Demi Lovato tells Drew Barrymore how being the 'breadwinner' impacted their family

Elise Brisco

Demi Lovato and Drew Barrymore are reflecting on their childhoods in the spotlight and the emotional toll it took. 

Lovato, who recently came out as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, appeared as a child on "Barney and Friends" and later went on to be the star of Disney shows and movies like "Sonny with a Chance" and "Camp Rock" in their teens. Barrymore starred in the Oscar-winning film "E.T." when she was 6 catapulting her to stardom.

Lovato, 28, and Barrymore, 46, opened up on Wednesday's episode of the "4D with Demi Lovato" podcast about how these prepubescent jobs affected their family dynamics. 

"I noticed that when I came into the spotlight at a young age, and then was the breadwinner … there wasn't a dossier, there wasn't a manual for my parents to read and it say, 'Here's what to do to raise a child star,' " Lovato said. 

The "Dancing with The Devil" singer said when their parents would try to ground them as a teenager, the child star would often reply with: "I pay the bills."   

Demi Lovato opens up to Drew Barrymore about family dynamics and growing up as a child star.

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"I cringe now when I think about that attitude," they said. 

Lovato said because the world was putting them on a pedestal, they thought they could do no wrong. Barrymore said she thought the attitude stemmed from reversed dynamics. 

"I think it's the parent-child dynamic that gets completely reversed," Barrymore said. "No wonder you won't take an order from an authority figure who's no longer an authority figure because you've now reduced them down with finances and responsibilities." 

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The "Charlie's Angels" star said while growing up as a child actor she lacked boundaries, something she didn't realize until having her two kids, Olive, 8,  and Frankie, 7. 

"When you're a parent, you try to compensate with so much love and you're almost afraid to get into the argument," she said. "So you let things slide and then you're like, 'Oh, there should've been a boundary in that place probably a while ago,' but I guess I'm only realizing that now."