When Demi Lovato was rushed to hospital after a drug overdose, her legions of fans feared the worst and this week the singer revealed the incident has left her brain damaged.The former Disney child star has opened up about struggling with addiction and told how she had three strokes as well as a heart attack during her near- fatal ordeal.
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Talking about her overdose, Demi said: “I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with that today.
“I don’t drive a car due to blind spots with my vision and I had a really hard time reading.”
She also revealed doctors at the LA hospital she was taken to thought she was “five to ten minutes” from death.
At the time of the overdose in the summer of 2018, it was reported that she had taken fentanyl – the dangerous painkiller that claimed the lives of Prince and Tom Petty.
But a new documentary titled Dancing With The Devil seems to suggest that an even more sinister drug was involved.
One of Demi’s friends says in the trailer for the four-part YouTube film: “She should be dead. Are we talking about heroin? Are we doing that?”
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Demi, 28, is the latest in a long list of squeaky-clean Disney stars whose lives have hit the skids, including Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan.
In the documentary, the former US X Factor judge reveals how the ­entertainment industry played a part in her well-documented troubles, which included struggles with eating disorders and a bipolar diagnosis as well as addiction to drugs.
At the age of ten, she got her big break in the hit kids’ show Barney & Friends.
When she was 15, Demi was the Disney Channel’s big new star, winning lead roles in films Camp Rock, alongside the Jonas Brothers, and Sonny With A Chance.
In 2009, she starred in Disney’s Princess Protection Programme, alongside Selena Gomez.
But it is fair to say that show business is not the sole root of the demons she has had to battle.
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Her sound engineer father Patrick, who died from cancer in 2013, was hooked on cocaine and booze.
She once revealed: “He chose that over a family. He was abusive, he was mean, but he wanted to be a good person.”
At school she faced horrific bullying, with fellow pupils signing a petition encouraging her to kill herself when she was 12.
When others taunted Demi about her weight, she would make herself throw up her food.
And at the age of 17, she was addicted to cocaine.
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Her debut album Don’t Forget was released in 2008. The following year, her second album Here We Go Again went to No. 1 in the US.
But the image of perfection she portrayed in front of the camera was shattered in November 2010 when she punched a female backing dancer in the face.
Realising it was time to get her act together, Demi checked into rehab for three months.
That first attempt to get clean failed, with her continuing to get high even when she was telling the world she had quit drugs for good.
With things spiralling out of control, she swallowed a load of pills in front of a nurse who was checking her into hospital in Palm Springs.
Demi, who was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 18, was admitted to the psychiatric ward for assessment but admitted: “I’d lie straight to their faces.”
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It took another spell in rehab and the intervention of her close friend Nick Jonas to seemingly get clean.
She says: “I was sober for more than six years.”
That all came to an end less than three years ago, when she fell off the wagon. While Demi was singing a song called Sober on stage, in reality she was so off her head she could not remember all the lyrics.
In July 2018, she was rushed to ­hospital from her Hollywood home after being found unconscious.
When she arrived at hospital her oxygen levels were dangerously low and if the medics had not acted swiftly she would have died.
She spent two weeks in hospital as rumours swirled that the cause of the incident was a heroin overdose, which was denied at the time.
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The true story should come out in her warts-and-all documentary, which Demi says she made “to help people who have been on the same path as I have”.
She added: “I wanted to set the record straight, and I wanted to reveal it all for my fans. I’m holding myself accountable. I learned a lot from my past.”
The show will also delve into her colourful love life, with her former boyfriends including Miley Cyrus’s brother Trace.
In 2010 she dated her Camp Rock co-star Joe Jonas. The pair split but they are said to have remained close friends.
After the Jonas Brothers singer, she got together with That ’70s Show actor Wilmer Valderrama.
He was 12 years older than her and they dated for six years. Wilmer ­visited her in hospital after her 2018 overdose.
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Last summer it looked like Demi was going to settle down when she announced her engagement to 29-year-old actor Max Ehrich, who starred in US daytime soap The Young And The Restless.
They had chosen to move in together in March shortly after the pandemic struck and gushed about each other on social media.
Demi said at the time: “I knew I loved him the night I met him. So a week later we went into quarantine.”
Lockdown love was shattered by the reality of the real world, when Max headed off to Atlanta to start work on an acting project. Demi called time on the relationship and posted a photo on Instagram in which she is not wearing her engagement ring.
Her decision to call off the engagement in September sparked an increasingly bitter war of words.
Both sides accused each other of using the relationship for publicity purposes.
The “gender fluid” star is now back dating, with both men and women potentially lined up as partners.
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In the past Demi has been linked romantically to her friend Ruby Rose and DJ Lauren Abedini.
Along with the documentary, Demi is also releasing new ­material, with her seventh album due to come out later this year.
And she is determined to stay clean and happy for the sake of her work.
Demi said: “A lot of artists say, ‘I make better music when I’m in a dark place or when I’m on ­something or whatever.’
“I personally don’t relate to that because I feel that the best work I make is when I’m present.”
At the start of this month she released a single called What Other People Say, where she sings about the “same old drugs everyone else takes”, and adds: “I’m better than that.”
And after all her troubles, Demi admits: “I’m on my ninth life.”
Her fans around the world will be hoping that this time around, she has beaten her demons for good.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission