Demi Lovato — who came out as non-binary in May 2021 and now uses they/them pronouns — has been performing professionally since they were just 8 years old. Two decades later, the uber-talented performer is still in the spotlight after years of making headlines for their incredible voice, buzzy acting gigs and, sadly, personal troubles. In honor of the star’s 29th birthday on Aug. 20, 2021, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at their life and career in photos.
Keep reading to relive the highlights from Demi’s time in the spotlight so far…
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Demi Lovato was born Demetria Devonne Lovato — the second child of former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Dianna Smith and engineer and musician Patrick Lovato — in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Aug. 20, 1992. After Demi’s parents divorced when they were just a toddler, Demi’s mom raised them in Dallas, Texas, where they soon took an interest in music and acting. Demi (center) made their acting debut on “Barney & Friends” in 2002. They met future BFF Selena Gomez (in the pink sleeveless shirt) while performing on the PBS series, which they left in 2004. In 2013, Demi told Cosmopolitan of their time on the show, “At the time, I was just so grateful to be on TV, but I was also really struggling. Looking back, there was a connection, probably between any kid who’s ever sang that song to Barney, a little place in a child’s heart, a void, that could be filled. And maybe Barney fills it. Even before Barney, I was suicidal. I was 7.”
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In June 2008, Demi Lovato scored a major breakthrough with the hit Disney Channel made-for-TV movie “Camp Rock.” The young performer had been discovered by the Mouse House during an open casting call in Dallas and first starred on “As the Bell Rings,” a series of Disney Channel comedic shorts. But with “Camp Rock,” Demi achieved meteoric fame alongside the Jonas Brothers in the movie that was one of Disney’s most watched originals. “With ‘Camp Rock’ we just did what we did, none of us expected things like this,” Demi told The Telegraph almost a year after the premiere. “We all just thought we were making a movie, and none of us realized it would be so huge.” They returned for a sequel, “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam,” in 2010.
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Demi Lovato showed off their impressive vocal chops while opening for the Jonas Brothers on their “Burnin’ Up” tour stop in Irvine, California, on July 12, 2008. Demi’s debut album, “Don’t Forget,” debuted two months later on Sept. 23, 2008.
Fans worried when Demi Lovato showed up looking super-skinny to the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards — their first award show red carpet. In 2011, the performer admitted that they’d struggled with anorexia and bulimia: “I was compulsively overeating when I was 8 years old. So I guess for the past 10 years I’ve had a really unhealthy relationship with food,” Demi told journalist Robin Roberts.
Demi Lovato made headlines when they were photographed with what appeared to be small cuts on their wrist at Miley Cyrus’s sweet 16 birthday party at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Oct. 5, 2008. At the time, the young performer attributed the marks to wearing tight gummy bracelets, but in 2011, Demi revealed the truth: They struggled with cutting during their teen years. “I don’t think I would have been ready to talk about [my problems] then, but I could’ve come up with something better than gummy bracelets,” the young star told Billboard.
Demi Lovato’s mom, Dianna De La Garza, tagged along when the young performer stopped by the “PIX11 Morning News” studios in New York City on Jan. 30, 2009.
In early 2009, Demi Lovato landed their own Disney Channel show, “Sonny with a Chance,” which ran for two seasons until early 2011. (Demi ultimately left the series to focus on music.)
Demi Lovato and then-BFF Selena Gomez were all smiles at the premiere of “Princess Protection Program” in Toronto on June 18, 2009. (The former “Barney & Friends” co-stars reunited on screen for the Disney Channel made-for-TV movie.)
Demi Lovato performed in Sacramento, California, on July 16, 2009 — five days after their sophomore album, “Here We Go Again,” debuted. Even then, the young performer had started voicing their deep insecurities. “Some days I’ll look at a crowd and I’ll think, ‘Wow, this is so cool. This is just like what the Jonas Brothers were doing last year,'” Demi told The New York Times in 2009 of touring. “And then I’ll look at a crowd and be like, ‘Oh, it’s not as much as them.’ Some days I get really excited, and some days I get scared because I feel like I have to live up to certain [expectations].”
