On March 14, Demi Lovato celebrated a major milestone in her life and career. No, it wasn’t a shiny award or magazine cover: it was her 6 year anniversary of being sober.
The singer has been an advocate for mental health awareness and overcoming addiction, and she’s been public about her own struggles with both issues, but her ‘sober birthday’ was celebrated on stage during her performance in New York City on March 16. Lovato’s tourmates DJ Khaled and Kehlani stopped her set to share their love and support for the singer.
“First of all, I watched your documentary. I watched it a few times and every time I look at you…I say, ‘this is a strong queen,'” DJ Khaled told Lovato while the audience cheered. “What you’ve overcome, through trials and tribulations, through dark clouds—you’ve found the sunshine and now the sun is shining on you forever.”
“You give me hope,” Kehlani said, continuing Khaled’s message of support before launching into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” The crowd cheered
“I always talk to the audience and say something, but I feel like they said it for me,” Lovato said through tears. “Six years ago I was drinking vodka out of a Sprite bottle at 9 in the morning, throwing up in the car and I just remember thinking, ‘This is no longer cute. This is no longer fun, and I’m just like my dad.'”
Lovato went on to explain that she knew she had to change her behavior—something she discusses in depth in her YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated.
“I needed to ask for help and I want you to know that’s OK. Mental health is something we all need to talk about and we need to take the stigma away from it. Let’s raise awareness for it,” she continued before eventually thanking the audience for “saving her life.”