On Saturday, Demi Lovato opened up about struggling with an eating disorder and being “overworked” while working on her Disney Channel show, Sonny with a Chance. The details came during a virtual reunion with the series’s castmates, including Sterling Knight, Tiffany Thornton, Allisyn Ashley Arm, Audrey Whitby, Doug Brochu, Shayne Topp, Matthew Scott Montgomery, and Damien Haas.
Lovato, who left the series in 2011 to enter a treatment facility, said costar Thornton inspired her. “When I went away to treatment for the first time, you were my biggest inspiration coming out of it because you dealt with all of those pressures of being a woman on TV,” she told her fellow castmate. “I probably was happier in my head with whatever I looked like at the time. But I’m so much happier now with the mentality that you have. I look back and it and I’m like, ‘Man, it’s a shame that we wasted any energy on what we wore on set.'”
She later explained why she didn’t return to the show for its third season. “I just wasn’t in a period of time when I was ready to be on camera again. I could not go back into that environment, and there were other things that factored into it.”
“People step away and they think, ‘Oh, what happened to so-and-so? They fell off,’ or whatever,” continued Lovato. “And it’s like, ‘No. Sometimes, I just choose to live a happier and healthier life.’ And I’m realizing that as I’ve gotten older, because when I was young, when you start off in the industry as a seven-year-old, eight-year-old, whatever, you kind of value your self-worth with your success.”
Later during the call, Thornton joked that Lovato’s dressing room hit “98 degrees every day.” The singer replied, “Because I had an eating disorder and I was underweight and freezing. … I would have people over for meetings on my lunch breaks, because that’s how much I worked. People would come in and I’d be covered in a blanket on the couch and they were like, ‘Why is it 80 degrees in here?’ I would be like, ‘Because I’m freezing.’ They would be like, ‘Oh, my God, what’s wrong with you?'”
The amount of stress she was under took a toll on her, she added. “I was so miserable and angry, too, because I felt like I was being overworked.”
Still, the negative experiences haven’t outweighed the love she holds for her Sonny with a Chance castmates. “I love all of you guys so much,” she said. “I went through so much during that show that I would rather just start a whole new project with all of you.”
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