On April 17, 2010, Demi Lovato’s half-sister, Madison De La Garza — a child actress who famously played the daughter of Eva Longoria’s character on “Desperate Housewives” from 2008 to 2012 — joined her older sibling at the Hollywood premiere of Disneynature’s “Oceans.”
Demi Lovato posed with then-boyfriend Joe Jonas at the grand opening of a vintage clothing store in Los Angeles on April 28, 2010. The duo took their relationship to the next level after working together on the 2010 “Camp Rock” sequel. But it wasn’t meant to be: Their young love came to an end after just a few months — right around the time they kicked off a world tour together. After the breakup, Joe told People magazine, “Demi and I knew going into our romantic relationship that it may not be an easy one. I realize over the time we have shared together that I feel I care more about our friendship right now. It was my choice to break up but I love [Demi] as a friend. [Demi has] been there for me when I needed [them]. I will continue to be [their] friend and be there for [them].”
In late 2010 — just days after Demi Lovato was photographed during a joint press conference with the Jonas Brothers in Costa Rica — the young performer checked into rehab for the first time. In Demi’s 2017 YouTube documentary “Simply Complicated,” they confirmed long-standing rumors about the circumstances that led to their first rehab stint: Demi punched a backup dancer for snitching on them to their handlers. (Demi had been drinking, smoking marijuana and abusing Adderall while touring South America with the JoBros.) “We had trashed the hotel. The hotel was threatening us, they went to some of the dancers and asked what had happened. I think they told on me for using Adderall. Somebody told Kevin Jonas Sr. and [my manager] Phil [McIntyre] and my [step]dad [Eddie De La Garza],” Demi recalled, adding that they couldn’t believe at the time that everyone was now aware of their drug use. “The next day, I was in a lot of trouble. … I remember going to Kevin Sr. and saying, ‘Listen, I want to thank whoever told on me, because I know they were just worried about me. I just really want to know who told you.’ I manipulated him into telling me who it was.”
In January 2011 — shortly after Demi Lovato left rehab, where they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated for an eating disorder, self-harming and drug addiction — the performer was photographed looking happy in Santa Monica, California. However, Demi later admitted that following their rehab stint, they went on a two-month bender during which they mixed cocaine and Xanax. Demi explained in their 2017 YouTube documentary that they were in a bad place again. At one point after using, they confessed, “I started to choke a little bit and my heart started racing. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I might be overdosing right now.'”
In July 2011, Demi Lovato hit a new high with their hit single “Skyscraper,” which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 17 weeks on the chart. They performed the track live for the first time at the VH1 Do Something Awards in Hollywood on Aug. 14, 2011 (pictured). It was the first time Demi performed live since they left the Jonas Brothers’ world tour and entered rehab the previous year. The following month, Demi dropped their third album, “Unbroken.”
In the fall of 2012, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears replaced Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger as judges on the second season of the American version of “The X Factor.” While Britney left the series after just one season, Demi continued working alongside L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell until the singing competition came to an end after three seasons in December 2013. During their time on “The X Factor,” Demi resided in a sober-living facility where they didn’t have access to their own cell phone. The harsh rules apparently did the trick: Demi managed to stay sober for the next six years.
A huge honor! During the premiere of the second season of “The X Factor” on Sept. 11, 2012, Demi Lovato left their handprints in cement in the forecourt of the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
On Feb. 13, 2013, Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama — who dated off and on from 2010 to 2016 — made their official public debut as a couple at a party in West Hollywood. “He’ll never take credit for a lot of my sobriety and my recovery, but I guarantee it, I wouldn’t be alive without him today,” Demi told HuffPost Live in 2015 of the “That ’70s Show” actor, who’s 13 years older.
