Demi Lovato’s Overdose and The Meeting of Reality and Stardom

Demi Lovato's open and honest struggle with sobriety complicates the expected celebrity narrative of "overcoming."

demi lovato
Demi Lovato arrives at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

After Demi Lovato was hospitalized for a drug overdose, she released an honest statement about struggling with sobriety.

“What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time,” she said, according to The Atlantic. “It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

A post shared by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Her statement was unique because the honesty it contained was complex. It was clearly not the work of some PR team trying to maintain an image, but was instead an open depiction of addiction being something that Lovato will have to continue to work on. Pop stars usually vacuum seal and sell narratives of overcoming, writes The Atlantic. 

Stars often edit their biographies so that they are always overcoming adversity. Self-doubt, trauma and drug use, according to celebrities, are smashed under boots on the rise to the top.

But Lovato has not stuck to that story. She has been open about her sobriety, and much of her music addresses her struggles, such as her songs “Skyscraper” or “Sober.”

“I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side,” Lovato wrote in her statement after her recent hospitalization, adding, “I will keep fighting.”

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