Demi Lovato has said she was raped as a teenager, before suffering the same ordeal on the morning of her near-fatal drug overdose in 2018.
Lovato made the harrowing claims in her new YouTube docu-series Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which premiered at SXSW on Tuesday (March 16) and focuses on her ongoing battles with drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia.
The singer explained that the initial assault took place when she was just 15 years old and working for the Disney Channel, with her attacker facing no repercussions for their actions.
“I lost my virginity in a rape,” Lovato said.
“I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control and all it did was make me feel worse.”
Discussing the 2018 overdose that saw her being admitted to Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai medical centre for several weeks, Lovato said she had also been “left for dead” by a drug dealer who raped her.
She went on to see the attacker during a subsequence relapse which landed her in hospital once more, and explained that it mirrored her teenage experiences.
Lovato said both times were “textbook trauma re-enactments, and I really beat myself up for years, which is also why I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was a rape when it happened”.
While the singer did not reveal when or where the initial assault happened, she noted it took place while she was “a part of that Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting till marriage”, referring to the purity rings worn in the late 2000s by teenage Disney stars including Nick and Joe Jonas, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.
“I didn’t have the romantic first time,” she said.
“That was not it for me – that sucked. Then I had to see this person all the time so I stopped eating and coped in other ways.”
She said she told others about her ordeal, but her abuser “never got in trouble for it”.
“They never got taken out of the movie they were in. I always kept it quiet because I’ve always had something to say. I don’t know, I’m tired of opening my mouth,” she said.
“I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control. All it did was make me feel worse.”
Lovato added that she struggled to recognise the experience as rape at the time, which led to her earliest battles with bulimia and self-harm.
“The Christian, southern girl in me didn’t see it that way because sex was not normalized as a child or in the south,” she said.
“And, you know what, fuck it, I’m just gonna say it: my #MeToo story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me, and they never got in trouble for it. They never got taken out of the movie they were in.”