Demi Lovato celebrates a big day

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Demi made a musical vow in 2011 – “Go on and try to tear me down. I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper.” Today she celebrates becoming a healthier and happier person because of the choices she’s made. The journey out of her self-described nightmare hasn’t been straight or narrow.

As she has since publicly revealed, the former child star secretly spent her teenage years grappling with substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, depression and self-inflicted harm as she rose to fame on the Disney track. In the shadow of her brightening limelight, the New Mexico native had reached a point where she was unable to “go an hour without using cocaine,” as she described to Refinery 29. “Prior to getting sober, I was one of those people who was like, I don’t give a f–k, whatever. And I used that as an excuse to do whatever I wanted,” Demi told the website.

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Her personal battles became a matter of public scrutiny back in 2010 when she punched backup dancer Alex Welch while on tour with the Jonas Brothers. She subsequently checked into rehab for three months for unspecified medical issues.

She remerged the following year with a newfound attitude on her life and the people in it. “I surround myself with people that are beneficial in my recovery and my recovery is still a daily battle and I definitely hang out with people that support me in making the right decisions,” Lovato told E! News in August 2011.

However, the addictions had not been entirely shaken. As the songstress admitted, she was susceptible to relapse and did. “I had to learn the hard way that I can’t do parties anymore,” she told Refinery29. “Some people can go out and not be triggered, but that’s not the case for me.”

So, she addressed the problem by reportedly checking into a sober living house where she remained for at least a year. In the process of continuing to patch her life back together soberly, Lovato released her fourth studio album, Demi, a departure from her old sound in exchange for something more authentic. The change paid off as the album garnered the songstress the most first-week album sales of her career.

Demi recognizes she’s not alone in her struggle. Substance addiction is a growing issue in the United States that impacts millions of people and their families. Demi harnesses her power to inspire change in the realm of mental health by being a prime example of what she preaches.

Do you or someone you know struggle with addiction or a mental health issue?

As Demi rose to new heights personally and professionally, her life was still not without its challenges.

“Since I went to treatment, there have been days when it’s felt really easy, and I’ve felt great about where I am. But then I have moments when it’s not. That’s life,” she said in a 2014 issue of Seventeen. “You can’t just take your mind and your body into the shop and get it fixed. It doesn’t come out repaired. It’s not like a car. It takes time—pace yourself. Every day is a new opportunity to change your life and be who you want to be.”

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Demi took her impassioned platform to Capitol Hill as an advocate for mental health reform.

“We have the power to make a difference and we have the personal experience needed to be taken seriously. We know what it means to have our lives or the lives of people we love get off track because of mental illness. We understand that mental illness can be serious and absolutely devastating. We also know mental illness can be treatable when we have access to appropriate, comprehensive care,” she said during a speech on the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Day of Action in Washington, D.C. in 2014.

According to a source, the star still has some struggles, but has the support of many people in her life. She has not had any slip-ups with substances and continues to stay on her course. The same source added, “It just gets better with each day. Demi has a strong mind and determination to keep it up. Each day is a celebration.”

The stats are staggering when it comes to mental health and addiction today. Check it out:

  • 1 in 5 young adults suffer from a mental illness, that’s 20 percent of our population but yet only about 4 percent of the total health   care budget is spent on our mental health.
  • Nearly 20 percent of those under 18 live with a parent (or legally responsible adult) who drinks heavily or has an alcohol problem.
  • Individuals treated for alcohol misuse are approximately 10 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not misuse alcohol, and people who abuse drugs have about 14 times greater the risk for eventual suicide.
  • Twenty-three million Americans age 12 or older suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.
  • In any given day, over 700,000 Americans seek treatment for alcohol or drug addiction.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health issues or addictions. Don’t try to deal with it on your own. Share your pain with a trusted friend or relative.

Reach out to us. Remember Utalk is about “YOU” talking to us. We can listen and connect you with resource to help and encourage you. Check out Larissa’s “Love and Discovery blog  ( for encouragement.

There’s no shame in seeking professional help. Decide that you want to live a healthier and happier life.


Best moments from the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards

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Just three weeks after the Grammys, some of music’s biggest names gathered once again for the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Sunday March 5th.

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Katy Perry kicked off the show with other performances including Big Sean, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and The Chainsmokers and Shawn Mendes singing some of the most popular hits from the year. In between performances during the two-hour long broadcast were notable moments – all of which were pretty good – from the star-studded event.

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Presenters for the show included Miley Cyrus introducing her undeniable mini-me, Demi Lovato, John Legend, Joe Jonas, Jason Derulo and DJ Khaled.

