Since the dawn of Judy Garland, it's been known – or highly suggested – that there's an element of surviving when it comes to being a child star. The evolution from young actor to car crash is a definite pattern and, in more recent years, we're seeing the results of the Disney child-star boom, where coming of age is intrinsically linked with scandal.
In Demi Lovato's new documentary Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, she cuts right to the chase about her battles with addiction and the many ups and downs that recovery can take.
In the documentary, free to watch on YouTube, the 25-year-old singer and actress starts off by saying that she's nervous about doing a sit-down interview because the last time she did, she was on cocaine. That interview happened when she was filming her 2012 documentary Staying Strong, a film that followed her progress after rehab treatment for depression, eating disorders and self-harm.
While she was out on the post-rehab promotional trail, she says that she was either on drugs or looking for drugs, all the while faking drug tests.
Demi Lovato is this week’s new Very Best Friend because she speaks about addiction and her ongoing recovery in a brutally honest way.
She spent her early years entering beauty pageants, but her acting career started when she joined the cast of children's TV show Barney & Friends at the age of eight, alongside her former VBF Selena Gomez. By the time Lovato was 12, she had developed an eating disorder and, as her fame levels increased, thanks to lead roles in The Disney Channel's Sonny with a Chance and the terrifyingly successful Camp Rock movies, alongside the Jonas Brothers, she was using cocaine. She was 17.
Her manager Phil McIntryre and her personal development coach (we’re pretty sure you can find a good one in Smithfield via Groupon) Mike Bayer both said that she was an expert at manipulating adults. When she was meant to be sober, she would have a bag of pills – the amphetamine Adderall being her pill of choice – and an “eight-ball” of cocaine either on her person or on its way to her.
“It’s embarrassing to look back at the person I was,” she says, later adding that she recently had a relapse with her bulimia. She says that while she’s got a handle on her sobriety, food is “still the biggest challenge in my life”.
As the conversation around sexual harassment is getting louder and clearer in Hollywood, the way in which child stars are built up at such a young age and exposed to every single high imaginable – popularity, success, money, sex and drugs – needs to be properly addressed.
The documentary could have delved further into the pitfalls of childhood fame, but it gives a greater understanding to the way in which addiction can be concealed. In Lovato’s case, any red flags she was waving were passed off as overactive teen hormones.
Nothing is downplayed and Lovato owns up to her own actions. With her new album Tell Me You Love Me shooting out chart gold left, right and centre, she's looking and sounding healthier than ever.
This week we’re defriending: Chloë Grace Moretz
The trailer for Louis CK's Woody Allen-inspired movie could not have come at a worse time. I Love You, Daddy sees Chloë Grace Moretz playing the teenage daughter of TV writer Louis CK, who wrote and directed the movie. She suddenly becomes close to a man in his 80s, who is known to love younger women. The trailer ends with a woman saying, "I mean, everyone's a pervert. I'm a pervert. We're all perverts. Who cares?" I think you'll find that we all care, you dope.