Demi Lovato reveals her teen substance use began earlier than anyone thought

She first started using opiates at age 13 after a car crash.
August 24, 2022 12:00 a.m. EST

“Cool for the Summer” singer Demi Lovato has been on the road to recovery since 2018 when her scary and near fatal overdose caused three strokes and a heart attack, leaving her legally blind and brain damaged.

Now, in a new interview, Demi (who recently revealed she's using she/her pronouns again after asking the public to use they/them pronouns last year) reveals that she started using substances much earlier than anybody publicly knew. In fact, she says she was as young as 13.

Speaking on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, she revealed, “I started experimenting for the first time when I was 12, or 13.”

“I got into a car accident and they prescribed me opiates. My mom didn’t think she would have to lock up the opiates from her 13-year-old daughter but I was already drinking at that point. I had been bullied and was looking for an escape.”

Adding that her mother locked away the pills after she realized how many her daughter was taking, that’s when Demi says she turned to alcohol, recalling that the first time she drake, she had stolen beer from her stepfather's fridge to drink “alone, which should have been a major red flag.”

That’s when an even harder substance entered her life, she told host Alex Cooper.

“At 17, it was the first time I tried coke and, like, loved it too much and then kinda bled into me going to treatment right after I turned 18,” she added.

Her road to recovery from that point was peppered with other addictions, and during the interview, she joins a host of other teen stars to call out the abuse and control she was subjected to at the hands of Disney Channel and then her management team. Specifically, she says they controlled what she ate to keep her a certain size, and they went to extreme, toxic lengths.

"I've never talked about this before but there was one time when I had binged and purged one night. I came clean to my team and said, 'Hey this happened.'"

"I didn't have food in my hotel room, like snacks in the mini bar, because they didn't want me to eat the snacks. Ellen talked about this on her show. They cleared the dressing room of all sugar before I'd get in there," she recalled, adding that she wasn’t even allowed to have a phone because she might call room service.

"After I told them what had happened, my security guard walked by my room, and was made aware that they had built, they'd, like, barricaded me into my hotel room. They'd put furniture outside of my door so that I couldn't get out, and sneak out and eat if I wanted to. So it was that level of controlling when it came to my food, which just made my eating disorder worse," she explained.

"One time I said 'I'm throwing up blood, I need to go to treatment, I need to get help.' [A member of her team] looked at me and said, 'You're not sick enough.' And I think that was his way of saying ' No you're not going back to treatment because that'll look bad on me.'

"I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn't get out of this situation. And my way of blowing everything up was relapsing on drugs and alcohol."

Demi also revealed that she's working on a project where she will sit down with her former Disney Channel co-stars and other former child stars to expose the toxic dark side of child fame. 

There were some light-hearted and fun moments from her podcast interview , including talking about her #InstagramOfficial relationship with Canadian musician Jute$, real name Jordan Lutes, and how he inspired many of the songs on her new album “Holy Fvck.”

"I am seeing someone right now and I'm very, very happy and I feel like that's what inspired so many of the love songs on the album," she gushed.

"It's just like, the way that it makes you feel and also that connection with someone that you have that you know is going to last forever is so special and so important."

While she didn’t exactly identify Jute$ by name, she did go into detail of what she looks for in a partner.

"I have to laugh,” she admitted. “The person I'm dating is so hot and so sexy and I am obsessed. But like, the most important thing is eventually over time. We grow old, looks fade and things like that, you have to find someone who completely understands you. But, most importantly to me, makes me laugh."

You can listen to the entire podcast episode here.

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