Demi Lovato’s fourth album, “Demi,” debuted on May 14, 2013. Two weeks later, the performer posed with one of their CDs in London. “Demi,” which featured the lead single “Heart Attack,” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and delivered the highest first-week album sales of the pop star’s career. “I always want to make positive music,” Demi told Billboard of the album. “I get sick of listening to the radio and hearing only music that’s talking about partying and drinking and getting high. That’s not what I do. It’s not what I stand for. Maybe a couple years ago I would have loved it, but I’m not the same person I was a few years ago. Now when I listen to the radio, I can’t relate to a lot of it.”
In October 2013, Demi Lovato kicked off a four-episode stint on “Glee” as Dani, a waitress and musician who briefly romanced Naya Rivera’s Santana Lopez.
On Nov. 19, 2013, Demi Lovato released the self-help book “Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year,” which features inspirational quotes and daily affirmations.Four days later, Demi posed with a copy of the book, which topped The New York Times bestseller list, at a signing event in Los Angeles. “To me, staying strong is really important. A lot of people have faith, have hope, but now what? How do you continue to be strong? It’s about doing things daily and taking care of yourself, and I wanted to show my fans what helped me,” the multi-hyphenate told USA Today.
Demi Lovato maintained a friendship with Nick Jonas in spite of the drama with his brother Joe Jonas. In 2014, Nick enlisted Demi for “Avalanche,” a track from his eponymous sophomore album. The duo performed the song together several times, including at KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2014 (pictured). The singers would later co-headline the 2016 “Future Now Tour.”
In 2015, Demi Lovato became immortalized in wax at Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood. That August — two months before Demi released their fifth album, “Confident,” and three days before they turned 23 — the singer checked out their likeness at the iconic tourist trap.
On May 24, 2016, Demi Lovato and boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama were snapped following a dinner date in West Hollywood. Less than two weeks later, they released a joint statement announcing that they’d called it quits. “After almost 6 loving and wonderful years together, we have decided to end our relationship,” the former couple wrote on Instagram.
In the fall of 2016, Demi Lovato started spending time with UFC fighter Luke Rockhold. They made their official debut as a couple at the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 12, 2016, but it wasn’t meant to be: By the end of the year, they’d gone their separate ways.
On Jan. 18, 2017, Demi Lovato and Brazilian MMA fighter Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos were snapped sharing a ride following a DNCE concert in Los Angeles. (Yep, Demi took their new man to see their ex, Joe Jonas, play with his band.) The new couple started spending time together in the summer of 2016, took a break in the fall (when Demi dated Luke Rockhold), reconnected in the winter and ultimately split in mid-2017.
In 2017, Demi Lovato finally scored their first Grammy nomination: best pop vocal album for “Confident,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. (Ultimately, Demi lost to Adele’s “25.”) The performer topped many best dressed lists with her red carpet look that year: a stunning netted Julien Macdonald dress.
Demi Lovato voiced Smurfette in 2017’s “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” which failed to impress critics but performed well at the box office.
On Sept. 15, 2017, Demi Lovato performed during a listening party for their fifth album, “Tell Me You Love Me,” in Los Angeles. The album, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, debuted just two weeks later. The following month, “Simply Complicated, a documentary about Demi’s life and career, debuted on YouTube.
On Oct. 23, 2017 — after years of questions about the status of their friendship — Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez reunited at the third annual InStyle Awards in Los Angeles. It was the last time they were seen together in public. The former friends have since made it clear that although there’s no bad blood between them, they’re no longer close.
A family affair! Demi Lovato posed with stepdad Eddie De La Garza, sisters Dallas Lovato and Madison De La Garza and mom Dianna De La Garza at a signing of Dianna’s book, “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” at a Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles on March 8, 2018. The book chronicles Dianna’s painful past as an abuse survivor at the hands of Dallas and Demi’s late biological father, Patrick, who died from cancer in 2013 — as well as the addiction battles she and her children have waged in recent years.
