Demi Lovato on cutting ties with her exes, including Wilmer Valderrama and Joe Jonas: I realized it 'wasn't healthy'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Demi Lovato is elaborating on her decision to narrow her inner circle.

The singer and actress recently revealed that she no longer speaks to Selena Gomez or exes Joe Jonas and Wilmer Valderrama — and her change in management team has been well documented. She says that trimming her circle was part of an effort to “set boundaries” as part of treatment for her 2018 near-fatal overdose. Since then she’s cut out ‘toxic people” from her life.

Demi Lovato talked body image, depression, her overdose and exes on Jameela Jamil's I Weigh podcast. (Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

“I’ve had to cut a lot of toxic people out of my life over the last year,” Lovato admitted on Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh podcast. “I kind of used to have this mentality that if I had a negative experience with someone I always needed to mend it or I always needed to make things right.”

She continued, “The fact of the matter is, I’m not really friends with any of my exes today because I had to realize that that wasn’t healthy either. Trying to maintain close friendships with some of my exes just isn’t realistic. There’s actually a reason why people don’t do that.”

Lovato said, “For so long people would be like, ‘How are you still friends with your exes?’ I’d be like, ‘I don’t know! I just am.’ That was because I was afraid of fully letting go of people. Now that I’ve been able to fully let go of people, that is another thing I had to learn when it comes to cutting toxic people out of your life. If they’re an ex, it’s for a reason.”

She called "learning to set boundaries” the “steepest learning curve” she’s had. "I had to learn that by not setting boundaries, it put me in the position that I was in. Talking about every detail of every part of my life [in the press], whether it be a relationship or whether it be my recovery, nothing was sacred to me anymore."

Lovato, who is now dating The Young and the Restless star Max Ehrich, depicted the Jonas Brothers — including ex Joe — as well as the newly engaged Valderrama in her music video for anthem “I Love Me” about moving forward. She seemed to have cordial relationships with both Joe and especially Valderrama, whom she split from in 2016 after six years together. Joe publicly wished her well after her overdose, but Valderrama visited her in the hospital and rehab as she recovered.

Lovato spoke about not being friends with Gomez, the Jonas Brothers and Valderrama in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar. The comments about Gomez specifically — whom she said she loved but was no longer friends with — led to a call on social media for Lovato to be “canceled” with the hashtag “DemiLovatoIsOverParty.”

“I’ve been canceled so many times, I can’t even count,” Lovato told Jamil. “It just doesn’t even affect me anymore.”

She went on to ask, “Where is the forgiveness culture? I do, to a certain degree — there are some people, if you have used up your second and third chances ... you should stay canceled. But if you mess up and you apologize and come forward and say I’ve learned from this, then let that be an example for other people so they can change too.”

She added, “Cancel culture will not work unless people have some sort of mercy. You have to be able to do that. I think if it’s somebody who refuses to learn, just has the entitlement of I can never do any wrong and I can get away with this, then yeah go ahead and cancel them.”

Lovato talked about quarantine — how she’s with family, including her mother, Dianna De La Garza, who has been obsessively cleaning the house to pass the time. She compared social isolation to a “luxurious” form of  rehab — the luxury being she has a TV and phone, two things she wasn’t allowed in treatment, where her movements were also restricted.

As for her July 2018 overdose, Lovato said on the podcast that she is “still healing.” She said her “body survived something insane — a near-death experience” during the ordeal.

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