Demi Lovato's Heartbreaking Documentary: Rape Allegation, Heroin Addiction and Her Near-Death Overdose

In Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil, the 28-year-old star opens up about near-fatal overdose in 2018, her struggles with heroin addiction, her failed engagement and so much more.

By Tierney Bricker Mar 17, 2021 12:40 AMTags
Watch: Demi Lovato's Biggest Revelations From New Documentary

Warning: This story contains sensitive topics including sexual assault, eating disorders and drug abuse.

"I can't believe y'all are doing this," Demi Lovato's friends says at the beginning of Demi: Lovato: Dancing With the Devil. "This is lit, but OK!"

 The 28-year-old star's new four-part documentary, which premieres March 23 on YouTube, was never really, supposed to happen. Sure, Demi was originally filming a doc intended to capture her world tour in 2018, but the project was permanently shelved after Demi's near-fatal drug overdose.

In July 2018, the pop star was found unconscious at her home in Los Angeles, just one month after revealing she had broken her sobriety. Demi, who battled drug and alcohol addiction in years past, spent almost two weeks in a hospital before undergoing treatment at a rehab facility and then a sober living facility.

Nearly two years later, Demi was once again ready to film, with production on the documentary resuming in spring 2020. And this time, the "Skyscraper" singer was sharing the whole story, surprising even her friends who sat down for interviews. "Are we talking about heroin, are we doing that?" her best friend, actor Matthew Scott Montgomery, asks at one point. 

Demi Lovato's Quotes on Sobriety and Mental Health

"In that documentary, I was allowing the cameras to see the tip of the iceberg. I wasn't showing them what I was doing behind closed doors," Demi says of the previous project that was shut down at the beginning of Dance With the Devil.

YouTube Originals

She continues, "I've had so much I've wanted to say over the last two years, of wanting to set the record straight about what it was that happened. FYI, I am just going to say it all and if we don't want to use it we can take it out."

But it seems nothing was left on the cutting room floor, with Demi and her close friends and family revealing shocking information about her near-death experience, her struggles with sobriety, a heroin addiction and an all-consuming eating disorder. 

And Demi explains that being forced to quarantine at home due to the coronavirus pandemic helped her find balance and truly begin healing from her past traumas, all of which she dives deeply into in the Michael Ratner-directed documentary. 

"I crossed a line that I had never crossed in the world of addiction," the "It's OK Not to Be OK" songstress says. "It's interesting that it took me a quarantine to work on this trauma stuff. I'd never really taken the time to dig deep and do the work."

 Here are the biggest revelations from Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil


Her 2018 Relapse

Just one month after celebrating six years of sobriety onstage during a March 2018 concert with DJ Khaled, Demi reveals she relapsed with "drugs and alcohol" following a photo shoot. 

"I don't even know why I'm sober anymore. I am so miserable. I'm not happy. I have all this stuff that I'm dealing with," she recalls thinking at the time. "I picked up a bottle of red wine that night and it wasn't 30 minutes before I called someone who I knew had drugs on them. I'm surprised I didn't OD that night."

Demi then details exactly which drugs she took that evening. 

"I just so happened to run into my old drug dealer from six years before and, like, the odds of that happening were crazy and he had a duffel bag and I just went to town," she explains. "I went on a shopping spree. That night I did drugs that I'd never done before. I had never done meth before, I tried meth. I mixed it with molly, with coke, weed, alcohol, oxycontin. And that alone should've killed me."

She Was Addicted to Heroin

Two weeks after her relapse, Demi reveals she was "introduced to heroin and crack cocaine. I started using recreationally and obviously you can't do that with heroin before you become addicted to it."

And it was on a trip to Bali that she realized she had become "physically dependent" on heroin, which lead her to write her 2018 hit single "Sober."

While she managed to keep her addiction in check during her Tell Me You Love Me World Tour in 2018, Demi says she picked up where she left off when she returned to Los Angeles and "was heavily using," unbeknownst to her family and friends. 

July 23 and 24, 2018

"She should be dead," Demi's best friend Matthew Scott Montgomery bluntly says. "Like 100 percent."

