The Untold Truth About Demi Lovato’s Mother Dianna De La Garza

The following article contains references to addiction, eating disorders, and abuse.

Demi Lovato is no stranger to the limelight. The singer with over 100 million followers on Instagram made her way on television screens as a child on “Barney & Friends” before becoming a teenage sensation on the Disney Channel. And by 2017, the “Cool for the Summer” songstress was a full-fledged superstar with the release of her five-time platinum single “Sorry Not Sorry” and critically acclaimed album “Tell Me You Love Me.” The success, however, was met with obstacles along the way.

In the documentary “Simply Complicated,” the two-time Grammy Awards nominee revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18. She also spent her late teenage years in and out of treatments for an eating disorder and substance use. After six years of sobriety, Lovato relapsed in 2018. In 2020, she made her triumphant comeback performing “Anyone” during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards and singing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV. In 2021, the “Will & Grace” guest star dropped her seventh studio album “Dancing With the Devil… The Art of Starting Over” and a four-part documentary titled “Dancing With the Devil.”

While the “Confident” singer’s journey has been well-documented, Lovato’s mother has also lived a life worthy of a biopic. Read on to discover the untold truth about Dianna De La Garza.

Demi Lovato inspired her mom to pen a memoir

In 2018, Dianna De La Garza published her memoir “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story.” The author shared with “Good Morning America” that her middle child, Demi Lovato, inspired this endeavor. As De La Garza told Michael Strahan, she was moved by how Lovato was “open and honest and vocal about her struggles” in 2017’s “Simply Complicated.” She added, “I saw how much it was helping people everywhere and… when I was writing my book I thought ‘I want to be honest and open and tell the whole story and I want to be a part of that.'”

Later, De La Garza told the Dallas Observer, “I do want people to see my story [and] know that they’re not alone.” As soon as the memoir hit the shelves, the “I Love Me” singer tweeted, “I’m so proud of my momma,” and added, “you’re my hero.”

Cheerleading didn't line Dianna De La Garza's pockets

Years before she became Demi Lovato’s mom, Dianna De La Garza sported blue and white pom poms as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. She joined the squad the 1982 NFL season, as pictured on the Dallas Cowboys official website. In De La Garza’s memoir “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” the former cheerleader called it “one of the most amazing experiences of [her] life.”

The former America’s Sweethearts member further divulged the experience taught her “how to treat fans with respect and how to be a role model in the spotlight.” In addition to public appearances, members then spent about 20 hours a week rehearsing their game day routines to only receive less than $15 a game. “But none of us did it for the paycheck. We did it because we love our Cowboys,” De La Garza wrote. This sentiment was shared with Lovato, who appeared on an episode of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. “I grew up rooting for the Cowboys, I still do,” she said. “My mom was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, so I grew up wanting to be one.”

Dianna De La Garza's first marriage was volatile

In “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” Dianna De La Garza recalls a time when a heated altercation between her and her first husband, Patrick Lovato, turned bloody. De La Garza remembered confronting Lovato about his alcoholism, and in response he threw her across the room to where her “face smashed against a leg of the sofa.” She then tried to make a run for it but when Lovato slammed the front door on her, evidently, two of her fingers “sliced open like a piece of fruit.”

A surgeon reattached De La Garza’s pinkie finger, however, he said her wedding ring finger had “too much damage” and tossed the remains. “I didn’t know what was worse,” De La Garza lamented in the memoir, “the throbbing pain from the tourniquet squeezing my arm, the disappointment that my one finger would never look normal; or the realization that a small, damaged part of me was discarded like garbage.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Demi Lovato's mother eventually found 'relief'

In 2018, Dianna De La Garza told KTLA 5 what she hopes readers take away from her memoir: “No matter what you are going through as a family, there’s always hope … and that there’s always help.” De La Garza went on to implore people to seek help when necessary “because sometimes your family’s well-being depends on it.” One of the most dire situations De La Garza fell into was when her marriage with Patrick Lovato turned abusive.

In “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story” De La Garza recounted calling the Women’s Shelter of Irving multiple times when she contemplated leaving Lovato. Eventually, she adhered to the shelter’s advice and took the kids with her to hideout at her grandparents’ lake house. When the smoke cleared, De La Garza made a compromise with Lovato that she and her then two kids would move back to their apartment under the condition that Patrick “find an apartment of his own miles away.” By the time she moved on to marry Eddie De La Garza, Lovato was jealous and, at times, left threatening voicemails and even showed up to their house unannounced.

After Patrick died of a heart attack in 2013, Dianna said she felt “mostly relief,” adding, “To this day, regardless of all our ups and downs, I am forever grateful to him for giving me my amazing daughters Dallas and Demi.”

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Disciplining a Disney star was never easy for Dianna De La Garza

Chatting with KIIS 1065’s Kyle and Jackie O in 2015, Demi Lovato recalled the time her mother, who she described as “a feisty little red head,” threatened to call the police on her after she took her big sister’s car for a joyride when she was 13. But as Lovato got older, so did Dianna De La Garza’s threats.

