Demi Lovato is opening up about the journey that led to her 2018 relapse and subsequent overdose. The 27-year-old singer appears on Thursday's The Ellen DeGenres Show where she gets candid about how her former management team's controlling ways led her to question her six years of sobriety.
Host DeGeneres notes that she learned Lovato's team used to hide all the sugar in her dressing room in the 10 times she visited the talk show.
"I didn't know that until today too, but I lived a life for the past six years that I felt wasn't my own because I struggled really hard with an eating disorder, yes, and that was my primary problem and then it turned into other things," the "Anyone" singer says. "My life, I just felt it was so... and I hate to use this word, but I felt it was controlled, by so many people around me."
The former child star goes on to note that the phone would be removed from her hotel room so she couldn't order room service, her Starbucks orders would be monitored, and fruit would be taken out of her room because of added sugar.
"For many years, I didn't even have a birthday cake. I had a watermelon cake, where you cut your watermelon into the shape of a cake and you put fat free whipped cream on top and that was your cake," she recalls. "I just really wanted birthday cake, so this year when I turned 27, you know, I have a new team, and Scooter Braun, my manager, gave me the best birthday cake. I spent it with Ariana Grande, who is one of my good friends, and we just had the best birthday and I just remember crying because I was finally eating cake with a manager that didn't need anything from me and that loved me for who I am and supported my journey. I think at some point it becomes dangerous to try to control someone's food when they're in recovery from an eating disorder."
Lovato says she's happily single and focusing on herself, telling the crowd, "We are good by ourselves, we don't need a partner, we don't need substances."
She also goes into detail about her decision to relapse after six years of sobriety.
"I have to preface it with the fact that I got sober at 19. So I got sober at an age where I wasn't even legally allowed to drink," she says. "So I got the help that I needed at the time and I took on the approach of a one size fits all solution, which is sobriety, just sobriety. My whole team took that approach and we did it and we ran with it for a long time."
Lovato says that the controlling nature of her team surrounding her eating led her to being "really, really unhappy."
"My bulimia got really bad and I asked for help and I didn't receive the help that I needed," she says. "So I was stuck in this unhappy position. Here I am sober and I'm thinking to myself, 'I'm six years sober, but I'm miserable. I'm even more miserable than I was when I was drinking. Why am I sober?'"
When she expressed this to her team, they reacted by leaving her, which Lovato says triggered her issues with abandonment she has surrounding her birth father, a former addict himself.
"So when they left, they totally played on that fear and I felt completely abandoned and I drank," she recalls. "That night I went to a party and there was other stuff there and it was only three months before I ended up in the hospital with an OD."
Lovato makes it clear that she takes responsibility for what happened, adding, "Ultimately, I made the decisions that got me to where I am today. It was my actions that put me in the position that I'm in. I think it's important that I sit here on this stage and tell you at home or you in the audience or you right here that if you do go through this, you yourself can get through it. You can get to the other side and it may be bumpy, but you are a 10 out of 10, don't forget it. And as long as you take the responsibility you can move past it and learn to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved."
Going along with her empowerment theme, Lovato is releasing her new single, "I Love Me," on Friday, telling her fans, "This song is fun and lighthearted and it's got a positive, upbeat message. There are songs on the album that are ugly, honest and heavy and will make you cry and will take you there, but I am so excited."
Following her appearance, Lovato took to Instagram sharing, "I was so emotional I cried when I walked off stage. Thank you Ellen for providing me a platform to speak my truth. Love you always and I’m so grateful for our chat today 💕 The journey continues Friday 💗."