Demi Lovato loves playing Sonny Munroe on her hit Disney Channel show, Sonny With a Chance more than any other character she's ever played. But the 18-year-old half-Mexican star – who temporarily left the show last October to undergo treatment for an eating disorder, among other emotional issues – will be leaving the show for good, Latina.com has confirmed with a rep from the Disney Channel.
"It made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music," Demi explains in this week's issue of People Magazine. "It's kind of sad for me that a chapter of my life has ended but there couldn't be a better time for me to move on."
Lovato, who just got out of rehab in late January after completing three months of in-patient treatment at a Chicago area rehab center, said a return to TV would simply be too much for her to bear at this time. "I don't think going back to Sonny would be healthy for my recovery," she said. "Being in front of a camera would make me nervous."
In November, less than two weeks after Demi checked herself into rehab, the Disney Channel revamped Sonny With a Chance, shifting the show's focus from the title character Sonny Munroe (Lovato) to supporting actors Tiffany Thornton, Sterling Knight, Brandon Mychal Smith, and Doug Brochy. At the time, a Disney spokesperson said the change was made to give Demi ample time to recover. “This allows her the time she needs to get well, without distraction or pressure,” said the spokeswoman. “Again, we extend our ongoing support to Demi and her family as she works to overcome personal issues.” But then in March, Sonny With a Chance cast member Brandon Smith, who plays Nico Harris on the hit show, said the name of the show had officially been changed from Sonny With a Chance to So Random, displacing Demi as the show's lead.
Now that Demi has officially left the show, the Disney Channel has released the following statement in support of one of their biggest stars: "We respect Demi's decision to focus fulltime on her music and not immediately return to her acting career," a rep for the Disney Channel said in a statement. "She is a talented young woman and our hearts are with her as she continues to take action to improve her health and bounce back from adversity."
Lovato called the decision to walk away from her TV gig "nerve-racking." Last year, the young starlet gushed to us about what it was like playing her "favorite" Disney character. "She’s really quirky and over the top. I get to embarrass myself with her," she said. But Demi is looking forward to the future, "I'm really excited to see where everything goes," she said. So are we Demi!