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Demi Lovato says her team once ‘barricaded’ her in a hotel room to control her diet

Demi Lovato recalled an incident in which she was “barricaded” in her hotel room by her team just a year before her near-fatal drug overdose.

The 30-year-old singer was a guest on the show Call her daddy Wednesday, where she opened up about her history of mental illness, eating disorders and substance abuse, dating back to when she began struggling as a young teenager. Although she underwent treatment for these issues on several occasions — and shared this information with the public — Lovato revealed that it was more difficult to get the help she needed when she was managed by the wrong people.

Demi Lovato remembers how much control her team had over her diet.  (Photo: Getty Images)Demi Lovato remembers how much control her team had over her diet.  (Photo: Getty Images)

Demi Lovato remembers how much control her team had over her diet. (Photo: Getty Images)

“There was one time where I binged and purged one night and I came clean to my team and said, ‘Hey, that happened.’ I snuck out of my hotel room because they wouldn’t let me have a phone in my hotel room because they didn’t want me to call room service, I didn’t have one food in my hotel room like snacks in the minibar because they didn’t want me to eat the snacks,” she explained. “After I told them what happened, my security guard walked past my room or was informed that they had built, they barricaded me in my hotel room. They placed furniture outside my door so I couldn’t sneak out and eat if I wanted to. So it was this level of control over my food that only made my eating disorder worse.

Management’s role in restricting the singer’s diet was confirmed by former television host Ellen DeGeneres when DeGeneres recalled that the on-set dressing room was cleared of all sugar when Lovato made an appearance.

Lovato went on to say that even when she directly asked for help, her requests were denied.

“One time I said, ‘I’m vomiting blood. I need treatment, I need help.’ And it was like 2017 and this person looked at me and said, “You’re not sick enough and I think that was their way of saying, “No, you’re not taking it back.” treatment because if you do it, it’ll make me look bad.’ And so I didn’t do it,” Lovato told podcast host Alex Cooper. “I didn’t go back on treatment and you know, less than a year later, I ended up overdosing. And so I think it was like I felt trapped.”

The singer suffered three strokes and a heart attack during her July 2018 overdose, which was revealed as she detailed the traumatic episode in her documentary series Dancing With the Devil. On the podcast, she explained that it was her way of coping with the abuse she was experiencing.

“I felt like I couldn’t get out of that situation and my way of blowing it all out was to relapse into drugs and alcohol because they always said, ‘If you use, we’re out.’ And I was like, ‘All right, it’s time to go out, bye,'” she said. “I learned a lot from that experience, like no one could control me anymore and I was under control from 18 to 25 and those are years where you’re trying to figure out your adult life. You’re not anymore a teenager, but for some reason people were controlling everything I ate.”

Lovato went on to say, “I would even go so far as to say there was an element of brainwashing to it, you totally felt like if I don’t listen to this person who knows so much about recovery, I’m I’m going to lose everything.”

She also recalls being told to fire one of her chefs after her team discovered that the chef had told Lovato that her bank statements had been scrutinized to track what she ordered at Starbucks “to s “Make sure you’re not getting like cookies or pastries or things like that,” the chef told Lovato. “And when I found out, I told them (that I knew), and then they told me, ‘We don’t like your leader.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, you realize she’s the one who told me that.'”

Lovato’s 2021 song “Melon Cake” touches on the limits placed on her by her team when it comes to food as she sang about people “getting fired for chocolate in the backseat.” The song’s title also referred to the watermelon “cake” her team served her every year on her birthday, which she also discussed with DeGeneres during a 2020 appearance.

His latest album Holy shitreleased August 19, hints at other aspects of Lovato’s life that she continues to heal from, including her long relationship with actor Wilmer Valderrama, who was 12 years her senior.

“I think I’ve been through a lot of trauma in my life and there’s a persistence, a determination in me,” Lovato said. “My professional decisions were always made for me and now I found my voice, no one can ever do that to me again and I feel empowered by what I went through because I had to grow up and I had to learn to accept that I’m my own boss.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, call National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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