Demi Lovato Shares How Being Bullied in Seventh Grade Led to Her Eating Disorder

Demi Lovato got very candid while appearing on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. While sitting down with Rogan, Lovato opened up about her life, career, new YouTube documentary, drug addiction, and her experience with bullying when she was a kid.

During the podcast, the singer discussed the torment she endured at the hands of girls her own age while in school, noting that being bullied ultimately sparked her years-long struggle with an eating disorder.

Demi Lovato at iHeartRadio Jingle Ball in 2017
Demi Lovato attending iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball in 2017 | Robin Marchant/FilmMagic

Demi Lovato endured bullying in school as a kid

Lovato has been open about her experience with bullies over the years. Now, she’s going more in-depth on the negative effects that torment had on her, which she carried into her adult life.

While appearing on a March 27 episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the “Sorry Not Sorry” hitmaker got real about being bullied as a teen, sharing that people were incredibly mean to her in school.

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“I went to public school, and experienced bullying pretty bad while I was there,” Lovato shared. “I went into a really depressive state for a period of time.”

She continued, “When you’re 12 and you’re bullied, that’s your social life. I felt like I didn’t have much to look forward to anymore except for my music.”

When Rogan asked if her television career was why she was getting mistreated, Lovato explained that there’s no straight answer.

“So it all started when I wrote a note. I called someone, this other girl annoying, and said she was being a b*tch,” the singer recalled. “And then that escalated to, by the end of the day, it was like that scene in the lunchroom when everyone just looks at you. The thing was that the girls I wrote that about were the popular girls and so, it just like, anyone who wanted to be popular took their side. “

Demi Lovato’ internalized’ the negative things her bullies said about her

Eventually, Lovato confronted her bullies, but when she tried to get to the bottom of why they were treating her that way, she was met with words that lived with her for years.

“I had a concert that weekend on a military base and when I came back, it had just increased,” the Disney Channel alum explained. “When I asked them, ‘why are you guys doing this? I wrote a note, we all write notes we’re in seventh grade, that’s what we do,’ they were just like ‘you’re a wh*re and you’re fat.’ So I internalized what they were saying, and that’s when my eating disorder developed.”

Lovato’s eating disorder continued until she checked into rehab at the age of 18, according to Shape magazine.

Though she’s since accepted her body, Lovato still struggled with the disorder, which eventually led her down a dark path.

“I lived a life for the past six years that I felt wasn’t my own,” she said on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March 2020. “I struggled really hard with an eating disorder, yes, and that was my primary problem. Then it turned into other things.”

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She continued, “My life, it just felt it was so, and I hate to use this word, but I felt like it was controlled by so many people in my life.”

Demi Lovato tried making amends with the main girl who bullied her

During their discussion, Rogan asked Lovato if she ever ran into her bullies after leaving public school. Though she says she’s hasn’t seen any of them, Lovato revealed that she once reached out “the main girl” who bullied her as part of her recovery process.

“When I got sober, a part of the program they teach you on your ninth step is you make amends,” she explained. “You make a list and write down everyone you’ve had a resentment against your entire life. Her name was on it… So I called her and she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you remember who I am.'”

She continued, “I just like sat there and was like ‘cool, I think this concludes the end of this phone call. Sorry, and wish you well.”

According to Lovato, she and her bully never discussed their past as the girl was only interested in knowing about her life as a celebrity.

But despite not getting closure from her bully, Lovato doesn’t take it to heart as she’s since realized that her past treatment was a learning experience.

“It was just wild. But you look back at times like that and those were my teachers,” she said. “So even though I used to resent that person for many years, I look at that time in my life I’m like, ‘well, I needed to learn those lessons and it is what it is. Can’t change the past.”