Here’s some of best moments from the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

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24k Innovation

iHeartRadio honored Bruno Mars with its prestigious “Innovator Award” previously given to Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and U2. Mars took the stage for the first time at the iHeartRadio Music Awards further raising the energy and the excitement graph of the show.

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Justin Timberlake telling haters what’s up

After winning the first — and one of the biggest — awards of the night for song of the year (“Can’t Stop the Feeling!”), Timberlake gave a rather comical speech that closed with a heartfelt message to fans who may be dealing with haters. “Anyone that is treating you unkindly and it’s only because they are afraid or they were taught to be afraid of how important you are,” he said. “Because being different means you make the difference, so f— ’em.”

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Best acceptance speech 

John Legend presented Coldplay with one of Sunday evening’s most buzzed about awards. Three cute kids, who first performed alongside Katy Perry during her opening number were enlisted by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin to thank the music biz for honoring the band with Best Tour. Legend even grabbed a chair for the backup dancer to stand on in order to reach the mic!

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DJ Khaled​ showing off his boy 

While introducing Ed Sheeran’s medley performance of “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” DJ Khaled had an adorable little sidekick to enhance his iHeartRadio Music Awards appearance: His 4-month-old son, Asahd. Although there was some concern for the boy’s little ears it was pretty hard not to gush over what a precious son he has.

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Ansel Elgort fanboying over The Chainsmokers

The actor-turned-DJ did the honors of presenting the award for dance song of the year, already professing his love for the Chainsmokers by busting into their record-breaking hit “Closer” before even announcing the winner.

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Halsey gives a shout-out to Blink-182

During her acceptance speech for dance song of the year with The Chainsmokers, Halsey had to make sure that the rock band she references in “Closer” got some recognition.

So if you happened to spend part of your Sunday night watching the iHeartRadio Music Awards, what were some of your fave moments? Any disappointments for you? How about an album you want to download?



The Oscars – the Best, Worst and the Blunder

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Did you watch the show live or catch it online after Sunday’s broadcast? Were you disappointed…surprised…how about the major gaffe everyone’s been talking about? This year’s show included all the elements of a memorable awards ceremony including impromptu singing, pranks, tributes, style, parachute drops and a huge mistake.

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The Opening
Justin Timberlake made a splash when he opened the Academy Awards with a performance of his Oscar-nominated Trolls song ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling.’ Hard to sit still when you hear this tune!

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Host Jimmy Kimmel recycled bit from his late night show and forgot a basic rule from first grade. Mahershala Ali wins an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight and Jimmy spends the night making fun of his name.

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A Tribute
Besides a moving Memoriam that brought many to tears – even before the end with the mention of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher – Jennifer Aniston fought back the tears as she paid tribute to Bill Paxton who died just hours before the ceremony.

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Some Bests
“Moana” star Auli’i Cravalho handled a run-in with a prop like a seasoned pro during her performance of her movie’s nominated song, “How Far I’ll Go.” Nothing says “the show must go on” like a 16-year-old continuing to belt her way through a song after a flag hits the side of her head. She still looked so happy to be there, not even the stray prop could ruin her night. The best recovery!

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Viola Davis gives the best acceptance speeches. Her Emmy speech in 2015 was amazing, and this Oscar speech was even better: poetic, powerful, personal. Explaining that stories need to be exhumed, she said, “There’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard.” What a line. The best nonpolitical thank you of the night!

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Seth Rogen crossed something off his bucket list by showing up in a DeLorean with Michael J Fox (hello ‘Back to the Future’), to present Hacksaw Ridge with the Oscar for Best Film Editing. The best style!

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Jimmy Kimmel surprised a busload of tourists and brought them out in front of the audience. They snapped selfies with the stars. “Gary from Chicago” was quickly crowned by social media as the star of the show, and even had Denzel Washington marry him and his fiancée Vicky. Hmm…is it legally binding? The best prank!
Kimmel made sure that his audience stayed well fed with regular parachute drops of Twizzelers, Red Vines and eventually cookies and donuts floating down from the ceiling. Yum!

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The Blunder
Umm, “La La Land” actually did not win best picture. That’s definitely a mess-up for the ages, but in terms of entertainment, maybe one of the greatest highlight of all time. Presenting the award, Warren Beatty somehow wound up with the wrong envelope — the one announcing Emma Stone’s best actress win — and he handed it off to Faye Dunaway, who quickly named the movie Emma Stone starred in, “La La Land,” as the winner. The whole “La La Land” team rushed the stage, giving the indispensible talkative speeches. Oops! “Moonlight” actually won, though some of the glow of their special moment was lost in the confusion and disbelief on stage. There are two accountants that you won’t be back at the Oscars any time soon.