Demi Lovato has been performing professionally since she was just 8. Almost 20 years later, she's still in the spotlight after years of making headlines for her incredible voice, Disney acting projects and, sadly, her personal troubles. In honor of the star's 26th birthday on Aug. 20, 2018, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the talented star's life in photos.
Demi Lovato was born Demetria Devonne Lovato on Aug. 20, 1992, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the second child of former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Dianna Smith and engineer and musician Patrick Lovato. After her parents' divorce when she was just a toddler, Demi was raised by her mom in Dallas, where she soon took an interest in music and acting. She met her future BFF, Selena Gomez, while performing on "Barney & Friends" between 2002 and 2004. Demi spoke about her time on the show in 2013, telling Cosmopolitan, "At the time, I was just so grateful to be on TV, but I was also really struggling. 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."
RELATED: Selena Gomez's highs and lows
In 2008, Demi Lovato got her big break with the Disney Channel hit TV movie "Camp Rock." She'd been discovered by the Mouse House during an open casting call in Dallas and first starred in a number of Disney comedy shorts called "As the Bell Rings." But with "Camp Rock," Demi achieved meteoric fame alongside the Jonas Brothers in the movie that was one of Disney's most watched original movies. "With 'Camp Rock' we just did what we did, none of us expected things like this," she told The Telegraph almost a year after the premiere. "We all just thought we were making a movie, and none of us realized it would be so huge." She returned for a sequel, "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam," in 2010.
RELATED: Cher's life in photos
Just a few weeks after the premiere of "Camp Rock," Demi Lovato opened for her pals Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas on their "Burnin' Up" tour. Just a few months ahead of the release of her first album, "Don't Forget," which came out on Sept. 23, 2008, Demi made it clear that she was a powerhouse singer with more vocal chops than what fans saw in the Disney Channel original movie.
In late 2008, Demi Lovato made headlines after she showed up at Miley Cyrus' sweet 16 birthday celebration (seen here) with what appeared to be cuts on her wrist. At the time, her publicist chalked the scars up to tight gummy bracelets, but Demi later confessed that she struggled with cutting. "I don't think I would have been ready to talk about [my problems] then, but I could've come up with something better than gummy bracelets," she told Billboard in 2011.
When Demi Lovato hit her first award show red carpet in September 2008 — the MTV Video Music Awards — fans noticed she looked very thin. In 2011, she admitted that she'd struggled with anorexia and bulimia. "I was compulsively overeating when I was 8 years old," she told ABC News' Robin Roberts in 2011. "So I guess for the past 10 years I've had a really unhealthy relationship with food."
For the 2009 Disney Channel original movie "Princess Protection Program," Demi Lovato got the chance to reunite on-screen with her then-BFF and former "Barney & Friends" co-star Selena Gomez (they're seen here at the TV film's premiere). "I met Selena when I was 7 years old when we were queuing up for the 'Barney & Friends' auditions. But this is the first time that we have worked together," Demi told Britain's The Telegraph. "['Princess Protection Program'] was a great movie to make. We shot it in Puerto Rico, so it was like a dual work and vacation for us, which was great."
Demi Lovato quickly churned out a second album, "Here We Go Again," which debuted five days after this photo was snapped at a July 16, 2009, performance in Sacramento, California. Even then, she was already voicing her deep insecurities. "Some days I'll look at a crowd and I'll think, 'Wow, this is so cool. This is just like what the Jonas Brothers were doing last year,'" she told The New York Times in 2009 of her concert audiences. "And then I'll look at a crowd and be like, 'Oh, it's not as much as them.' Some days I get really excited, and some days I get scared because I feel like I have to live up to certain [expectations]."
In 2009, Demi Lovato landed her own Disney Channel show, "Sonny With a Chance," which ran for two seasons. She said goodbye in 2010. "It made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music," the 18 year old told People magazine when asked in 2011 if she'd be back for a third season. "It's kind of sad for me that a chapter of my life has ended, but there couldn't be a better time for me to move on."