In the second episode, Demi goes into detail about the events leading up to her overdose, revealing she had kept the fact she was "addicted to crack and heroin" from the people closest to her. 

"I met up with some friends," she shares. "We went to several different bars, we came back to my house. And around 5:30 in the morning, I said I was going to bed, but the reality was that I had called one of my dealers over."

The next morning, Demi's then-assistant Jordan Jackson found the singer unconscious in her bed and quickly called her bodyguard Max Lea.

"I'm just like, 'Do I call 911?' What do I do? So I called," Jordan recalls. "I just remember sneaking downstairs to make the phone call because I didn't want to get in trouble for calling 911." She goes on to reveal she was told by someone to request "no sirens" when the ambulance arrived.

She then recounts watching the paramedics "try to bring her back to life. There was one point where she turned blue, like her whole body…I was like, she's dead, for sure. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen."

If Jordan had waited any longer to go in the room, Demi likely would've died. "I had five to 10 more minutes," Demi says. "I'm really lucky to be alive."

The Shocking Side Effects Of Her Overdose

"I don't think people realize how bad I actually was," Demi says in episode two, going on to detail the toll her near-fatal experience took on her body.

"I had three strokes, I had a heart attack, I suffered brain damages from three strokes," she explains. "I can't drive anymore and I have blind spots in my vision, so sometimes when I go to pour a glass of water, I'll like, totally miss the cup because I can't see it anymore. I also had pneumonia 'cause I asphyxiated and multiple organ failure."

But the most impactful injury for Demi was losing her vision and being unable to see her little sister, Madison De La Garza.

"I was legally blind when I woke up and my little sister was at my bedside and I was so blind I couldn't see who she was," Demi recalls. "She just started sobbing because she thought from then on I wouldn't be able to see."

In a full-circle moment, Demi explains that she was motivated to get sober the first time when her parents threatened to prevent her from seeing her little sister—and then her overdose literally stopped her from seeing Madison.

"It's really ironic and in a weird way poetic that it ended up happening like that and me not actually seeing her," she says. "I think god has a twisted sense of humor sometimes."

The Last Time She Ever Touched Heroin

"I wish I could say that the last night I ever touched heroin was the night of my overdose, but it wasn't," Demo admits in episode three. 

The star goes on to reveal the night she returned home after "a week-long intensive trauma retreat," calling her dealer and taking drugs.

"I ended up getting high," Demi says. "I thought, how did I pick up the same drugs that put me in the hospital? I was mortified at my decisions."

But this time, Demi didn't keep her relapse a secret, reaching out for help. 

She Was "Taken Advantage of" on the Night of Her Overdose

"What people don't realize about that night for me is that I didn't just overdose, I also was taken advantage of," Demi alleges in episode two, going on to accuse her unnamed drug dealer of giving her "what I assume now to be fentanyl by giving me 'aftermarket pills.'"

Demi continues, "When they found me, I was naked, I was blue, I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me. And when I woke up in the hospital, they asked if I had had consensual sex. And there was one flash that I had of him on top of me, I saw that flash and I said yes."

But a month later, Demi says she realized she wasn't "in any state of mind to make a consensual decision" and "that kind of trauma doesn't go away overnight and it doesn't go away in the first few months of rehab either."

And when Demi relapsed after her overdose, she called the drug dealer because she "wanted to rewrite his choice of violating me," she says.

"I wanted it now to be my choice and he also had something that I wanted, which were drugs," she continues. "I called him back and I said, ‘No, I'm going to f--k you.' It didn't fix anything, it didn't take anything away. It just made me feel worse, but that, for some reason, was my way of taking the power back. All it did was bring me back to my knees begging God for help."

E! News has reached out for comment. 

As for why Demi never went public with what happened to her that night, she explains, "Honestly, ever since I watched Rihanna and her pictures get leaked after the Chris Brown incident, I was very uncomfortable with even more of my story playing out in the press. And then also maybe people not believing me." 

Her Heartbreaking #MeToo Story

Demi's decision to have sex with her drug dealer a second time was sadly not the first attempt she had made to try and take back control, making a major revelation.

