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Demi Lovato was suicidal at 7 years old

Demi Lovato says the problems that have reared their ugly heads in recent years actually go much further back — like deep into her childhood.

Demi Lovato Cosmo August 2013

What happened to Demi Lovato? The former Disney star has suffered her share of personal problems in recent years but has come through the other side more successful than ever. What brought her down in the first place?

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, The X Factor judge said her problems surfaced before she even booked her first major gig on Barney and hints at the kind of seedy exploitation that many child stars suffer.

“At the time, I was just so grateful to be on TV, but I was also really struggling,” she told the mag. “Looking back, there was a connection, probably between any kid who’s ever sang that song to Barney, a little place in a child’s heart, a void, that could be filled. And maybe Barney fills it.”

“Even before Barney, I was suicidal. I was 7. With Barney, I guess subliminally, I did have a relationship with this figure that was saving my life in a way… I’ve talked about being bullied and the years of being a teenager, but I went through things when I was younger that I’ve never talked about that probably caused me to turn out the way I ended up turning out.”

Lovato, who spent time in rehab to deal with personal issues and admitted to having an eating disorder and Bipolar II as well as cutting and drug use, hints at something very dark in her past — something she isn’t ready to talk about. Her song “Warrior” dances around her terrible secret: “There’s a part of me I can’t get back/ A little girl grew up too fast/ All it took was once, I’ll never be the same/ Now I’m taking back my life today.”

While fans can speculate by reading between the lines, she said she isn’t ready to spell it out quite yet.

“My family knows what it’s about. When I’m ready to open up that subject with the outside world, then I’ll be free to talk about it. But right now, it’s kind of one of those things where the lyrics speak for me. It’s all in the song.”

Now that she has put years between herself and whatever it was that happened, she said she has the clarity to use her experience to help others who are hurting.

“I’m not super religious, but I grew up Christian and I believe in God,” she explained. “When I’m in L.A., I don’t talk about it that much because people are very judgmental, but I just feel like God gave me a voice, not just to sing with. He put me through those things, which seemed horrible at the time, but they were so worth it. With the obstacles I’ve overcome, I can help people.”

Read the complete interview with Demi Lovato in the August issue of Cosmopolitan, available on newsstands July 9.

Image courtesy Matt Jones/Cosmopolitan

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