When I came home from class tonight to the devastating news that Disney starlet and Rants of a Diva fave Demi Lovato had left her current tour with the Jonas Brothers to admit herself into a treatment center to address "physical and emotional issues," I had quite mixed emotions about the whole affair. On one hand, the suddenness and severity of the news caught me completely off guard. Usually, an inevitable announcement like this comes in stages after weeks or even months of erratic behavior reported vociferously by the press. I was around during the glory days of Brit's and Lindsay's (early) meltdowns, so I'm well aware of how these things are usually handled in the press. But Disney must have been working overtime trying to cover all the tracks because this announcement totally blind sided everyone.
On the other hand, when you sit down and think about it after the initial shock has passed, the news is not that surprising. Of the three main Disney girls (Miley & Selena being the other two), I've always thought of Demi as the goddess of the House of Mouse: beautiful, talented, friendly yet not entirely knowable. She's put on this pedestal for all to admire yet I have always gotten the sense that there was more to her than her public persona ever gave away, a sadness that she had to keep hidden. And, ironically, this makes her the most human of the three girls. Negative, hateful press affected her more than anyone; Selena is far too "new" to the mainstream while Miley has been dealing with it longer and has developed a thick skin. The never ending stress of being a highly valuable Disney star certainly took its toll on her. I remember reading her Twitter during the summer of '09 when she was shooting Camp Rock 2 and she was lamenting about how exhausted she was by her non-stop schedule. This is probably something every celebrity has done from time to time, especially with the advent of Twitter, but there was a note of desperate sadness that I've never forgotten. Plus, you can't forget that this is a woman who was shooting a movie in Toronto while on a hiatus from a nationwide, headlining tour while in the midst of promoting her sophomore album who, after the movie wrapped, would go right back to her tour and then rush back to make more episodes of her sitcom. Add to that the fact that she was only 16 or 17 at the time and her exhaustion makes perfect sense. Child stars never have it easy and it takes an incredibly strong person to weather half the shit many of the Disney stars of today have to go through.
If nothing else, the one event that catapulted Demi to the mainstream quicker than anything else was the announcement that she and Joe Jonas had taken their friendship to a whole new level. From the start, the relationship smelled fishy, and, sure enough, the relationship lasted mere months; Demi and Joe, however, assured everyone that they would remain professional. While I would never question Demi's professionalism, I did wonder how exactly she would react in public about the whole ordeal. Although she hasn't gone quite as far as Taylor Swift in talking about her relationships in public, we can't forget that this is the same woman who, after being asked how her best friend at the time Selena Gomez was doing, quipped "Ask Taylor [Swift]" with a sarcastic grin on her face. She got a good one in on Joe during this concert in Brazil, but for all her apparent bitterness, you know the whole ordeal hurt her more than she let on. You can only be so tough for so long. And when your ex is flaunting his new girlfriend (Joe has been apparently dating Twilight star Ashley Greene for a month or so) in front of your face, and you're stuck with him for months on end, that has to be next to impossible to deal with.
When the news of Demi entering a treatment facility first broke, the speculation about the reasons for her entering was rampant. Was it drugs? Mental illness? An alleged fight she got into while on tour? Finally, the apparent causes reared their ugly head and it was even sadder than anyone imagined: self-mutilation and an eating disorder stemming from her long history of being bullied. She's often spoken out against bullying, admitting that she was bullied so severely in middle school she had to leave to get home schooled. The fact that she's been so traumatized by this that she is still dealing with it years later, and in unhealthy ways, is heartbreaking. I wish Demi a speedy recovery, but I don't want to see her until she is back to 100%. None of this Lindsay Lohan bullshit, spending 30 days in recovery, telling everyone "I'm fine" and then back to your old habits. I don't care how long it takes. I just want my Demi happy and healthy. We love you, gurl, and have nothing but positive energy for you.