Demi Lovato was bullied for her weight, cut herself at age 11


It’s been a rough ride for Demi Lovato, who has spent the last several months narrowly avoiding becoming a premature Disney casualty. Just a few years ago, Demi was still denying that she cut herself despite plenty of pictorial evidence to the contrary. Messy breakups with Joe Jonas and the suspicious influence of Wilmer Valderrama (not to mention his continued involvement in her life) certainly didn’t help matters either. Then, she had a physical altercation with one of her backup dancers on tour and subsequently checked herself into treatment for both emotional and physical reasons, but she did her rehab time without any additional outward fuss (and is possibly still continuing out-patient treatment for the eating disorder). Now, Demi’s coming clean to “Good Morning America” about her extended affair with both eating disorders and cutting:

Demi told GMA anchor Robin Roberts that she was constantly bullied in school for her weight. “I literally didn’t know why they were being so mean to me. And when I would ask them why, they would just say, ‘Well, you’re fat.'”

The Disney star admitted that she developed an eating disorder early on, and has been having issues with food ever since. “I was compulsively overeating when I was eight years old. … So, I guess, for the past 10 years I’ve had a really unhealthy relationship with food.” While her food issues began at age eight, Demi says it wasn’t until age 11 that she began to cut herself. She explained her reasoning for the cutting, telling Robin:

“It was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body. I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn’t know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself.”

[From Celebuzz]

Lovato’s been talking a lot lately, which is key to making amends in recovery, although I suspect the fact that she’s been talking a lot to the press is because Disney’s forcing her to do it. Still, the fact that Demi’s owning up to the fact that teen stardom isn’t all sweetness and light (such as her recent admission of a nervous breakdown in Seventeen magazine) might actually be beneficial to her fans. Included in her fandom is my own 10-year-old daughter, with whom I have discussed Lovato’s troubles in an attempt to curb the Disney idol worship. Of course, Lovato herself will now be less of a Disney presence since she just announced that she’s quitting her show, “Sonny with a Chance” too:

“It made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music,” Lovato, 18, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It’s kind of sad for me that a chapter of my life has ended but there couldn’t be a better time for me to move on.”

“I don’t think going back to Sonny would be healthy for my recovery,” says Lovato, who returned to Los Angeles in January after completing three months of residential treatment. “Being in front of a camera would make me nervous.”

And she has the support of the Disney Channel.

“We respect Demi’s decision to focus fulltime on her music and not immediately return to her acting career,” a rep for the Disney Channel said in a statement. “She is a talented young woman and our hearts are with her as she continues to take action to improve her health and bounce back from adversity.”

Lovato’s career took off after starring in the Disney Channel’s 2008 original movie Camp Rock, opposite the Jonas Brothers. Next came “Sonny with a Chance,” which debuted in 2010.

But even without its main star, the show will still go on: the series is being reinvented as a sketch comedy program called “So Random!,” which will debut in June.

Lovato, who will continue to record under Disney’s label Hollywood Records, calls her decision to walk away from her TV gig “nerve-racking.” But, she says, “I’m really excited to see where everything goes.”

[From People]

Well, Disney’s not really losing anything here because they can easily spin off “So Random!,” which is the series-within-a-series featured within “Sonny” itself. It appears slightly ominous that Demi’s decision to focus on the music doesn’t mean striking out on her own and finding a new record label but, instead, just sticking with the easier option of Disney’s label. Unfortunately, she’s probably contractually bound to continue on with Disney, which is probably actually the case since they have put up the appearance of letting her “Sonny” obligations fall by the wayside. At this point, Lovato herself is merely 18-years-old, but she’s been with Disney for a few years already. I’d be interested to know whether she signed new contracts with Disney after she became an adult, or if she’s still fulfilling old agreements. It’s amazing how the law generally protects minors from entering into contracts, but the entertainment business is a whole different matter when stage parents and multimillions of dollars are involved.






Photos of Lovato announcing nominations for the 2010 American Music Awards courtesy of Fame Pictures

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34 Responses to “Demi Lovato was bullied for her weight, cut herself at age 11”

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  1. LisaMarie says:

    Man, when I was a kid Disney was all about Mickey cartoons. Times, they have a-changed!

  2. sapphire says:

    The Toxic Mouse Strikes Again. I give this girl a lot of credit for getting the help she needed and backing off a professional activity that may have caused problems.

  3. Jessie says:

    I think what Demi is doing is a good thing. I have a nine year old daughter who watches all the Disney channel shows, and she’s realising that the girls on the program are not as perfect as they seem on the program. At least Demi is talking openly about her problems in a way to deter girls from following her path.

