Demi Lovato says she's embracing body acceptance, not positivity, in rare interview: 'I don't have to lie to myself'

Erin Donnelly
Demi Lovato spoke about her hospitalization and recovery at the <em>Teen Vogue</em> Summit. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for <em>Teen Vogue</em>)
Demi Lovato spoke about her hospitalization and recovery at the Teen Vogue Summit. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

Demi Lovato has given her first official interview since being hospitalized for an apparent overdose in July 2018. The pop star got candid about her recovery process and embracing “body acceptance” during her appearance at the Teen Vogue Summit 2019 on Saturday, per The Hollywood Reporter.

While the 27-year-old has been keeping a relatively low profile since her hospitalization and subsequent stretch in a treatment facility, she has been active on social media, sharing unedited bikini photos that celebrate her body in its “raw, real” form. Lovato told the Teen Vogue Summit audience that learning to love her figure “the way that it is naturally” has been a significant part of her recovery process.

"Whenever I was in the gym over the past couple years, I was doing it to a very unhealthy extreme,” she said. “I think that's what led me down a darker path. For me, embracing my body the way that it is naturally was the reason why I took the month of October off from the gym."

She also clarified the difference between body positivity and body acceptance.

"A huge thing for me has been body acceptance,” she shared. “I feel like something that is not really spoken about a lot is body acceptance. We hear the terms ‘body positivity’ all the time but to be honest, I don't always feel positive about my body. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm like, 'Oh I do not like what I see.' But in those moments, I don't sit there and dwell on it. I also don't lie to myself.

"I used to look in the mirror and I used to be like 'I love my body. You're beautifully and wonderfully made.' But the thing was, I didn't believe it so then I just would resent it. And every time I would say it, I would be like 'You're lying to yourself.'"

The former Disney star added that she is now “OK” with how she looks.

“I don't have to lie to myself and tell myself that I have this amazing body,” she said. “It's like, if I don't feel it, I don't have to say that. All I have to say is I'm healthy. In that statement, I express gratitude and I express I am grateful for my strength.”

Lovato spoke with<em> Teen Vogue</em> editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner about body acceptance. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for <em>Teen Vogue</em>)
Lovato spoke with Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner about body acceptance. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

Lovato also admitted that criticism from the public can sting.

"What a lot of people don't realize is that I'm actually an extremely sensitive person," she said. "I am human, so be easy on me. And I'm so tired of pretending like I'm not human. That's one thing that I won't do anymore. When you say stuff, it affects me. I'm human. I try not to look, but I see it."

She went on to call herself a “fighter” who has “overcome a lot."

Currently working on new music as well as acting gigs like a guest role on Will & Grace, the singer-actress added that she doesn’t regret being a child star, but acknowledged that dealing with fame from a young age had “consequences.”

“Of course when you're 7 or 8 years old, and you say, 'Do you want be an actress or a singer?' You're like, 'Yeah put me on stage.' And you aren't even old enough to understand the consequences that come with fame. And yes fame is a privilege. It gets you a lot of things that you don't normally get but there are downsides to it," Lovato said. "It's important to remember those downsides when you're making that choice for the rest of your life, because once you're famous you can't not be famous anymore … I wish I would have known that as a child."

She also touched on her personal issues like substance abuse, saying, “I think that a lot of the things I've been through kind of outshined my successes.

“Everyone's so quick to cancel everybody and I'm really really tired of it, to be honest,” she added. “People just make mistakes."

From the sounds of it, Lovato is focusing on being kinder to herself, inside and out.

“I love the person that I am today,” she said.

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