De La Garza admitted in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story” that it was difficult trying to discipline the “Stone Cold” songstress after she turned 16. “[Demi] brought her own car and now was running off most evenings without any explanation,” she wrote. During that time, Lovato was a star on Disney channel riding off the fame of “Camp Rock” and playing the titular character on “Sonny with a Chance.” So even when De La Garza told the “Dancing with the Devil” vocalist Disney could fire her if she didn’t get to work on time due to her late night theatrics, the threats didn’t phase her middle child. 

On a 2021 episode of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” Lovato and the host opened up about how complicated a parent-child dynamic can get when the child is a celebrity. “Well, I pay the bills,” Lovato remarked. “What are you gonna to do?”

Dianna De La Garza was raised in a strict household

In “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” Dianna De La Garza shared that she was raised in a Christian-Pentecostal household where she “wasn’t allowed to wear pants, apply makeup, have short hair, attend dances, or go to the movie theater.” Living under the roof of Sue Hart and Reverend Perry Hart, De La Garza said shared on “Millennial Hollywood with Dakota T. Jones” that her family was very involved with their church. There, she played piano and her parents sang. Things took a turn when she began to take a liking to country music and tried to emulate the looks of Barbara Mandrell and Tanya Tucker, however. “It struck a sour note with my parents’ beliefs,” she wrote.

Like many teenagers, De La Garza wanted to fit in as a high school freshman. In her memoir, she recalled leaving home in one outfit, dashing to her school’s bathroom to give herself a complete makeover and, before she headed home, scrubbing off her makeup and hopping back into her “acceptable attire.” She further lamented, “For an entire year, I continued the ruse without a single person questioning what I was doing.”

As a country music artist, Dianna De La Garza was 'extraordinarily happy'

As Dianna De La Garza recounted in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” her music career and life changed in a big way when she was in high school. When the Texan was offered a position to sing secular music at the Six Flags Over Texas theme park, her father gave her an ultimatum: She could either stay home and continue to help at the church or pursue the opportunity and find a new place to live in the process. De La Garza chose the latter and left the nest at 17.

By the time the aspiring country singer was 21, she recalled opening up for country stars like Reba McEntire and George Strait. De La Garza also wrote about the huge honor she received after releasing an album that played through the nation’s Southwest airwaves: In the town of Clovis, New Mexico, she was awarded the key to the city and had a day named after her. In her book, she wrote that she “was extraordinarily happy and considered myself to be the luckiest girl alive.”

Dianna De La Garza made amends with her parents

Dianna De La Garza mentioned in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story” that she had a strained relationship with her parents after leaving home at 17 and, eventually, secretly getting hitched to Patrick Lovato. However, in a 2018 interview with Millennial Hollywood, the former country singer revealed she made amends with her parents. “We have an amazing relationship now,” she shared. Throughout the memoir, De La Garza lamented she wasted “so much time pushing [her] parents away” and wasn’t “mature enough” to understand her parents’ good intentions. By 2018, it appeared the aforementioned situation was water under the bridge as De La Garza shared a filtered selfie with her mother on Twitter to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

In 2020, De La Garza’s father died and, as Demi Lovato wrote on Instagram, the longtime preacher was “sick for a couple years” prior to his death. In an emotional post about her father, the former church pianist captioned a selfie of the two on Instagram, “Sure am gonna miss you, Chief. I’m broken-hearted but happy that you’re no longer suffering here on earth. You were the best Daddy in the whole world. I’ll love you forever.”

Dianna De La Garza struggled with an eating disorder

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what brings out an eating disorder,” Dianna De La Garza said on a 2018 episode of “Good Morning America,” before noting that there were “things that happened to [her]” throughout her life that were triggers. As she remembered in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” she would “eat as little as possible” during her time as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. The Texas native feared she’d get benched if she couldn’t fit her uniform. Plus, there was an image she was chasing with her body shape. “I felt I had to be thin to be beautiful and successful,” the country singer said in 2017 documentary “Simply Complicated.”

It wasn’t until De La Garza checked into a treatment center in 2011 that she acknowledged her eating disorder stemmed from her childhood. “I had grown up in a home where dieting was the norm, and that put me in a high-risk situation for developing eating issues of my own,” De La Garza wrote in her memoir. She also found out her mother and maternal grandmother also experienced disordered eating. De La Garza explained in Demi Lovato’s 2017 documentary that she didn’t address this with her daughters because she was so oblivious to her own situation. She also lamented that she overlooked obvious signs that Lovato also struggled with body image issues at an early age.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA’s Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Dianna De La Garza has spoken about her own substance use

Throughout “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story” Dianna De La Garza opened up about her own history of addiction. “I didn’t like to drink, but when I did, I went from zero to sixty fast, often ending up passed out or sick,” she wrote.