  4. tiredofrumers says:

    what a brave girl! now this is a true role model.

  5. Tammy says:

    Did she ever publicly apologize to the backup dancer she punched in the face?

  6. TQB says:

    Before all this I couldn’t have picked her out of a line-up, but now I am a fan. She’s very brave to share her struggles and will hopefully reach many young girls in trouble.

  7. Denver Danni says:

    I still struggle with cutting and then hiding it. My therapist told me its a “valid coping mechanism” and I’m 30, so I can’t imagine what its like to be so young and struggle. It looks like she’s doing well to find positive outlets and hopefully now that she’s more in control of her work, she can pick and choose without being overwhelmed. All my nanny kids love her music TV movies, so I’ve seen it all. She’s lovely.

  8. kazoo says:

    WTF does Disney do to these kids to screw them up so bad? Wow.

  9. Rhiley says:

    When I read the blind item about her doing blow at a party and bragging that she was so high that she was going to snort more from a dollar bill and one of her friends said something along the lines of “Oh no don’t do that because you don’t know how many n—-s have held it,” I was really disturbed. I don’t buy that she was bullied and this is why she is so messed up. Bullying is the hot topic right now so she is just trying to work the media for attention. Does she condone using the n word because she was bullied by black people? In my mind, she is absolutely no role model.

  10. Dagny says:

    @Denver Danni: I’m 30 too and still cut myself occasionally, but with therapy it’s getting a lot better. I started at about age 16, and didn’t have a problem at Demi’s age. It seems like kids are struggling at earlier ages in general and that Demi is learning some important lessons in how to take care of herself better.

    I’m wondering what your therapist meant when he said cutting is a valid coping mechanism?

  11. malachais says:

    Sorry, but where were Demi’s parents during all of this? Personally, if some kid bullied my child to the point where they are not eating/overeating and cutting themselves, I would go up to the school and get in contact with these children’s parents. There are too many fails by many people in her life that cause her to go down this path.

  12. Moe says:

    Lovato’s been talking a lot lately, which is key to making amends in recovery…

    ARGH! No! No, it isn’t. Making amends has nothing whatsoever to do with going around and blabbing to everyone (let alone the press) about what a victim you are. It doesn’t entail telling anyone who will listen about all the horrible stuff you’ve been up to. It doesn’t entail “talking a lot” at all! Please.

  13. spinner says:

    Excuses, excuses, EXCUSES.

  14. Jeri says:

    All the “shop” signs cover the text and the pics. Any way to get rid of them?

    It’s like PixSpree has hi-jacked the site. The only pics are at the bottom – none opening the post like there usually is.

  15. nikki says:

    I personally find it helpful to hear about others going through similar issues as myself, of course I know there are other people out there but it helps to actually hear their story and how they felt.So as someone who used to cut themselves due to self esteem issues I can relate to Demi and I think it’s great she’s being honest with the public about her feelings.

  16. Kim123 says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggle with bullies and cutting it will help your young fans JMO

  17. danielle352 says:

    #12 and #13 have obviously never struggled with an addiction or emotional disorder like this. I can’t believe I actually have to write it- that part of recovery is admitting it, and yes, the more you talk, the better it is. Why do you think a lot of recovering addicts stay and help others? so they can talk about it every day, and not relapse.

    Which comment should i go with for their comments?

    You can’t fix stupid
    Ignorance, ignorance, IGNORANCE

  18. lmp says:

    Too bad, the show’s funny, but Disney is f*cked-up – luckily she’s got money and family support to help her through this… oh the problems of the young, famous, rich, pretty white girls.

    Now to real problems…

  19. di butler says:

    WTF do you people insist on blaming Disney? Blame the parents who live off their kids incomes. Their youngest kid has weight issues, but they pimp her out to Desperate Housewives and no one says crap about it.

  20. fizXgirl314 says:

    bullying has always been such a rampant problem. When I was younger I was bullied so relentlessly in Jr. High that I would basically be crying during all my classes and the teachers would ignore me. When I started cutting myself someone noticed and sent me to the counselor. I told them I had “fallen” into some bushes and they just shrugged it off… clearly, they were not “bush” cuts… whatever… eff those people… they seriously don’t give a crap. My parents complained so much and got absolutely NO results. Eventually, my mom just said “screw this” and wouldn’t let me go to school anymore.

    I am so glad bullying is getting attention. It is such a terrible amount of emotional stress at a stage in your life where you actually have very little coping skills… I’m just glad people are talking about it… AGH

  21. spinner says:

    @ danielle352 #17…hmmmm…and which comment should I go with for your comment:

    a) self-righteous


    b) just plain old ignorance & inconsideration of others point of view.

