Her music dominates radio airwaves, and her fans pack concert halls.
Demi Lovato’s rise comes after successfully battling substance abuse, bulimia and depression. She now speaks out on mental health issues, and has become co-owner of CAST, the L.A. treatment center where she got help.
Pictured: Demi Lovato performs onstage during the Vevo CERTIFIED SuperFanFest at Barkar Hangar on October 8, 2014 in Santa Monica, Calif.
Demi Lovato backstage with Tracy Smith promo
“The way that I was headed, I definitely would have lost my life,” she told CBS News’ Tracy Smith. “And that’s why when I say my biggest accomplishment is having beaten my addiction, it was definitely going to take my life. And that’s the reason why I knew I needed to stop. And so, I got sober.”
Pictured: Lovato with Smith backstage at the Washington, D.C., stop on Lovato’s 44-city tour.
Demi Lovato with Barney with inset
Born in Albuquerque, N.M., in 1992, Demi Lovato made her debut in the cast of the children’s series “Barney & Friends.”
“What was going through that little girl’s head?” Smith asked.
“I don’t know -- what my next line was? What the next dance move was!” Lovato laughed. “’Barney’ was really interesting for me, it was fun. I was about 8 years old when I shot the show, 8 and 9 years old, and there were about 12 kids in the cast. But every day, you show up to work with about 150 adults. And I started to gravitate more towards adults than kids my age.
“So when I went back to school, I had been used to being around adults rather than anybody my age. And it kind of made me feel more like an outsider when I got back to school. It just made me grow up really fast, I think.”
“I left public school because the bullying got so bad, and started home schooling. It was kind of before people really started talking about the issues that are going on in today’s society, the effect that it has on people, the cyberbullying. It’s something that is just so toxic and it has such a huge impact on people who are still in school, trying to figure out who they are.”
What did they do in Lovato’s case? “There was a petition that went around the school for me to kill myself. And a bunch of people signed it saying, ‘Yeah, we hope you follow through with this.’ So it was, like, very mean things. Things that kind of make you sick to your stomach when you think about the fact that that actually happens at schools. And there was also in the bathroom ‘Demi’s hate wall’ - nasty bathroom wall names that a 12-year-old couldn’t possibly be. I dealt with that, but that ended up making me a stronger person. I still deal with sometimes trusting people, especially girls. Sometimes I have my guard up when it comes to girls ‘cause I know what they’re capable of.”
Pictured: Demi Lovato arrives at Chevy Rocks The Future at the Buena Vista Lot at The Walt Disney Studios on February 19, 2008 in Burbank, California.
Lovato starred in the Disney Channel film “Camp Rock” (2008), and in 2009 released her film album, “Don’t Forget,” which went gold.
Her subsequent albums - “Here We Go Again,” “Unbroken,” “Demi” and “Confident” - were also all certified gold.
Pictured: Actress Demi Lovato arrives at Nickelodeon’s 2009 Kids’ Choice Awards at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on March 28, 2009 in Westwood, California.
Lovato performs at The Nokia on July 17, 2009 in Los Angeles.
She told Tracy Smith her mental health issues began at a very early age with overeating. “And then I went from overeating to restricting and purging and misusing laxatives, also over-exercising. Basically just in this spiral of self-destructive behaviors when it came to food.”
“And this was coupled with bipolar disorder that wasn’t diagnosed at the time?” Smith asked.
“Yeah, I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder until I was about 18. I had shown signs of depression as far as seven years old. I think that once I was able to get a diagnosis of being bipolar, it felt like a relief to me and I was able to learn how to manage that, which in turn, made me not really feel the need to cope with self-destructive behaviors.”
New York City
Pictured: Demi Lovato performs her first live show in almost a year at Hammerstein Ballroom on September 17, 2011 in New York City.
Pictured: Demi Lovato performs onstage during 93.3 FLZs Jingle Ball 2014 at Amalie Arena on December 22, 2014 in Tampa, Florida.
“I think that anytime that someone has an addiction or an eating disorder, there is some sort of underlying problem that - whether it’s caused [by] a mental illness, or from trauma - there’s always something that’s not dealt with that needs to be figured out. And that’s the first step in trying to figure out the solution.”
