction, self-harm and disordered eating, sexual trauma and the struggles that come along with being a celebrity.
This series is a tell-all from the viewpoint of not only Lovato but her friends, family and team that have been with her along the way. In the first episode of the documentary, we watch footage from her documentary “Tell Me You Love Me,” from her world tour, which was never released due to Lovato’s overdose in 2018.
Lovato then goes to explain that within this documentary, she hid the darker parts of herself which never allowed her to truly heal. “I wasn’t showing them what I was doing behind closed doors…anytime that you suppress a part of yourself, it’s gonna like, overflow at some point,” she said.
“That’s ultimately what happened to me, in a lot of areas of my life, and it was what led to my overdose, for sure.”
When the topic of her overdose in 2018 is brought up, her best friend Matthew Scott Montgomery says, “Are we talking about heroin, are we doing that?” Her friends then foreshadow the events that are about to be unfolded in the months leading up to Lovato’s overdose.
Throughout the next few episodes, Lovato speaks openly about her overdose and how well she hid her relapse from her loved ones. The second episode titled “5 Minutes From Death,” depicts the entirety of her overdose. From her team finding her unresponsive after using heroin and fentanyl, her assistant being hesitant to call 911 for help, then her trip to the hospital where Lovato explains that she had suffered three strokes, a heart attack, permanent brain damage, multiple organ failure and other detrimental medical issues.
Lovato later reveals that she was sexually assaulted by her drug dealer the night of her overdose where she was then left until her team found her the next morning. She explains that it took her a while to come to terms with the fact that she was in no position to consent, and it was the most difficult part of this journey to overcome.
The medical professionals, her friends and her family all look to this situation stating that she is lucky to be alive.
“It’s like a nice reminder that it wasn’t my time, you know?” Lovato said in episode two. “That there was more life to be lived.”
In the third episode “reclaiming power,” Lovato begins her journey to recovery by going to rehab and taking time off to care for herself. She reveals that even after her fatal overdose, she hit a few bumps in the road and relapses, but still continues to work toward a new method of staying clean.
She has slowly been making her transition back into the world since 2020, from opening the Grammys to releasing new music, when the pandemic hits.
This series gives a real-life take on the life of someone struggling with substance addiction and trauma in hopes to not only provide viewers with her side of the story but to reclaim her narrative. It also brings attention to the stigma around mental health and shows us that substance addiction and the decisions regarding it aren’t always black and white, as we can see by Lovato’s loved ones’ reactions.
The four-part ad-free series will come to a conclusion on Tuesday, April 6, so be sure to watch the last episode of Lovato’s honest journey toward recovery. If you haven’t been tuning in already, you can watch the first episode here:
Also be sure to check out Lovato’s new album “Dancing with the Devil…The Art of Starting Over,” available April 2!