After a July 2018 fentanyl overdose left her on the brink of death, Demi Lovato emerged with more than just physical and emotional scars.
The singer and actress, who grew up in Grapevine, was faced with rumors and gossip from her legions of fans and millions of social media followers about what led to the incident, and how the fallout would affect her personal and professional future.
That’s where “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil” comes in. The four-part docuseries will launch on Lovato’s YouTube channel starting on Tuesday.
“The moment I woke up in the hospital, I knew I wanted to share my story and set the record straight,” Lovato said during the South by Southwest Film Festival. “In order to show my fans how far I’ve come, I wanted to show them the full truth. As painful and uncomfortable as it was at times, I think it’s going to benefit so many people.”
The series takes viewers to a much darker chapter in Lovato’s tumultuous personal life than “Simply Complicated,” her first documentary released in 2017. In this instance, the launch pad was the buildup and aftermath surrounding the overdose that resulted in three strokes, a heart attack, lingering brain damage, an extended hospital stay, and struggles with sobriety.
“It’s about a moment, and peeling back how we got there. We needed Demi to be all-in to tell every piece of that,” said series director Michael Ratner. “You have someone who is really willing to do the work themselves to identify the traumas, and ultimately allow herself to share with the world to help others, and say it’s OK to talk about these things. That’s what made this so special.”
Lovato, 28, provides candid revelations about sexual assault, mental illness, relationships and sexuality, the inspirations behind her new album, and more. The other interviewees include backup dancer Dani Vitale, who many fans blamed for the incident and who hadn’t spoken to Lovato in almost two years prior to filming last summer.
“I knew it’s what I wanted to do, but I was terrified the entire time,” Lovato said. “I didn’t expect to be that honest on camera. I had the courage to come clean so that I could hold myself accountable. I’m not claiming to be fixed and be the poster child for recovery. But this path I have taken has helped me so much.”
Lovato’s YouTube channel has almost 20 million subscribers, and “Simply Complicated” garnered more than 40 million views. She said supportive feedback for the trailer helped to quell her apprehension about the new project, which Lovato hopes will have a broader impact.
“I’m really grateful that I survived, and I definitely feel that I have a purpose,” she said. “You don’t have to conform to what other people want you to be. You can choose your life and set it up the way you want to. With the right people around you, you can thrive. You aren’t your lowest moments. I want everyone to take that away.”