Demi Lovato Reveals How Becoming the "Breadwinner" as a Teen Affected Family Dynamics

Demi Lovato and Drew Barrymore recently opened up about "the parent-child dynamic" they both experienced as they skyrocketed to fame at a young age and became the money-makers for their family.

By Alyssa Morin Jun 02, 2021 11:24 PMTags
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You can always count on Demi Lovato to keep it real. 

The pop star, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, recently spoke to Drew Barrymore about how their childhood stardom affected their family dynamics. And it's certainly a topic the Charlie's Angels actress can relate to as she not only grew up in the public eye, but also had a strained relationship with her parents.

"I noticed that when I came into the spotlight at a young age, and then was the breadwinner...there wasn't a manual for my parents to read and it say, 'Here's what to do to raise a child star,'" Demi candidly shared on the 4D With Demi Lovato podcast on Wednesday, June 2.

"They didn't get that," the "Anyone" singer continued. "So when they would try to ground me at 17, I would say, 'I pay the bills.' And I cringe now when I think about that attitude. But when the world is putting you on a pedestal, you kind of think that you could do no wrong. As I've gotten older, I see my parents just as big kids themselves."

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While the 50 First Dates actress could connect with Demi, she also brought up an interesting perspective.

Drew responded, "I don't think it's the world and the pedestal. I think it's the parent-child dynamic that gets completely reversed."

"And," she went on, "no wonder you won't take an order from an authority figure who's no longer an authority figure because you've now reduced them down with finances and responsibilities."


The Drew Barrymore Show host explained that becoming a mother opened her eyes to "how little I understood what boundaries were." She shares two daughters, Olive, 8, and Frankie, 7, with her ex-husband, Will Kopelman.

"When you're a parent," she began. "You try to compensate with so much love and you're almost afraid to get into the argument. Sometimes, you're just trying to survive the day, so you let things slide, and then you're like, 'There should've been a boundary in that place probably a while ago, but I guess I'm only realizing that now.'"

The award-winning actress then detailed her tempestuous relationship with her mother, Jaid Barrymore.

"I didn't know I was angry at my mom. I didn't know I resented her," Drew shared. "I also then felt so much guilt as if my inability to make a relationship with this woman work was literally the most cruel and f--ked thing I'd ever done in my life."

"I, for 20 or 30 years, felt toxic inside that I had to keep separating myself from her to gain autonomy and a structure and boundaries...and learn everything on my own," she explained. "I realized that her and I were friends. We were not parent and child. Therefore, I had to completely relearn what [the] parent-child dynamic is. I couldn't have a relationship with her until I figured that out for myself, and could come to her as a woman."

The Hollywood veteran said she and her mother are in a "really good place" now.

But because of their past, Drew pointed out that she maintains a certain dynamic with her daughters.

"I told my own kids, I will never be your friend," she admitted, to which Demi laughed and nodded in agreement. "Like, I'm your parent. I'm not your friend. You can be friendly and do activities, it's not that it has to be this strict relationship."

The Grammy singer replied, "But you know what? That's how it's supposed to be."

Watch Demi and Drew's candid conversation in the video above.