Demi Lovato’s recent decision to check herself into rehab comes from a long history of bullying, according to one source.
An insider told TMZ that the 18-year-old Disney star has been struggling with bullies since middle school. She felt her choice to pursue a career as an actress made her a walking target. The source adds that this was the catalyst to Lovato’s self-destructive behavior.
TMZ also cites the actress and singer as telling Ellen DeGeneres in 2008 that she was bullied so badly in 7th grade that she had to leave school and continue learning through home schooling.
A source close to Lovato’s family told PEOPLE that the star’s decision to go into rehab was to deal with these self-destructive tendencies.
“She fought through eating disorders and has struggled with cutting. [She] is taking control by getting help.”
The source claims that is was a fight with a dancer on tour that finally made the star seek help. Yet another insider told the magazine that Lovato “doesn’t have that same kind of love for life that she at one point had.”
A family friend also suggested bullying may have something to do with Lovato’s low self-esteem: “Like many other teenage girls, she struggled a lot to fit in and find acceptance,” they told PEOPLE. “She’s very sensitive, very intuitive and that is part of what makes her a wonderful performer – very talented. It is double-edged sword. I think she felt that the hard time she had [in school], problems with kids who were incredibly vicious made her stronger. But none of us feels strong every day.”
The star herself talked about her body issues with the magazine in September, saying: “Feeling comfortable in your clothes is something I deal with to this day. I wish I had somebody I had to look up to when I was younger to stand up and say, ‘Hey, I have fat days.’ So I want to be able to start a foundation or something that’s for girls feeling confident, to empower them. ”
Demi Lovato has pulled out of a tour with the Jonas Brothers in order to seek treatment at the rehab facility. She is getting “medical treatment for emotional and physical issues she has dealt with for some time,” the performer’s rep said in a statement.
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