Demi Lovato Tells Fans It's Time to End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
The singer has been vocal about her battle with addiction, bipolar disorder, bulimia and self-harm.
The 25-year-old singer — who has long been vocal about her battle with addiction and her treatment for bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-harm and substance abuse — began to cry after DJ Khaled and Kehlani celebrated her sober birthday during a performance of her “Tell Me You Love Me” world tour at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday.
In video of the emotional moment captured by fans, Lovato said as she teared up, “Yesterday was a really big day for me. Yesterday, six years ago, I was drinking vodka out of a Sprite bottle at nine in the morning, throwing up in the car and I just remember thinking, ‘This is no longer cute. This is no longer fun. And I’m just like my dad.’ ”
Ahead of the revelation, DJ Khaled told Lovato how “proud” he was of her after watching her Simply Complicated documentary — and watching her perform onstage every night.
“What you’ve overcome through trials and tribulations, through dark clouds, you’ve found the sunshine and now the sun shines on you forever,” he added, before leading the crowd in singing happy (sober) birthday to her.
In her acclaimed documentary, Lovato said her drinking and partying escalated during her Disney Channel career, which was behavior she had previously witnessed in her father.
“I loved it,” she said in the documentary as she recalled her past drug use. “I felt out of control the first time I did it. My dad was an addict and an alcoholic. Guess I always searched for what he found in drugs and alcohol because it fulfilled him and he chose that over a family.”
Lovato told PEOPLE in October of opening up in the doc, “I was so honest in that documentary but I wasn’t honest enough. And I think it was because I wasn’t honest with myself. Yes, I did touch on issues and certain things that were real and true but I think the biggest problem was I was lying to myself. And in this documentary, I’m 1000 percent sober and I get to really explain myself and apologize to my fans. There wasn’t anything that was off-limits.”
During her emotional concert speech, the “Confident” singer remarked that after she realized her behavior was no longer fun, she knew it was time to get sober.
Continuing she said, “I made changes in my life and the reason why I became so open about my story is because I know that there are people here tonight that need to ask for help and I want you to know that’s okay. Mental health is something that we don’t ever talk about and we need to take the stigma away. So let’s raise the awareness. Let’s let everybody know it’s okay to have a mental illness.”
“I’m bipolar, whatever. I take care of myself,” she added. “I can never say thank you enough to you guys for the support that you’ve given me over the years. And you’ve forgiven me for my mistakes. So thank you for being a part of saving my life.”
Following the show, Lovato spoke about how much the night had meant to her.
“Last night’s show was so emotional I will NEVER forget it. Thank you to my fans, @djkhaled and Kehlani,” she wrote on Twitter the following day.
She also shared a picture of herself hugging her mom, Dianna De La Garza, who recently released a memoir called Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story, which details her family’s battles with mental illness and addiction.
“I love my momma so much.. #myhero,” Lovato captioned the photo.
On Thursday, Lovato celebrated her sober milestone on social media writing, “Just officially turned 6 years sober.”
“So grateful for another year of joy, health and happiness. It IS possible. ,” she added.
“I’m so grateful for all the 6 years sober birthday wishes…it means more than you know. Truly. Thank you,” she added in a separate tweet.