After working together on the "Camp Rock" franchise, Demi Lovato and co-star Joe Jonas briefly dated in 2010. In 2017, she shared on YouTube that she fell for him during filming. "This moment — I freaking fell in love with him!" she recalled, watching them kiss on-screen. "We had our first kiss on-camera!" While their relationship made headlines for what felt like much longer, the two only actually dated for about two months. After their split in 2010, Joe (seen with Demi that April) told People magazine, "Demi and I knew going into our romantic relationship that it may not be an easy one … I realize over the time we have shared together that I feel I care more about our friendship right now. It was my choice to break up but I love her as a friend. She's been there for me when I needed her. I will continue to be her friend and be there for her."
Off-camera, Demi Lovato was a devoted sister to half-sibling Madison De La Garza — a child actress who famously played the daughter of Eva Longoria's character on "Desperate Housewives" from 2008 to 2012. The actresses are seen here at Disneynature's Hollywood premiere of "Oceans" on April 17, 2010.
At the end of October 2010, Demi Lovato checked into rehab for the first time. Pictured here in Costa Rica during a press conference just days earlier, she later explained what drove her to seek treatment. In her 2017 YouTube documentary "Simply Complicated," she admitted she'd punched a backup dancer for snitching on her for partying while on a tour of South America with the Jonas Brothers (Demi had been drinking, smoking marijuana and abusing Adderall). "We had trashed the hotel. The hotel was threatening us, they went to some of the dancers and asked what had happened. I think they told on me for using Adderall. Somebody told Kevin Jonas Sr. and [my manager] Phil [McIntyre] and my [step]dad [Eddie De La Garza]," she said. Demi recalled the feeling of disbelief that her drug use was now known. "The next day, I was in a lot of trouble… I remember going to Kevin Sr. and saying, 'Listen, I want to thank whoever told on me, because I know they were just worried about me. I just really want to know who told you.' I manipulated him into telling me who it was."
Shortly after leaving rehab, where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated for an eating disorder, self-harming and drug addiction, Demi Lovato was photographed looking happy in Santa Monica, California, in January 2011. However, she later admitted that following her rehab stint, she went on a two-month bender during which she mixed cocaine and Xanax. She explained in her 2017 YouTube documentary that she was in a bad place again. At one point after using, she confessed, "I started to choke a little bit and my heart started racing. I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, I might be overdosing right now.'"
In 2011, the 19 year old's music hit a new high with the release of "Skyscraper," which landed at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 17 weeks on the chart. Demi Lovato spoke about the single, which she performed on "Dancing With The Stars" in September 2011 (seen here), to E! News, saying, "For me, ['Skyscraper'] was … so symbolic, it being the song I recorded before treatment and yet it was providing a message. It's so crazy the way things played out, that it ended up being my symbol and it represented what I'm trying to spread the word about: getting help and rising above any issues that [I and] my fans are dealing with."
In 2012, Demi Lovato got clean — for real this time — and seized the opportunity to judge "The X Factor" alongside Britney Spears, Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid. On the show, she was able to show a different, passionate and emotional side of herself — she often cried saying goodbye to contestants she grew close with. During judging, Demi — who was then 19 — was committed to her sobriety and living in a sober-living facility with two roommates who were helping her stay clean. Despite her fame and job, she didn't have access to a cell phone during that period, as she revealed in her 2017 documentary.
Demi Lovato and actor Wilmer Valderrama, pictured here in 2013, dated on and off from 2010 to 2016. "He'll never take credit for a lot of my sobriety and my recovery, but I guarantee it, I wouldn't be alive without him today," she told HuffPost Live in 2015 of her 13-years-older love.
Demi Lovato released her fourth studio album, "Demi," on May 10, 2013 (she's seen here at a signing in London a few weeks later). The self-titled effort, which featured the lead single "Heart Attack," entered the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 3 and delivered the highest first-week album sales of the pop star's career. "I always want to make positive music," she told Billboard about the album. "I get sick of listening to the radio and hearing only music that's talking about partying and drinking and getting high. That's not what I do. It's not what I stand for. Maybe a couple years ago I would have loved it, but I'm not the same person I was a few years ago. Now when I listen to the radio, I can't relate to a lot of it."
