Demi Lovato says she was 'terrified' and cried watching her docuseries for the first time: 'This is so moving'
In a joint interview with director Michael D. Ratner and YouTube's Susanne Daniels, Lovato discussed why she wanted to tell her story, the one person in her life who was hesitant about participating, and just how much more content we can expect to see following the series.
"I knew the moment that I woke up from the hospital, I knew I wanted to share my story and set the record straight because there were so many stories floating around when I was in the hospital, what had happened," Lovato told Variety's Jenelle Riley. "People didn't get the full story and they didn't see how bad it was. In order to show my fans how far I've come, I wanted to show them the full truth and as painful, as uncomfortable it was at times, it also is going to benefit so many people."
In the trailer, released back in February, Lovato disclosed shocking new information about the effects her near-fatal 2018 drug overdose had on her life, including that she had three strokes and a heart attack in the hospital. The docuseries also features the songstress revealing she was sexually assaulted by her drug dealer the night of her overdose.
Although she signed on to be 100 percent honest and open, Lovato said she surprised even herself when filming Dancing With the Devil.
"I definitely surprised myself when talking about how this path hasn't been squeaky clean, how 2018 wasn't the end all be all of that journey," she said. "And I didn't expect to be that honest on camera. I knew I was going to talk about 2018, I knew I was going to talk about 2020, but I didn't know how honest I was gonna be with 2019 and I think I surprised not only myself but my friends too when I decided to be that honest."
During the Q&A, she also spoke about her friend, dancer Dani Vitale, who she said the media blamed after she was linked to Lovato's overdose. Because of that, Vitale was the only one in the singer's circle who wasn't immediately willing to appear in the series.
"The only person that was really hesitant was Dani [Vitale]. We hadn't spoken in that long, and we hadn't seen each other since everything," Lovato continued. "She got treated really poorly in the media and I wanted to give her a chance to really tell her story. Since I had just now become comfortable with sharing mine, I wanted to do it together and let the world know and say, 'Hey, she wasn't a part of this, and she's a really good person.'"
Ratner called the docuseries "the ultimate catharsis," as Lovato finally got to share with her fans what really happened from 2018 and on, and what led to that "collision course."
"Even now, Demi feels lighter knowing this is coming. The day of the trailer, we were texting back and forth, like, 'Wow, this feels so good,'" he added. "There's a lot that's not in that trailer that people are going to find out that I think is going to create a lot of conversations."
In fact, Lovato was so ready to tell her story that fans will likely see more content come out after the docuseries premieres.
"We shot a lot, we shot for around a year, and of course we inherited some of the footage from 2018, from that tour, and we cut it all together and we're really proud of what is in the cut. And there's a whole other doc we put together with what went to the cutting room floor that's great too," Ratner said.
Lovato agreed, saying, "I will go ahead and say I definitely think there's going to be more in the future, I don't think it stops at the end of this docuseries."
Ratner even teased a deleted scene that he's considering "putting behind the paywall as extra bonus content, where Demi is talking about her love of the Mexican pizza from Taco Bell."
And though Lovato was involved in the filming process and oversaw different cuts, she said she still had a visceral reaction when watching episode 1 for the first time with Ratner.
"We watched the first episode together and first of all, the first three seconds in, I'm seeing the footage from my Rock In Rio performance," she said. "And I just started crying, because I was like, 'I missed my fans, I haven't performed in so long and I miss them and I miss it.' And then I was like, 'Okay, okay, I'm getting it together, we're good to go.'
"And then after watching the whole episode all the way through, I actually had a bit of a physical reaction where I was shaking and breathing heavily, and just felt a little lightheaded and it was because this is so emotional for me," she continued. "This is so moving. I was terrified, to be honest. I knew it's what I wanted to do, and I knew that I was going to, but it didn't take away from the fact that I was terrified the entire time. And even watching it back, knowing that the world was going to see this, I was terrified."
Ratner also spoke from his perspective about screening episode 1 with Lovato.
"It was really quite something to walk over and put in the first episode. She hasn't seen anything yet. And three seconds in, she pauses and starts crying hysterically. And I was like, 'This is going well,'" he quipped, reenacting his own raw reaction at the time. "It was just powerful. I remember, I had two [episodes] ready that night and after one, she said, 'I think we should stop.' And she was like, 'I need to see the second but I don't think I can.'"
Lovato concluded the interview with what she hoped viewers will take away from the docuseries, a message that is also featured in the project.
"You don't have to conform to what other people want you to be, want you to do," she said. "You can choose your life. You can set it up the way that you want to. And with the right people around you, the right support system, you can thrive and you aren't your lowest moments."
The first two episodes of Dancing With the Devil premiere on YouTube on Tuesday, March 23.
Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil (TV Series)