Singer Demi Lovato is showing some major vulnerability and candor in her harrowing new YouTube docuseries Dancing with the Devil, which details the lead-up and aftermath of her near-fatal 2018 overdose.
The four-part documentary premiered at the virtual South by Southwest festival Tuesday night (Mar. 16, 2021). The first two episodes will stream for free on YouTube March 23, and new episodes will be released weekly on each of the next two Tuesdays.
And on April 2, Lovato will release her first new album since 2017, Dancing with the Devil … The Art of Starting Over, which she described as a “non-official soundtrack to the documentary” in a Clubhouse livestream with fans Monday night.
The 28-year-old reveals she was sexually assaulted by her drug dealer the night she suffered the near-fatal overdose.
“I didn’t just overdose. I was taken advantage of,” she says on the docuseries. “When they found me, I was naked, blue. I was literally left for dead after he took advantage of me,” she goes on recalling. “When I woke up in the hospital, they asked if we had had consensual sex. There was one flash that I had of him on top of me. I saw that flash and I said ‘yes.’ “
Demi, however, later realized that she wasn’t in condition to agree to sex at the time. “It wasn’t until a month after the overdose that I realized, ‘You weren’t in any state of mind to make a consensual decision,’ ” she claims.
Demi’s friend Sirah Mitchell explains that the 28-year-old star was given heroin “laced with fentanyl” that night. Sirah adds in the documentary, “He also ended up getting her really high and leaving her for dead.”
Demi says it wasn’t the first time she became a sexual assault victim. “When I was a teenager, I was in a very similar situation. I lost my virginity in a rape,” she recalls. While acknowledging she and her alleged attacker had been “hooking up” at the time, the singer says she had made clear she hadn’t been “ready” to lose her virginity.
“I was part of that Disney crowd that publicly said they were waiting until marriage. I didn’t have the romantic first time,” Demi elaborates. “That was not it for me – that sucked. Then I had to see this person all the time so I stopped eating and coped in other ways.”
Demi says she revealed what had happened to her to adults, but her alleged attacker “never got in trouble for it.” She claims, “They never got taken out of the movie they were in. I always kept it quiet because I’ve always had something to say. I don’t know, I’m tired of opening my mouth. Here’s the tea.”
The “Give Your Heart a Break” songstress then attempted to “take control” by getting in contact with her abusers to do it “her way,” but it only made her “feel worse.” She recounts, “I called that person back a month later and tried to make it right by being in control. All it did was make me feel worse.”
Of how she dealt with the trauma she faced from both experiences, Demi shares, “Both times were textbook trauma re-enactments, and I really beat myself up for years which is why I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact it was a rape when it happened.”
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil will be released on YouTube starting March 23.