“I went into rehab, and [at first] rehab didn’t really do what I needed it to do for me, and that’s why I found CAST. I was in-patient with CAST in their sober living for over a year. Now I am about four years sober which feels incredible.”
Pictured: Demi Lovato performs onstage at The Daytime Village during the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the Las Vegas Village on September 19, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Singer Demi Lovato performs onstage during the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
“I’ve had people come up to me and tell me how it’s affected them. I’ve also had people come up to me and tell me how it’s affected their best friend, their sister, their brother, their child. And that, to me, is so much more impactful hearing it from somebody that loves them and has been able to witness the struggles that somebody has been through.
“But when somebody tells me, ‘You’ve changed my life and you’ve helped me overcome my struggles as well,’ that means so much to me. It’s almost unfathomable because when somebody says, ‘You’ve changed my life or you’ve saved my life,’ you know, they’ve saved their own lives. But if I had anything to do with it, I’m very, very grateful.”
Smith asked, “Do you think you’re more confident now than you used to be?”
“Yeah, absolutely. I think that once I started learning who I was and what I had to offer to the world, that’s when I gained a new confidence that I had never had before.”
Elton John performs “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Demi Lovato February 5, as well as classic hits, on January 13th at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
“It takes me a while to figure out, you know, why did God put me through that? What did I have to learn? And you know, ultimately everything that I’ve been through has made me a stronger person, so it’s all happened for a reason.”
Singer Demi Lovato arrives at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, February 15, 2016.
Demi Lovato arrives on the red carpet for the 58th Annual Grammy music Awards in Los Angeles February 15, 2016.
Demi Lovato performs “Hello” during a medley honoring Recording Academy Person of the Year Lionel Richie at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 15, 2016.
From left: John Legend, Demi Lovato, Lionel Richie, Meghan Trainor, Tyrese Gibson, and Luke Bryan perform onstage during the 58th Annual Grammy music Awards in Los Angeles February 15, 2016.
Recording artists Iggy Azalea and Demi Lovato attend the iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on April 3, 2016 in Inglewood, California.
“Recently, the way that I’ve been writing is I do a lot of poetry, so I’ll just let my mind kind of flow and just take over, and just write a ton of poetry. I’m able to write anywhere. I can write on the toilet, in the shower -- well, okay, maybe not in the shower because I have to be on my phone! Sometimes I have gotten out of the shower frustrated, like, ‘I just wanna finish my shower!’ I’m in a hurry and I have shampoo in my hair, but getting in and out of the shower because I have thoughts that I need to write down.”
New York City
Demi Lovato attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City.
Recording artist Demi Lovato performs on stage during 102.7 KIIS FM’s 2016 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 14, 2016 in Carson, California.
Singer Demi Lovato performs “Cool For The Summer” on stage at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 22, 2016.
“I hope my music reaches to the person that is crying in their bed in the middle of the night, has no one to talk to, but knows that they can put on my music to help them get through, whether they’re being bullied or they’re going through a breakup. I want people to know that they have somebody there for them. ‘Cause music was something that got me through being bullied and through some of the darkest moments of my life, even being in treatment and being able to listen to music that helped me get through it. Music does something for people that’s magical. And if I can be a part of that in inspiring somebody, either to be a better version of themselves or a musician, that’s what I want to do.”
Singer Demi Lovato arrives at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 22, 2016.
Recording artist Demi Lovato performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
New York City
Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas perform during the “Future Now” tour at the Barclays Center on July 8, 2016 in New York City.
Demi Lovato performs at TD Garden on July 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Singer Demi Lovato rehearses before the start of the at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016.
Speaking on stage, Lovato said, “Like millions of Americans I’m living with mental illness. ... I stand here today as proof that you can live a normal and empowered life with mental illness.”
Singer Demi Lovato on stage at the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia.
“I’ve stayed very close with CAST since I started my program with them. And ever since then, they’ve changed the way that I have been able to function in society with my addiction and my bipolar disorder. So it was only a natural step for me to continue to work with them. And also, it’s cool to see other people, too. I have a friend of mine, we actually went to sober living together and now she runs one of the departments at CAST. So it’s success stories like that that make me really happy to be a part of it.
Her goal, she told Smith, “is to change lives and to help people,
you know? That’s the ultimate goal.”
Demi Lovato performs at TD Garden on July 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.
For more info:
CAST Centers, Los Angeles
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan