Demi Lovato Opens up about Bullying, Cutting and Her Ten-Year Battle with Bulimia

Last week we told you about Demi Lovato’s upcoming interview with journalist Robin Roberts (which will air on Good Morning America and 20/20 on Friday). And now we have a preview of Demi's first television interview since checking herself into rehab last fall for physical and emotional issues.  

In the candid chat, Demi explains to Roberts how being bullied as a young girl led to a series of problems for her in her life. "I've spoken openly about being bullied throughout the past few years," explains Lovato. "But one thing that I've never been able to feel comfortable talking about was the effects that it had on my life afterwards," she said. 

"I literally didn't know why they were being so mean to me and when I would ask them why they would just say 'Well, you're fat.' I was bullied because I was fat," she said. "And then a few months later I developed an eating disorder and that's kind of been what I've been dealing with ever since. I was compulsively overeating when I was eight years old, so I guess for the past 10 years I've had a really unhealthy relationship with food," Demi explains. 

Lovato also touches on how her eating disorder led her to self-mutilation. "It was a way of expressing my own shame, of myself, on my own body," she told Roberts. "I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were some times where my emotions were just so built up, I didn't know what to do. The only way that I could get instant gratification was through an immediate release on myself."

Last summer, when Demi was on tour with the Jonas Brothers, her emotional issues started to interfere with her ability to function on a daily basis. "I was performing concerts on an empty stomach," she said. "I was losing my voice from purging. I was self-medicating. I was not taking medication for depression, and I literally was so emotionally whacked out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me."

Demi is of course talking about Alex "Shorty" Welch, a back-up dancer she hit while on tour with the Jonas Brothers. In the interview, Demi says she's to blame for the altercation with Alex. "I take 100% full responsibility. I feel horrible. Shorty was my friend." Lovato laments.  Lovato also tells Roberts that her family and her management team sat her down and told her things needed to change. "They sat me down and said 'You can't live like this and the only way that you're going to get the help that you need is to go in-patient to a treatment center' and that's exactly what I did," she said. 

Demi, who quit her hit Disney series Sonny With a Chance, will continue to be an artist on Disney's Hollywood Records label and she says she's excited to get back to work on her music. "I'm about to start working on my third album and I get to express myself through music which is what I love doing the most. And that's kind of what I'm doing, I'm taking life day by day."