Demi Lovato struggled to read, drive after stroke

Demi Lovato details the extent of her strokes after her 2018 drug overdose in the docuseries "Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/7f244a63b7c7c6d18b98caf4f615bb2c/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Demi Lovato details the extent of her strokes after her 2018 drug overdose in the docuseries "Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, March 16 (UPI) -- The docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which premieres Tuesday at South by Southwest, reveals the extent of the singer's 2018 overdose. Lovato told the Television Critics Association in a Zoom panel that the overdose caused three strokes and a heart attack.

"Unfortunately, I was left with brain damage and I still deal with the effects of that today," Lovato told the association. "I don't drive a car because I have blind spots in my vision. I also, for a long time, had a really hard time reading."


Lovato said that it took two months for her vision to clear enough for her to read from a book. However, she considers the lasting effects of the strokes incentive to remain sober.

"I'm grateful for those reminders," Lovato said. "I feel like they kind of are still there to remind me of what could happen if I ever get into a dark place again."


The singer has spoken out previously about mental health and addiction, speaking about her bipolar diagnosis on Capitol Hill in 2015, and continuing to open up on talk show appearances.

Lovato sees Dancing with the Devil as an opportunity to speak to her fans more in-depth, as director Michael D. Ratner followed her for two years.

"This is not a burden anymore," Lovato said. "My biggest purpose for putting this documentary out is to help others."

The documentary helps her, too, Lovato said. She said speaking about her prior sobriety for six years held her accountable during that time. Since her overdose, Lovato said he wanted to put her setback on the record.

"One of the main reasons why I'm coming forward with my story is so that I never have to live that life again," Lovato said. "I am holding myself accountable."

Despite her open-book attitude about her overdose and recovery, Lovato said she still had some boundaries with Ratner.

"I'll share what I think the world will benefit from and then I keep the rest to myself," she said. "I'm excited for everyone to see how I got to the place I'm in today."


How Lovato recovered and overcame setbacks included help from the medical community and therapy. She also said she explored spiritual growth, expanding beyond her Christian upbringing.

"Today, music is my religion," Lovato said. "It's what inspires me and what makes me emote, and it makes other people emote."

Lovato said she is more interested in spirituality than organized religion. In addition to continuing to speak about mental health, Lovato hopes to speak to broader social issues, too.

"How can we help elevate everyone's vibrations so that we can live in a more positive planet?" Lovato asked rhetorically. "How are my choices going to affect those around me in a positive way, and how am I going to better myself today?"

Dancing With the Devil goes beyond Lovato's overdose and recovery from substance addiction, Lovato said. She said she reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements of 2020, in addition to facing some of her own traumas.

"The third episode talks a lot about past traumas that I have dealt with and have never spoken about because it was too hard," Lovato said. "I also wasn't ready."

Lovato said she discussed experiences in the music industry that she thinks contributed to her overdose. Dancing with the Devil viewers will learn more about those.


"It's about self-acceptance," Lovato said. "It's about not conforming to what other people think you should conform to."

Dancing with the Devil also chronicles Lovato working on her recent singles, and preparations for her forthcoming album. The songs also reflect what Lovato called "a lot of angst."

"I'm a truth-teller," Lovato said. "If we're not vulnerable with other people, we're never going to experience the internal growth that we need to survive."

That's not to say Lovato's music will always deal with angst. Lovato said her music will reflect herself at the stage at which she writes it.

"I think that as long as I continue to tell my truth, I'm going to make music that resonates with people," Lovato said. "That's my purpose."

Lovato said she still gets sad when she sees Dancing with the Devil because it reminds her of the pain she went through. However, she said she would not change anything about her journey.

"Everything had to happen for me to learn the lessons that I learned," Lovato said. "But, I don't regret anything, and I'm so proud of the person I am today."


Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil premieres March 23 on YouTube.

Demi Lovato turns 30: a look back

Demi Lovato takes part in the Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the U.S Open in New York City on August 23, 2008. Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines


Follow Us