"I know what I'm about to say is going to shock people too, but when I was a teenager I was in a very similar situation," Demi says. "I lost my virginity in a rape. I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control and all it did was just make me feel worse."

"Both times were textbook trauma reenactments," she continues, "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."

Demi details the encounter that happened when she was a teenager, explaining, "We were hooking up and I said, 'Hey this is not going any further, I'm a virgin and I don't want to lose it this way,' and that didn't matter to them. They did it anyways. I internalized it and I told myself it was my fault because I still went in the room with him, I still hooked up with him." Demi also says she felt the pressure to main a perfect image because she was "part of that Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting 'til marriage" to have sex. 

"F--k it, my #MeToo story is me telling somebody that someone did this to me and they never got in trouble for it," Demi alleges. "They never got taken out of the movie they were in. But I've just kept it quiet because I've always had something to say, and I don't know, I'm tired of opening my mouth. So there's the tea."

She's No Longer Sober

"I've been hesitant to share until now that I've been smoking weed and drinking in moderation," Demi shares in the final episode, revealing she was afraid so share that she wasn't sober "after so many years of being the poster child of sobriety, I didn't want people to criticize me for that."

And she also didn't want other addicts to break their sobriety again because of her, explaining, "Recovery isn't a one size fits all solution."

Demi then explains her decision to no longer be completely sober.

"I've learned that shutting the doors on things makes me want to open the door even more. I've learned that it doesn't work for me to say, 'I'm never going to do this again,'" she says. "I've really, really struggled with this. I'm done with the stuff I know is going to kill me, right? But I wish that I could get some relief maybe through, like, weed or something, and telling myself that I can never have a drink or smoke marijuana, like, I feel like that's setting myself up for failure because I am such a black and white thinker."

While she's confident she will never use heroin again, the "OK to Not Be OK" songstress admits she has to work every day to maintain her mental health. 

"The one slip-up that I ever had with those drugs again, the scariest thing to me was picking up heroin and realizing wow, this isn't strong enough anymore because what I had done the night I overdosed was fentanyl," Demi says, "and that, that's a whole other beast. Realizing the high I wanted would kill me was what I needed to get me clean for good. I have full faith that you're not going to open up TMZ and see another overdose headline. But I also say this with humility that this is a very powerful disease and I am not going to pretend that I am invincible. I have to work every day to make sure that I am in a good place, so I don't go to those things."

The Depths of Her Eating Disorder

The "Skyscraper" singer has been a longtime advocate for those struggling with eating disorders and opens up about her battle with bulimia in the docuseries, revealing it "got so bad I started throwing up blood for the first time" when she was a teenager.

Her struggles continued throughout her career, with her friends admitting they had to watch what they ate around her and Demi's assistant Jordan revealing "there were times I had to spend the night because she had, like, ate a cookie."

In footage from the unreleased 2018 documentary, Demi opens up about the pressure women in the industry feel to look a certain way. "That s—t is the stuff I used to look up to," she says, "and that s—t's really triggering."

Demi then reveals she "started relapsing" in her eating disorder in 2018. "I was already relapsing in it with over-exercising and extreme dieting and I also had people around me that were really policing my food intake and the things that I was eating. I was miserable and I snapped."

Three years later, Demi feels she has "found balance" when it comes to her eating disorder, though she knows "it'll still affect me for the rest of my life, but it's manageable...the voice has gotten so quiet that it no longer rules my life and I no longer feel like I'm in a prison."

One major milestone in her recovery was celebrating her 28th birthday in August 2020 with three cakes after having watermelon "cakes" for eight straight years.

Her Bipolar Disorder

In 2010, at the age of 18, Demi was diagnosed as bipolar and the singer shared her story with the public.

But in Dancing With the Devil, Demi reveals she was "misdiagnosed" at that time and spoke out without seeking a second opinion because she "thought it put a reasoning" behind her actions at the time.

"I was acting out when I was 18 for many reasons, but I know now from multiple different doctors that it was not because I was bipolar," she explains. "And I had to grow up. I had to grow the f--k up."