Demi Lovato performed with Christina Aguilera during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards — just four days after they dropped their collaboration “Fall in Line” from Xtina’s “Liberation” album. The single didn’t make much impact on the charts, but it helped Demi score their second Grammy nomination (and Christina’s 20th): best pop duo/group performance.
On July 22, 2018 — exactly a month after Demi Lovato dropped the single “Sober,” in which the singer fessed up to falling off the wagon after six years of clean living — the pop star performed during the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, California (pictured). Two days later, Demi suffered a near-fatal overdose. After a two-week hospital stay — during which they suffered organ failure, three stokes and a heart attack — Demi went back to rehab. In early August 2018, they released a lengthy statement thanking God and everyone who helped save their life: “I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting,” Demi said.
Demi Lovato left rehab after three months. The first indication that the performer had completed treatment came in November 2018 when they were seen with fashion designer Henry Levy during a dinner date in Beverly Hills. The following month, on Dec. 9, 2018, Demi and Henry were photographed sharing a ride after another dinner date. It soon became clear they were a couple. But ultimately, their love wasn’t meant to last: They split in early 2019. Later that year, Demi briefly dated Austin Wilson, the son of Z-Boys of Dogtown skateboarder George Wilson.
Demi Lovato choked back tears while debuting the heart-wrenching ballad “Anyone” during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2020. It was the singer’s first live performance following the near-fatal overdose that almost claimed their life. (Demi actually wrote the song just a few days before that fateful day.) The multi-hyphenate received a standing ovation.
Call it a comeback! Demi Lovato performed the national anthem before Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Feb. 2, 2020.
In early 2020, Demi Lovato started spending time with former “The Young and the Restless” star Max Ehrich. It soon became clear the duo — who were snapped grocery shopping at Erewhon in Los Angeles on March 15, 2020 — were a couple and quarantining together amid the coronavirus pandemic. The duo got engaged that July, but just two months later, they went their separate ways.
In early 2020 — after a five-year break from acting on camera — Demi Lovato had a four-episode stint on the “Will & Grace” revival. The multi-hyphenate portrayed Jenny, the surrogate Will hires to carry his baby.
Demi Lovato starred as champion Icelandic singer Katiana Lindsdóttir in the 2020 Netflix comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” — their first film role in a decade!
On March 22, 2021, Demi Lovato performed at the drive-in premiere of “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil” in Beverly Hills. The four-part docuseries, which focuses on the pop star’s addiction and mental health issues, debuted on YouTube the following day. A companion album, “Dancing with the Devil… the Art of Starting Over,” debuted 10 days later. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.
On May 19, 2021, Demi Lovato dropped the first episode of their new podcast, “4D with Demi Lovato.” In the process, the singer also dropped some major news: The officially came out as non-binary after previously identifying as pansexual. A week later, on May 27, 2021, Demi performed for the first time following their big reveal. They joined Brandi Carlile and H.E.R. for a tribute to Elton John during the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Hollywood.
New boo? On June 30, 2021, Demi Lovato and Noah Cyrus fueled romance rumors by holding hands following the “Space Jam: A New Legacy” premiere party at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. The pair were first linked in March 2021 after they collaborated on the track “Easy” for Demi’s album “Dancing with the Devil … the Art of Starting Over.” In early August, Demi made headlines when Tana Mongeau — who was previously linked to Noah — took to TikTok to share a video of herself and Demi touching tongues.
On July 30, 2021, “The Demi Lovato Show” debuted on Roku. Each 10-minute episode features conversations between the superstar and celebrity guests or experts in various fields — from mental health and sexuality to political activism and aliens. Up next, Demi is set to executive produce and star on the NBC series “Hungry,” which, according to Deadline, follows “a group of friends who belong to a food-issues group helping one another as they look for love, success and the perfect thing in the fridge that’s going to make it all better.”
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