Demi Lovato has announced that she is leaving her hit Disney Channel series, Sonny With a Chance.
As she told People, “It made sense for me to go ahead and leave the show to focus on my music. 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 believes that going back to Sonny would not be healthy for her recovery and being in front of the cameras would make her nervous.
Back in October, Lovato left the Jonas Brothers tour to check into a treatment center for emotional and physical issues. She returned to her Los Angeles home in January.
Lovato has struggled with the effects of bullying and eating disorders throughout her life. As she told ABC’s Robin Roberts, her own experiences with bullying have had far-reaching effects.
Lovato began compulsively overeating when she was 8 years old. At age 11, she turned to cutting.
As she explained, “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, Lovato reached a breaking point when she physically attacked backup dancer Alex Welch during the South American leg of their tour. As Lovato explained, “I literally was so emotionally whacked out that I took it out on someone that meant a lot to me.” Lovato took responsibility for hurting someone who had once been her friend.
Perhaps Lovato is making a wise decision by stepping away from her acting career for awhile. In a Hollywood climate where so many teen stars burn out and turn to poor lifestyle choices, it’s especially important for her to focus on her health and her recovery.
Lovato might want to take inspiration from Molly Ringwald, a former teen star who managed to escape many of the pitfalls of Hollywood culture.
As a teenager, Ringwald had achieved iconic status with films such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club. Yet Ringwald had a difficult time making the transition into adult roles after she turned down the lead roles in Ghost and Pretty Woman.
While this would have sent many former child stars on a downward trajectory, Ringwald made a wise move by leaving Hollywood to move to Paris. One CBS reporter described it as a self-imposed intervention.
After her extended hiatus, Ringwald is back and happily married with three children. She has also revived her acting career, starring as the mother of the title character in Secret Life of the American Teenager.
With healthy choices and commitment to her recovery, there’s no reason that Lovato can’t follow a similar trajectory of success. Sonny With a Chance will be reinvented as a sketch comedy show titled So Random. In the meantime, Lovato’s numerous fans will be able to continue following her music career.