Demi Lovato appeared to imply that her past relationship with Wilmer Valderrama — who is 12 years her senior — was because of her “daddy issues.”
During an appearance on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show on Monday, September 11, Lovato, 31, said it was “gross” that she dated older men at such a young age. “I think what I went through is that I had a phase of dating older men and dating older guys,” she said. “I went through a phase when I was attracted to older guys because of my daddy issues, obviously.”
Lovato and Valderrama, 43, dated on and off for six years from 2010 to 2016.
“For me, I was a teenager,” she told radio host Howard Stern. “I think that when you’re in those development[al] years, you should absolutely not be with somebody that is older than you by that much. It’s just unhealthy and toxic.”
In her 2017 documentary, Simply Complicated, Lovato recalled meeting Valderrama when she was 17 years old and he was 29.
“I met him on January 11 of 2010, and it was at a PSA shoot at his house for the 2010 census forms. To be honest, I only did it because I heard it was at his house and I thought he was really cute,” Lovato confessed. “I didn’t really care about the census forms. But [when] I met him and I laid eyes on him for the first time, I was in hair and makeup and he came in and sat down and I was like, ‘I love this man and I have to have him.’”
Lovato asserted that they began dating after she turned 18, referring to their connection as “love at first sight.”
Despite their breakup, Lovato said in Simply Complicated that her “heart is always with Wilmer.”
“You don’t share six years with somebody and not give them a piece of your heart and vice versa,” she explained. “I’m pretty sure I am not going to meet anybody that compares to him, but I’m trying to keep an open heart and an open mind when it comes to that.”
However, Lovato seemingly changed her tune last year when she released the song “29” from her Holy Fvck album. While she never confirmed that the song was about Valderrama, fans were quick to speculate upon hearing the lyrics.
“Finally 29 / Funny, just like you were at the time,” she sings. “Thought it was a teenage dream / just a fantasy / But was it yours or was it mine?”
Lovato is now “in an amazing relationship” with music producer Jordan Lutes, who she began dating in summer 2022. “We’re growing together and it feels so healthy,” she shared during her Howard Stern Show appearance.
“I can say with confidence that my daddy issues aren’t anything that are inside of me anymore,” Lovato added. “And I think there’s a few signs to that. I’m with a partner that is my age, essentially.”