LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A spokesman for troubled teen idol Demi Lovato on Wednesday denied the Disney actress was being treated for drug or alcohol addiction, following sensational claims in the media that she had a history of heavy drinking and cocaine use.
The cocaine claims came from some celebrity publications a week after Lovato, 18, pulled out of a concert tour and went into rehab for what were described as long-standing “emotional and physical issues”.
“Demi Lovato is not in treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. As we have said since she entered treatment last week, Demi decided to seek help for emotional and physical issues she has battled throughout her life,” Lovato’s spokesman Jesse Derris said in a statement.
“She has taken this step in order to get her life in order. While we know many are interested in Demi and her life, we do ask for a modicum of privacy during this difficult time,” he added.
Representatives for the young star of Disney Channel’s “Sonny with a Chance” TV show and the “Camp Rock” movies said last week that she was bullied in school and had a history of eating disorders and cutting herself.
But the U.S. celebrity media has been awash with further speculation about Lovato’s sudden withdrawal from public life in the midst of a Latin American tour with pop band The Jonas Brothers.
Her troubles are seen as echoing the downfall of former Disney child actress Lindsay Lohan — currently in drug rehab for a fifth time after a summer spell in jail — and the transformation of Miley Cyrus, 17, from squeaky clean “Hannah Montana” star to a maker of raunchy pop music videos.
Lovato, who had briefly dated Joe Jonas earlier this year, is said to have punched a female dancer who she thought leaked stories about her partying during the tour.
Some of the reports about Lovato have ranged from rumors — flatly denied — that she is pregnant to claims she was depressed after the accidental death in July of a former boyfriend.
Lovato’s treatment has not affected production of “Sonny With a Chance”, which is not currently filming.
A source close to Lovato’s family told celebrity magazine People on Wednesday that the teen actress is “determined to get better. She recognizes that she has a difficult road ahead. Demi is committed to her treatment.”
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte