From a field of former Disney teen stars -- think Selena, Miley, plus their older pop sisters Britney and Christina -- Demi Lovato, 21, is one of the most relatable. In 2010, she entered a rehab facility to deal with issues of depression, bulimia, addiction, and cutting, and she's been equally forthright about her subsequent journey to health. Now, the youngest X Factor judge has a new self-titled album that documents that journey. We caught up with her in between tour dates -- and after surgery to have her tonsils removed -- to ask how she's feeling, emotionally and physically, in the months after her father's sudden passing.
How did your throat surgery go? And how soon until we hear your voice again?
You might think of anorexia and bulimia as adolescent disorders, but it's a
problem plaguing adults, too. Anorexia, in which people have an intense fear of
gaining weight and drastically restrict their food intake, cuts across ethnic
and socioeconomic boundaries. But it strikes mostly women: About 90% of those
with the condition are female, and about 20% of women still struggle with it
into their 30s and beyond.
While there's no hard data on how many adult women have symptoms of
It was tough, but I'm feeling so much better now. I felt like I had a terrible sore throat for at least 2 weeks. I was really nervous before the surgery: I asked the doctor if he'd ever had anyone die from anesthesia before. (In case you're wondering, he said, "No.") I'm going to be singing again very soon!
Did this surgery offer a permanent remedy?
I had enlarged and impacted tonsils, so I've been dealing with chronic tonsillitis for as long as I can remember. I'd get sick every couple of weeks. Awful! I was supposed to get my tonsils out when I was 15, but my schedule was [too] crazy. Now that my tonsils are removed, I should be good.
You also broke your foot earlier this year. Are you fully recovered?
I'm a bit clumsy sometimes. Honestly, it was so challenging to not be able to use my leg. It really made me thankful for everyday things, like getting up to get myself [a glass of] water. It was a long recovery process -- about 3 months -- but I'm good as new. I had to perform in a medical boot, because I had tour dates in Asia and Russia right after the accident. I had my boot studded and covered in leather, then hit the stage!
How do you stay healthy and balanced while touring?
I drink a ton of water, and I try to make sure I get plenty of sleep. It's really hard to do that when you're traveling and dealing with crazy time changes. If I'm having a hard time, I'll go to the hotel gym and try to wear myself out. I've even brought a trainer/nutritionist on the road. He finds the health food stores in each city and buys sushi and salads. He also makes fresh juices with kale, spinach, ginger, and so forth to make sure I'm getting enough veggies every day.
It's been a challenging few months for you, with the recent passing of your father. Do you have a good support system in place?