Demi Lovato’s mother spoke candidly for the first time this week about her daughter’s struggle with sobriety and the fateful July day that almost ended her life.
“I literally start to shake a little bit when I start to remember what happened that day,” she said.
An unidentified friend of Lovato’s called paramedics to the 25-year-old star’s home in the Hollywood Hills around noon on July 24. When they arrived, they found Lovato unconscious and promptly treated her with naloxone, an opioid-blocking medication used primarily in the treatment of overdoses, and known commonly by the brand name Narcan, according to NBC News.
De la Garza revealed that she learned about her daughter’s condition only after receiving a flood of text messages that contained prayers for the entertainer and her family. It was ultimately Kelsey Kershner, Lovato’s assistant, who called de la Garza directly to deliver the awful news.
“I said, ‘Kelsey, what’s going on?’ And the next words that came out of her mouth are words that just are so difficult to hear as a parent. She said, ‘Demi overdosed,’” de la Garza recalled. “So, I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say. It was just something that I never, ever expected to hear, as a parent, about any of my kids.”
De la Garza said that she knew the situation was dire after Kershner told her that Lovato was conscious but not speaking. After she delivered the news to her other two daughters, Dallas and Madison, they went to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles to be by Lovato’s side. When they first saw her, however, she “just didn’t look good — at all,” de la Garza recalled.
“She was in bad shape,” she said. “But I said to her, ‘Demi, I’m here. I love you.’ And at that point she said back to me, ‘I love you, too.’”
“From that point on, I never allowed myself to ever think that things weren’t going to be ok,” de la Garza added. “I prayed, of course, all the way to the hospital, and my faith is strong, and I think that was one of things that got me through the next couple of days when she was in critical condition. We just didn’t know for two days if she was going to make it or not.”
After spending several weeks in the hospital—ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama reportedly visited the singer often— Lovato reportedly entered a rehab facility sometime in August, the name and location of which have not been disclosed, according to CNN.
De la Garza credited her daughter’s fans—and their prayers—for helping Lovato recover.
“I just feel like the reason she’s alive today is because of the millions of prayers that went up that day when everybody found out what was happening,” de la Garza said. “I don’t think she would be here if it hadn’t been for those prayers and the good doctors at Cedars-Sinai. They were the best. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to save her life.”
As for Lovato’s current condition, de la Garza said that her daughter is “happy,” healthy,” and “doing really well.”
“She’s working on her sobriety, and she’s getting the help she needs,” she continued. “That in itself encourages me about her future and about the future of our family.”
Lovato’s road to recovery has been a long one. The singer, who celebrated six years of sobriety back in March, seemingly revealed she had relapsed with the release of her single “Sober” in June.
Some of the lyrics are bluntly clear:
Momma, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before
Lovato returned to social media on August 5, two weeks after her overdose, to thank her fans for their continued support and to announce that she would be taking time to “heal and focus on [her] sobriety and road to recovery.”
De la Garza concluded the interview by offering her thoughts on the larger opioid crisis currently gripping the United States’ current opioid crisis, as well as her desire to use the platform provided by her daughter’s fame to help those in need.
“The opioid crisis in America is at an epidemic level, and people don’t understand that until they start researching it,” she said. “After this happened, I started researching and looking into how opioids are killing our kids. It’s happening, I think, it’s every 15 minutes someone dies of an overdose. It’s not just the kids, either—it’s grown-ups. It’s mothers. It’s fathers.”
More than 49,000 people suffered fatal opioid overdoses in the country in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Additionally, overdoses have become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old.
“It’s something that, if it has not touched your family’s life right now, before this gets any better, it has every chance of doing that,” De la Garza said.
[Photo Credit: Getty]