Demi Lovato’s ‘Biggest Inspiration’ During Rehab Is a ‘Sunny With a Chance’ Co-Star

Demi Lovato is back. After her battle with addiction and mental health, it seems like she’s finally on the right track. She’s acting again, and this year she proved she could be on stage again, too. Lovato sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and the moment was triumphant. It was the perfect way for her to return to the entertainment business after her last rehab stay in 2018.

Lovato recently participated in a virtual reunion with her old Disney Channel castmates. When the Sonny with a Chance crew got back together, Lovato reflected on how her past influenced her mental state, and who inspired her while she was in rehab. 

Demi Lovato smiling, holding a microphone, sitting down
Demi Lovato | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Demi Lovato says being a child star led to her mental health struggles 

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A lot of child stars experience addiction and other mental health issues later in life. In fact, there aren’t a lot of child stars who are able to continue in the entertainment business into adulthood. Lovato may have pinpointed what it is about being a child actor that makes good mental health such a difficult thing to attain. 

According to Lovato, starting young in the entertainment business, or any business changes a person’s perception of their self-worth. “I’m realizing that as I’ve gotten older… when you start off in the industry as a 7-year-old, 8-year-old, you kind of value your self-worth with your success.”

Lovato herself struggled with her self image and even developed an eating disorder. 

The stress of work pushed Demi Lovato over the edge

Lovato was constantly worrying about what she wore while she was on TV in her younger years. Her obsession with her body later led to an eating disorder. She overworked herself in an attempt to be successful. As Lovato said, her self-worth felt tied to her success. 

That drive to be successful meant Lovato never took a break. “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 and people would say, ‘Why is it 80 degrees in here?’ I would be like, ‘Because I’m freezing.'” 

Lovato was cold all the time because she had a dangerous eating disorder. That disorder, along with depression and self-harm issues, would lead to her first rehab stay at age 18, in 2011. Then, in 2018, a drug overdose brought her back to rehab with substance abuse issues. 

Ex-Actress Tiffany Thornton was Demi Lovato’s biggest inspiration in rehab 

During her chat with her ex-co-stars, Lovato revealed how much Tiffany Thornton inspired her. Thornton starred in Sonny with a Chance alongside Lovato. She’s slightly older, but not by much. Thornton is 34, and Lovato is 27. Still, Thornton had a completely different attitude toward fame. That attitude is something Lovato has been able to learn from. 

According to Lovato, Thornton did not have the same struggle with body image while on the set of Sonny with a Chance. The older woman never seemed to care much what she wore, and didn’t put much effort into being famous. In fact, Thornton retired from the entertainment business and is now raising a family in Texas. Lovato says that bowing out is something she considered after seeing how happy her friend is now. 

Thornton retired in 2015 and is living a relaxing life on a farm, as reported by PageSix. Lovato was able to bring some of her energy to her most recent TV appearance. Earlier this year Lovato filmed a few episodes of Will and Grace, and she brought Thornton’s attitude into the wardrobe with her. “I went to Will & Grace this season, and I literally spent 10 minutes in the wardrobe room. Now, I’m like … ‘this doesn’t matter. What I’m wearing does not matter.'”