De La Garza also started taking Xanax. A doctor prescribed her the medication for when she sensed “an attack [was] coming,” and as she shared in her memoir, she took it when she was worried she’d miss a flight, when she read a tabloid criticizing how she raised her daughters, and when any stress about the showbiz industry or her daughters built up.

In 2018, De La Garza said on the “Millennial Hollywood” podcast that when she entered a treatment center they confiscated her bottle of Xanax, telling her, “What we’ll do, we’re going to give you this as you need it.” She said that throughout treatment they were able to minimize her dosages so she was no longer addicted or at risk to suffer a severe withdrawal side effect, such as a stroke, from an immediate stoppage. “I thank God everyday that I wake up that I’m not that person anymore — that I don’t have to rely on that,” she told host Dakota T. Jones. “It’s a feeling of freedom.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Following her daughters' lead, Dianna De La Garza got help

In “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” Dianna De La Garza wrote about going to a treatment center in 2011 after her two eldest daughters went. She recalled to KTLA 5, “I had helped everybody else get to where they needed to be, and then, all of a sudden, I just had this breakdown moment and everything crashed in on me.” De La Garza elaborated on the broadcast that she was “depressed” and her kids said, “We got help for our issues. Now, Mom, it’s your turn.”

While spending several months at the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, she grew close to her fellow patients. She wrote in her memoir that she decided to go out with a “full-blown disco party” on her last day — with music bumping and the only lighting coming from handheld flashlights. Describing the scene she said she saw “residents and counselors alike jumping off the couches.” The ex-cheerleader said on “Millennial Hollywood with Dakota T. Jones” that her and her daughters seeking help “was the best thing that could have ever happened to [her] family.” It sure seems like she ended her stay with a bang.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Dianna De La Garza took Selena Gomez to auditions

On an episode of the “Millennial Hollywood with Dakota T. Jones” podcast, Dianna De L Garza shared that Selena Gomez and her mother, Mandy Teefey, shared “some of the most magical times” with the Lovato-De La Garza family and they’ll “always be best friends.” What was serendipitous was how both families were introduced to each other while they were standing beside each other in line, amongst 1,400 auditionees for “Barney & Friends,” as told in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story.” From that moment on, Demi Lovato and Gomez were “like sisters,” Dianna told People, before adding, “she ended up going to a lot of auditions with us.”

Furthermore, Dianna De La Garza shared in her memoir that in 2007 Teefey invited her and her three girls to bunk up with them in a downtown Los Angeles loft they were renting so they’d have a place to stay during pilot season. “We had slumber parties every night,” Lovato’s mom told Jones. When Gomez was starring on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” it turns out that Dianna’s then two-year-old daughter, Madison De La Garza, learned how to read from Gomez’s scripts. Gomez also reaped some benefits too. “Selena would come over to our house and do homeschooling with Dallas and Demi, and actually Madison,” Dianna said on the podcast.

She uses her platform to speak out about the opioid crisis

After Demi Lovato’s 2018 fentanyl overdose, Dianna De La Garza became an active advocate for raising awareness about the opioid epidemic. “I can honestly say I didn’t know what an opioid was at that time,” she shared during an appearance on Better Together with Maria Menounos that same year. “We’ve all heard the word, but I didn’t know anything about it until I started researching.”

The former country singer also spoke out about the opioid crisis on MSNBC. “Addiction is actually a disease. It’s not a moral choice, like so many people may have been led to think,” De La Garza said on the broadcast. “The addiction that is fueling the opioid crisis is something that needs to be looked at.”

In 2019, De La Garza served as a spokesperson for Operation Parent in a public service announcement titled “Prescription Drug Misuse.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

All three of Dianna De La Garza's daughters are in showbiz

Like mother, like daughter, Dianna De La Garza’s three girls aspired to be in showbiz as kids. In her documentary “Simply Complicated,” superstar Demi Lovato said she began singing when she competed in beauty pageants at five years old, and in “Falling with Wings: A Mother’s Story,” Dianna wrote about Madison De La Garza’s early success on the small screen as Eva Longoria’s daughter on ABC’s hit series “Desperate Housewives.” “Most people my age didn’t know who Demi was, but they all got excited when I mentioned Madison’s name,” Dianna recalled. 

She went on to share that even before Demi and Madison, it was the eldest daughter, Dallas Lovato, who constantly booked commercials as a kid. The former country singer saw potential in a young Dallas when she sang “God Bless America” in front of an audience, where Dianna told herself, “Her natural instincts confirmed what my heart already knew–showbiz was in her future.” In addition to landing various roles in TV shows and movies, Dallas went on to become an acting coach — yes, that was her on an episode of “Dance Moms.”

As Dianna told Picto Films, chasing fame meant sacrificing money, time, and vacations; Madison said in “Simply Complicated” her early memories consist of road trips to auditions. So when the family of five (pictured) were all present at Dianna’s 2018 book signing in Los Angeles, she told “Millennial Hollywood” it was special because they “never, as a family, seem to be in the same place.”

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