Growing up a child star has its challenges — and perhaps no one knows that better than former Disney kid Demi Lovato and talk show host Drew Barrymore.
Working busy hours on set, gaining international fame, and making more money than most can imagine would make it pretty hard to obey a parent’s rules, right? Apparently so, since Demi admitted during the latest episode of their podcast, 4D With Demi Lovato, that their relationship with mom Dianna and stepdad Eddie De La Garza first began to deteriorate when Disney Channel fame struck.
Thinking back on their childhood, the pop star (who recently came out as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns), admitted it was the fact that they were the “breadwinner” that first affected their parent-child relationship, saying:
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“I noticed that when I came into the spotlight at a young age, and then was the breadwinner… there wasn’t a manual for my parents to read and it say, ‘Here’s what to do to raise a child star.’ They didn’t get that.”
Like the savvy and rebellious teen they were, the Camp Rock star used that to their advantage, remembering:
“So when they would try to ground me at 17, I would say, ‘I pay the bills.’ And I cringe now when I think about that attitude. But when the world is putting you on a pedestal, you kind of think that you could do no wrong.”
So does the 28-year-old still think that way? Definitely not! The Glee alum noted:
“As I’ve gotten older, I see my parents just as big kids themselves.”
But Drew, who’s had her own fair share of mom-daughter troubles growing up, suspected this rift was caused by the fact that Demi once only valued her parents for their wealth — or rather, their lack of wealth, explaining:
“I don’t think it’s the world and the pedestal. I think it’s the parent-child dynamic that gets completed reversed. And no wonder you wouldn’t take an order from an authority figure who’s no longer an authority figure because you’ve now reduced them down with finances and responsibilities.”
Insightful point! As the 50 First Dates lead learned in life, parents are worth way more than just money — in fact, it was the structure and rules they bring to a kid’s upbringing she longed so deeply for when she was struggling with her momma Jaid Barrymore. Drew admitted she discovered years after getting sent to rehab and overcoming her addiction struggles:
“I didn’t know I was angry at my mom. I didn’t know I resented her.”
The podcast guest continued:
“I also then felt so much guilt as if my inability to make a relationship with this woman was literally the most cruel and f**ked thing I’d ever done in my life.”
The 46-year-old furthered:
“I, for 20 or 30 years, felt toxic inside that I had to keep separating myself from her to gain autonomy and a structure and boundaries… and learn everything on my own. I realized that her and I were friends. We were not parent and child. Therefore, I had to completely relearn what [the] parent-child dynamic is. I couldn’t have a relationship with her until I figured that out for myself, and could come to her as a woman.”
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Luckily, through a lot of hard work and some time, the A-lister says she and her momma are in a “really good place” these days! But the lessons of her past have allowed her to make sure her relationships with kiddos Olive, 8, and Frankie, 7, whom she shares with ex-husband Will Kopelman, are healthier and more stable.
“I told my own kids, I will never be your friend. Like, I’m your parent. I’m not your friend. You can be friendly and do activities, it’s not that it has to be this strict relationship.”
Of course, she’s still got a lot to learn.
“When you’re a parent. You try to compensate with so much love and you’re almost afraid to get into the argument. Sometimes, you’re just trying to survive the day, so you let things slide, and then you’re like, ‘There should’ve been a boundary in that place probably a while ago, but I guess I’m only realizing that now.’”
The Met Him Last Night singer (who seems to have created a better bond with their parental figures in recent years, even quarantining with them in 2020) agreed parents should never be their kid’s “friend,” suggesting:
“That’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Wanna hear more?! Watch the full conversation (below)!
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[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN & Demi Lovato/YouTube]