The star’s brave dive into depicting her addiction and mental health struggles offers a message of hope for others
By Elizabeth WoodMarch 24, 2021
From Barney and Friends through Camp Rock to her rise to international musical stardom, Demi Lovato has lived in the public eye. Audiences grew up with her and grew close to her; in upbeat characters such as Camp Rock’s Mitchie and the title character from Sonny with a Chance, Lovato embodied youthful exuberance, with apparent ease. But her ascent had a darker side—including disordered eating, alcoholism and substance misuse.
Since the 2010s, Lovato has been open about her personal battles, never more so than in Dancing with the Devil, a YouTube Original series centered on her near-fatal 2018 overdose. In the four-parter, whose first two episodes debuted on March 23, the onetime Disney darling, now 28, reveals raw and intimate details of her life in—and outside—the spotlight.
As a primer for those looking to dive into Dancing with the Devil, here’s a quick timeline of Lovato’s life up to the point of her OD.
Demi Lovato, Year by Year
2008: Lovato is starring on Sonny with a Chance and stars in the movie Camp Rock; in tandem, she releases her debut studio album, Don’t Forget.
2009: Lovato releases her second studio album, Here We Go Again, and makes a guest appearance on Grey’s Anatomy, playing a schizophrenic teen, the out-of-control character echoing unseen turmoil in Lovato’s personal life. Demi rounds out the year with her first concert tour.
2010: September sees the release of Camp Rock: The Final Jam; in November, Lovato leaves Sonny With a Chance. At the time little is known about her departure, but she has since detailed her issues with disordered eating, for which she entered a treatment facility.
2011: Lovato releases her third album, Unbroken, which provides insight into her growth and personal travails. She also becomes a judge and mentor for the The X Factor’s second season.
2012: Lovato debuts her documentary Stay Strong, depicting her struggles with sobriety.
2013: Her biggest year yet sees the release of her fourth album, Demi, with an accompanying songbook of the same title. Lovalo also releases a book of affirmations, Staying Strong 365 Day a Year, on coping with pressures, adversities and difficulties.
2014: Demi embarks on her first international tour, “Neon Lights,” and releases a rendition of the song “Let it Go,” from Frozen.
2015: “Cool for the Summer” and “Confident,” two songs from her fifth album, reflect Lovato’s turn toward a more mature exploration of herself as a singer and a person. In October she announces she’ll be touring with Nick Jonas.
2016: At the White House Nordic State Dinner, Lovato performs for her most esteemed audience yet—President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, the leaders of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and dozens of other luminaries and celebrities, including Common, Will Ferrell and David Letterman.
2017: Lovato executive produces Beyond Silence, documenting three people’s struggles with mental illness. She’s also included in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. In October she releases a YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, focusing on life, career and personal hardships. She is nominated for an MTV movie award and subsequently announces a tour for her sixth album, Tell Me You Love Me.
2018: In June, news breaks worldwide that Demi Lovato has been hospitalized after an overdose.
TreatmentMagazine.com will follow up with a story on Demi Lovato’s Dancing With the Devil after its final episode on April 6.