March 15 marked Demi Lovato‘s sixth year sober, an achievement she celebrated on Instagram with a “Self Love” t-shirt and a gracious thank you to fans. With no Tell Me You Love Me Tour stop on her milestone anniversary, the next night (March 16) was her first opportunity to actually celebrate with fans — and it was even more special than she could’ve imagined.
As Lovato rose up on stage perched on a piano, her tourmates Kehlani and DJ Khaled made an appearance that even Lovato didn’t know was happening. Khaled began talking about how proud he was of Demi, and how affecting he found her YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated. “What you’ve overcome through trials and tribulations, through dark clouds, you found the sunshine, and now the sun is shining on you forever,” he said. “And every night you come light up the stage and you represent your fans, and that’s so amazing.”
Kehlani added to the thoughtful sentiments, telling Lovato how her raw vulnerability has inspired her own career. “You give me hope and strength and pride, and every bit of myself that I am — the good side, the bad side, the funny side, the quirky side. You are 100 percent yourself, and that is so rare in this world and this industry,” she gushed. “I’m so, so, so, so proud of you, and honored to know you.”
With tears welling up in her eyes, Lovato hugged her fellow performers and thanked them for their kind words (as well as a crowd sing-along of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate her sobriety). But before carrying on with the show, she delivered a heartfelt — and heart-rending — story about her journey.
“Yesterday, six years ago, I was drinking vodka out of a Sprite bottle at 9 in the morning, throwing up in the car,” she recalled. “And I just remember thinking, ‘This is no longer cute. This is no longer fun. And I’m just like my dad.’ So I took a look at my life and I said, ‘Something has to change, I’ve got to get sober’ — so I did.”
Still choking back tears, Lovato received a box of tissues from a stagehand, adding a lighthearted moment before continuing her speech. “I made changes in my life, and the reason I became so open about my story is because I know that there are people here tonight that need to ask for help, and I want you to know that that’s okay. Mental health is something that we all need to talk about, and we need to take the stigma away from it. So let’s raise the awareness. Let’s let everybody know it’s okay to have a mental illness, it’s okay to have an addiction problem. I’m bipolar — like, whatever! I take care of myself. And I can never say ‘Thank you’ enough to you guys for the support that you’ve given me over the years, and you’ve forgiven me for my mistakes. Thank you for being a part of saving my life. I love you guys.”
Lovato followed up her emotional moment with a roaring rendition of “Warrior,” dedicating it to all her fellow warriors in the world. Watch fan-filmed videos of Lovato’s speech and “Warrior” performance below.
I feel weak everytime Demi cries —- pic.twitter.com/8RZlZ4cxyg
— zhania (@lovathiccs) March 17, 2018
— Demi Lovato News (@justcatchmedemi) March 17, 2018