In the wake of the release of her new album, Holy Fvck, Demi Lovato is speaking out about the abuses she claims she suffered from past management and how it led to her overdose in 2018. In a new interview with the Call Her Daddy podcast, Lovato — who uses they/them and she/her pronouns — accused her former team of controlling her life so completely, she was once locked in a hotel room to keep her from eating.
“There was someone that came into the picture, and when they came into the picture everything in my life was controlled,” Lovato claimed on the podcast. At the time, she said, she was assigned a “sober companion” to help with substance use, which the singer added was “helpful for me, but it should not have lasted three years.” In addition to rehab for substance use, Lovato had previously undergone treatment for eating disorders, and Lovato’s team at the time also “became controlling around my food” to keep her looking thin, something she previously detailed in her song “Melon Cake.” This, per the singer, led to the return of her bulimia from 2016 to 2018. (Lovato didn’t explicitly name this allegedly controlling person, but fans who watched her YouTube documentary Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, which was released in 2017, can probably make their own assumptions.)
The control over her eating was so extreme, her team would clear any dressing room or hotel room of food, even going so far as to take away the hotel phone to prevent them from calling room service, Lovato said. Lovato alleged that in one instance, after admitting to her team that she had binged and purged, she was barricaded in a room without food. “They put furniture outside my door so I couldn’t get out and sneak out and eat if I wanted to,” she said. “It was that level of controlling when it came to my food, which just made my eating disorder worse.”
The singer claimed this extreme control went on for years, adding that there was a “brainwashing element” that kept this person in her life. “[I was] totally under the impression that if I don’t listen to this person, who knows so much about recovery, I’m going to lose everything.” According to Lovato, that meant that when she reached out to this person for help after throwing up blood in 2017, “This person looked at me and said, ‘You’re not sick enough.’ And I think that was his way of saying, like, ‘No, you’re not going back to treatment because if you do, this will look bad on me,’ so I didn’t. I didn’t go back into treatment.”
A year later, Lovato overdosed, something she says might have been her way of getting this person out of their life. “They always said, ‘If you use, we’re out.’ And I was like, ‘All right, time to get out, bye!’” Since recovering from her overdose, Lovato has been in treatment twice and open about her sober journey with fans, including her decision to transition from “California sober” to “sober sober.”
Lovato said that she’s “learned a lot from that experience,” adding, “No one can control me anymore.”