  22. B says:

    @Moe: Ever hear of “Talk Therapy?” Google it. Perhaps it would help with the anger your post reeks of. Geesh, chill out.

  23. normades says:

    Wow I didn’t know her little sister was Jaunita! I always thought that child wasn’t a very good actress (sorry, that’s really mean), now I understand how she got the part (connections and pushy parents).

    Demi is not a role model. She’s just trying to salvage a career is all, we’ll see how sincere she is later. Let’s hope she doesn’t get pregnant with Wilmer’s skeezy spawn.

  24. jasmine says:

    y ever this young lady had problems is really none of our business.can any of you say you have never in your life dealt with stress in an unhealthy way? Im glad shes talking about it.My 13yr old son is a fan and was worried about her.When he heard about the cutting it gave us the opportunity for discussion.He told me he heard of a classmate that was a cutter.Im proud of her!Way to be brave enough to admit out loud to being human!!!

  25. Denver Danni says:

    @Dagny: I think what she meant was that its a recognized coping mechanism – not valid as in healthy or best-choice. I still work on using other outlets and avoiding anxiety triggers, but I think people would be surprised how common it is. I don’t think its reserved for teenagers or young adults, nor as its been portrayed in the media as fashionably hipster.

  26. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I kinda agree with @di butler–it’s not just Disney’s fault. I am alot more likely to blame the crazy stage moms who whore out their children from a young age to fulfill their own desire for fame and money.

    I don’t know much about this girl, but I can completely believe that she was bullied mercilessly as a pre-teen (I was, too). Bullying isn’t a new trend. I’m 31 and still deal with leftover self-esteem issues from bullying as early as elementary school. I’ve always thought she looked kinda sad, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when she had a breakdown. I hope she’s healing well.

  27. irishserra says:

    Demi’s whole family situation is messed up if blind items are to be believed. Her older sister and mother have a reputation for screwing around with Demi’s boyfriends, who themselves are no good. It appears as though that girl has been totally left on her own to muddle through life. No wonder she is the way she is.

  28. Gigohead says:

    Good for Demi for owning up to her condition. I have an older brother who is 42 years old and he’s been running from his bipolar and doing messed up things to our family. If she can get it while she is young, vs getting it at 30 when you are set in your ways and can’t live with the thought of taking medication for life.

  29. jemshoes says:

    I agree with the posters who say, don’t only blame Disney for the mess – what about the parents? They’d have a lot to answer for if Demi’s grown up thinking she’s only worthy of love and acceptance because she can sing, dance, act and make money for others.

  30. MaudeLebowski says:


    Me too, honey. I’m so sorry for what you went through.
    My teachers just watched, and did nothing to help us.
    I think in some cases the teachers were bullies themselves, and so they kind of enjoyed watching. There really should be more accountability on them and really indepth psych tests before anyone is even allowed to be a teacher. The first thing they should *want* to do is jump in and protect you and punish the bullies.

  31. Brianna says:

    Why doesn’t anyone ever just own up to their problems? Instead of blaming teachers, do something about it like go to a higher power or change schools, don’t blame Disney, blame the people who can’t get their sh!t together. I’m not saying bullying is okay, because I was bullied and it hurt, but I did something about it and didn’t play the victim card.

  32. honeyv says:

    before all these stories about her i didn’t think she was like that. i mean, i could never tell she had that kind of problems. she looks normal. but yeah she’d better listen to herself before returning to disney. she’ll be okay i guess. but often these problems are hard to beat

  33. Hakura says:

    At least she appears to be handling her issues in life seriously (& better than Miley x_x Not that it takes much to be doing better than Miley at anything.)

    11, that’s so young. =( I got teased at that age, by a few bullies who targeted me for being painfully shy…

    Then when one of the girls opened my bathroom stall (on purpose) while I was in it… changing my *PAD*, because of my period… We hadn’t even had ‘sex-ed class’, so their reaction was less than positive.

    It looks like Demi is on the right track, at least.

  34. Hakura says:

    Re:Disney’s Blame – Much as I know Disney puts harsh, unrealistic standards & pressure on their child stars (for the sake of maintaining a certain image)… Disney alone can’t be blamed.

    Unfortunately, you almost can’t blame Disney at all, much as we’d like to.

    These children have parents/guardians who made bad decisions. *They* are the ones with whom blame lies, as their top priority should’ve been their child’s well being, not the size of their paycheck.