At the end of 2013, Demi Lovato released the book "Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year," which was an evolution of the inspirational tweets she was regularly sharing at that point. "To me, staying strong is really important. A lot of people have faith, have hope, but now what? How do you continue to be strong? It's about doing things daily and taking care of yourself, and I wanted to show my fans what helped me," she told USA Today. The book was filled with affirmations and daily goals.
In 2014, Demi Lovato continued to open up about her struggles with addiction and mental illness, that year telling Cosmopolitan for Latinas (she's seen here at Cosmo's Fun, Fearless Latina Awards in June), "I was used to drinking and doing drugs on my birthday. I always imagined my 21st being a huge party where I'd get s—-faced and go crazy. But I realized that there's so much more to life than that." She also spoke about managing her bipolar disorder, explaining, "It's a daily thing. I treat it with medication. Not everybody does that, but for me it works. That's what works for me — medicating, checking in with people, being honest and being grateful for things." At the time, she seemed committed to being a role model. "When I was younger, I needed someone in the spotlight to idolize, who stood for positivity and light and happiness, and wanted to change the world. And because I didn't have that, I realized, I want to do that, if only for my 12-year-old little sister [Madison]."
Despite past drama with his brother, Demi Lovato maintained a strong friendship with Nick Jonas, with whom she'd starred in "Camp Rock" and "Camp Rock 2." In 2014, Nick enlisted Demi for his song "Avalanche" and the two performed together a number of times, including at KIIS FM's Jingle Ball in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2014 (seen here). The singers would later co-headline a tour together in 2016.
In 2015, Demi Lovato became immortalized as a wax figure at Madame Tussaud's Hollywood. Just a few months before releasing her fifth studio album, "Confident," — and just three days before celebrating her 23rd birthday — the singer checked out her likeness at the famed Los Angeles tourist spot. A month later, she made headlines for an interview she did with Complex in which she said she and childhood pal Selena Gomez no longer spoke. She then clarified her comments in a tweet, sharing, "Interviews are done months and months before the issue is published. [A] lot can change between then and now. Don't read into the bulls—."
Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama, pictured here in October 2015, split in 2016 after six years of off-and-on dating. "After almost 6 loving and wonderful years together, we have decided to end our relationship," they both wrote on Instagram. "This was an incredibly difficult decision for both of us, but we have realized more than anything that we are better as best friends. We will always be supportive of one another. Thank you to everyone who has offered us kindness and support over the years. With only love, Wilmer & Demi."
In the fall of 2016, Demi Lovato revealed she'd become a co-owner in CAST Centers, the rehab facility where she'd earlier sought treatment, and that she'd brought its CEO, Mike Bayer, on tour with her that summer. Speaking to Glamour later that year, she explained that she wanted to use her fame for good. "When you're an artist, you have a platform that can reach millions. I feel it's selfish when you don't use your voice, because then you're just relishing the attention — you're not using it for good. I have felt uncomfortable having people say, 'You're my idol,' because I want them to idolize God. I want them to idolize somebody that's done a lot," the former Disney star, pictured at the mag's Women of the Year event that November, said. "So I think it's important that artists use their voices for so much more than just their talent."
After splitting with Wilmer Valderrama, Demi Lovato made headlines with two new high-profile romances. In the summer of 2016, she hooked up with Brazilian MMA fighter Guilherme "Bomba" Vasconcelos, moved on briefly with UFC fighter Luke Rockhold that fall (she and Luke are seen here in November 2016), then reconnected with Bomba over the holidays before ultimately splitting with him in May 2017.
Despite all of her chart success and popularity, it wasn't until 2017 that Demi Lovato earned her first Grammy Award nomination. She's seen here at the Grammys in February 2017, where she was up for best pop vocal album for "Confident," which had peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. (She lost to Adele's "25.") "Winning a Grammy is the pinnacle of success as an artist in the music industry so to me it would just be all of my dreams coming true," Demi later told the Recording Academy, making it clear she hoped her future work might land her the coveted prize someday.
Demi Lovato toned down her wild style and ever-changing hair briefly in early 2017 when she attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party that February and had a major fashion moment on the red carpet. The powerhouse singer stunned in a lavender gown by Monique Lhuillier, which earned her a spot on many best dressed lists.