Her Failed Engagement

Demi surprised everyone in July 2020 when she revealed she was engaged to actor Max Ehrich after the pair first began dating in March, at the beginning of quarantine. Just two months later, however, the couple broke up and their entire relationship took place while filming Dancing With the Devil

In a self-taped video after the breakup, Demi says, "I'm really sad that things ended the way that they did…good news is I haven't picked up any hard drugs or anything like that. I'm hanging in there. Ugh. It's just s--tty." 

But just hours later, she records herself sobbing as she admits, "The video I made earlier wasn't an accurate representation of what I am going through. So I thought this whole time that I didn't miss him, I just miss the person that I started quarantining with. I don't know how to give my heart to someone after this."

While Demi never goes into detail about their breakup, she explains, "Honestly, I think I rushed into something that I thought was what I was supposed to do. I realized as time went on, I didn't actually know the person I was engaged to."

While talking to her friends, Demi claims it was "false advertising" and that social distancing together during the pandemic "accelerated" their romance. 

"The hardest part of the breakup was mourning the person that I thought he was," she says, alluding to Ehrich's actions post-breakup. "I was just as shocked as the rest of the world at some of the things that were said and done."

"Embracing My Queer Self"

While discussing what she learned from her failed engagement, Demi reveals she discovered she "is too queer to marry a man in my life right now" and wants to explore and embrace her sexuality.

"I'm not willing to put a label on it right this second and I think I will get there," she continues. "But there are a lot of things I have to do for myself first. I want to allow myself the ability to live my life in he most authentic form possible, which I just haven't done because of my past and some things that I've needed to work on."

Why She Really Shaved Her Head

In November of last year, Demi made headlines when she debuted her daring makeover, shaving her head and dyeing her hair blonde. But the transformation went far deeper than many realized. 

Explaining her long locks had "represented the femininity that I was always too afraid to let go of," Demi had been thinking of shaving her head for years but "never had the balls to do it" until she began working on herself in 2020. 

"I want to be free of all of that, I want to be free of not only my developmental trauma, but the gender norms that were placed on me as a kid and the sexuality norms that were placed on me by my church," she explains in the final installment. "It's very symbolic of letting go of my past, of letting go of the old me, the part of me that was too afraid to really live my truth."

Her Childhood Trauma

In 2013, Demi's estranged father Patrick Lovato passed away and the Sonny With a Chance star opens up about the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.

"His death was very complicated because we don't know the exact day he died," she says in episode one. "He had been laying there for about a week and a half before anyone found him...that was the fear that I always had for him, that he would end up alone and he did, he died alone."

Explaining she "longed for" a relationship with Patrick growing up, "I resented him because he was an addict and an alcoholic and he was abusive to my mom."

Demi's mother, Dianna De La Garza, appears in the docuseries, revealing Demi "was around for the some of the abuse of my first husband and sometimes I feel like that stayed with her."

Her Best Friend Received Death Threats

"She wasn't involved in all of that."

While Demi's best friend and choreographer Dani Vitale was unaware that the singer was doing heroine, she was with the "Sorry" singer the night of her overdose. Because it was her birthday they were celebrating, Dani ended up becoming the target of Demi's loyal fanbase's rage, revealing she received "four to five thousand death threats" per day at one point.  

"My fans are amazing," Demi says, "they're very passionate, but they're a little out of line sometimes because they want what's best for me but don't always have all the information." Demi encouraged Dani to give an interview for the documentary to tell her side of the story and clear her name. 

"It was laughable for a day or two, not thinking that it would stick and then once it continued to stick for days, weeks, months, a year, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with my whole life," Dani tearfully explains. "I lost all my teaching jobs. No one wanted to bring their kid to an apparent 'heroin-dealer teacher,' I lost any artist that I was working with. They didn't want to deal with the drama. I had to rethink my whole future all because of someone else's decision and that was terrifying."

Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil premieres March 23 on YouTube. Demi's new album, Dancing with the Devil... The Art of Starting Over, will be released on April 2.

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