Pop superstar Demi Lovato reportedly overdosed in her home on July 24, before being given a lifesaving dose of Narcan and getting rushed to the hospital. Sadly, one of her icons wasn’t so lucky. The 7-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s alcohol poisoning death was on July 23, just one day before Demi’s hospitalization. It’s a tragic coincidence, but perhaps unsurprising considering how similar their stories are.
Demi, 25, was very inspired by Amy — who died at 27 — and it’s easy to see why. They both have incredible vocal talent, and some of the most soulful voices of modern pop music. But it was more than just her music that drew Demi to Amy. “I’ve got Amy Winehouse… that I looked up to and wanted to be so badly. I wanted to be as thin as her, I wanted to sing like her, I wanted to be just like her,” said Demi in her documentary Simply Complicated. Sadly, they were more alike than Demi realized.
Struggles with drugs, eating disorders, and mental illness
Demi revealed she was bullied as a teen, and diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 18 years old, which she used drugs like cocaine and alcohol to cope with. “My addiction was very severe to where I had several scares, and I knew that at the rate I was using and drinking, I wasn’t going to live a long life,” she said. Amy also struggled with a crack cocaine and alcohol habit, which she used to cope with her depression.
On top of drugs, Demi used food as a comfort, and purged when she felt guilty about it. Sadly, this is something she still deals with. “When I was in a relationship with Wilmer [Valderrama] I went three years without purging and when we broke up that’s one of the first things I did,” she said in her 2017 documentary. Amy also suffered from bulimia, and her family believes it played a huge roll in her death. “I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible,” her brother Alex said in an interview with The Guardian. “Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.”
To deal with the negative feelings these other vices caused themselves, both Demi and Amy turned to self-harm. “There were times I felt so anxious, almost like I was crawling out of my skin – that if I didn’t do something physical to match the way I felt inside, I would explode,” Demi told Self in 2012. “I cut myself to take my mind off that. I just didn’t care what happened. I had no fear.”
Amy said in an interview with Now magazine that her “morbid curiosity” began when she was nine and first harmed herself. “I didn’t like the way I looked. I have a problem that comes out when I drink.” She also used it to cope when her grandmother died in 2006. “It’s a way of suffering for the things that mean a lot to you. I like the pain.”
Crying for help in their music
One month before Demi allegedly overdosed in her home, she apologized to her young fans for relapsing and using drugs again in her emotional song “Sober.” Amy did something similar with her song “Rehab.” Fans saw both songs as an ignored plea for assistance.
“Amy Winehouse made a cry for help with her song ‘Rehab’ and no one listened. Demi Lovato made a cry for help with her song ‘Sober’ and no one listened. When the f–k will we start listening?” asked a fan on Twitter. Another agreed, saying, “Let’s give people their flowers while they can still smell them. We don’t need to wait for tragedy to show appreciation for one another.”
Rehab and apparent overdoses
The most tragic thing about Amy’s death and Demi’s health scare is that both women did everything they could to get healthy. Demi has been open about her multiple stints in rehab, and despite saying she “said no, no, no,” Amy actually did receive treatment as well.
In 2008 Amy was told that she had developed “some emphysema” from smoking crack, and she began outpatient treatment at the London clinic. She became devoted to a healthier lifestyle. “[I’ve been] eating loads of healthy food, sleeping loads, playing my guitar, making music and writing letters to my husband every day,” she told Telegraph.
Unfortunately, addiction is a constant struggle. Demi was reportedly found unconscious in her home on July 24, and her friends called the police for medical help. Luckily, authorities made it in time, gave her Narcan, and brought her to the hospital for treatment. Sadly, Amy didn’t have that opportunity. She was already gone when her bodyguard found her on July 23, 2011. He actually believed she was sleeping until he checked on her again three hours later and found her in the same position. She was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. We hope Demi continues to get the help she needs in this difficult time.