After getting sober, Demi Lovato maintained a very close relationship with CAST Centers CEO Mike Bayer. However, the two — seen here at the UCLA Semel Institute's Biannual Open Mind Gala in Beverly Hills in March 2017 — reportedly parted ways as friends and colleagues in mid-2018. Demi unfollowed Mike on Instagram and appeared to shade him, tweeting, "Good luck on your blog," after he vlogged about celebrities. "My biggest pet peeve is when they use excuses because they call themselves 'artists,' " Mike had said on Instagram. "I'm here today to explain to you that being an artist and being talented are two different things. To me being an artist is living your authentic life. I believe everyone out there is an artist. I think if somebody uses it as an excuse to be late, or insincere, or rude, or unapologetic, that's not being an artist. That's being a jerk. And you shouldn't stand for that."
Demi Lovato hit another peak with her business endeavors when she partnered with Fabletics to launch capsule collections with the workout brand. "I went to the Met Gala for the first time last year and I remember feeling kind of like, 'I don't know why I am here' because I wear workout clothes every day," she explained to WWD. "And my manager said, 'Why don't we do something that's more authentic to you?' and then this came about." In September 2017, Demi visited a Fabletics location in Texas to promote her second collection with the Kate Hudson-fronted brand.
Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato reunited at the third annual InStyle Awards in Los Angeles on Oct. 23, 2017. Fans went wild as the two seemed to be in a great place. A week earlier, Demi's YouTube documentary premiered, and Selena had commented about it on her old pal's Instagram, writing, "This was beautiful. I'm so happy for you. You always continue to [be] bold and real. I wish more people were like you. Love you."
Demi Lovato posed with stepdad Eddie De La Garza, sisters Dallas Lovato and Madison De La Garza and mom Dianna De La Garza at a signing of Dianna's book, "Falling with Wings: A Mother's Story," at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles on March 8, 2018. The book chronicles Dianna's painful past as an abuse survivor at the hands of Demi and Dallas' late biological father, Patrick, who died from cancer in 2013 — as well as the addiction battles she and her elder daughters have waged in recent years.
In recent years, Demi Lovato has used her fame to promote causes that matter to her. Beyond her work advocating for mental health awareness and addiction treatment, she's worked to get out the Latino vote and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. In March 2018, she performed at the March For Our Lives event in Washington D.C., a rally advocating for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018.
In June 2018, Demi Lovato (seen here performing in London that month) released a new song titled "Sober," on which she confessed that after six years of clean living, she'd fallen off the wagon. She was widely praised for her honest lyrics in which she sang, "Mama, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore / And daddy please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor / To the ones who never left me, we've been down this road before / I'm so sorry, I'm not sober anymore."
Demi Lovato shared this selfie, revealing a new blonde look, on July 20, 2018 — four days before she suffered a drug overdose in her Hollywood Hills home that led to a nearly two-week hospitalization. Reports soon emerged claiming that Demi had rebuffed her team's efforts to get her help weeks earlier during a failed intervention. But on July 26, another report claimed she'd had a change of heart and planned to enter rehab when doctors released her from the hospital. On Aug. 5 — one day after she entered an out-of-state rehab facility — Demi spoke out for the first time since her OD to thank God as well as her fans, family, professional team and the doctors and nurses who saved her life, explaining in a lengthy statement, "I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting." On Aug. 14, TMZ reported the cause of her OD: Sources claimed Demi and her drug dealer had freebased oxycodone laced with fentanyl.
Demi Lovato returned to Los Angeles in November 2018 after completing a three-month out-of-state rehab program. In her first post-treatment post on social media, she chose to urge fans to participate in the midterm elections "I am so grateful to be home in time to vote! One vote can make a difference, so make sure your voice is heard!🗳 🇺🇸 now go out and #VOTE!!!!" she captioned this photo. The next day, TMZ reported that Demi not only had a sober companion with her "24/7" but had chosen to live in a sober house part-time upon her return to Hollywood so that she would have lots of support as she continued her recovery.