Sunday, 19 December 2010

Oops, Disney did it again

Being a child star is a tough business. All that pressure and adulation from an early age, temptation at every corner, and parents who are more interested in your earning potential than homework and bedtime.

The latest casualty of the celebrity conveyor belt is Demi Lovato, star of 'Camp Rock', Disney's outdoorsy alternative to its 'High School Musical' franchise. Like many other Disney alumni, Demi's real-life exploits don't quite correlate with her house-of-mouse persona.

As far as the public were concerned, the raciest thing she'd ever done was perform close harmonies with the Jonas brothers. So everyone's Mouse ears pricked up when it was revealed six weeks ago that Demi had checked herself into rehab for 'emotional and physical' issues.

Given the nebulous explanation offered to the press, it's hardly surprising that speculation was rife about what could have triggered the breakdown. It didn't take too long to find a paper trail that looked an awful lot like a rolled up banknote, or the photos of Demi on her way to Miley Cyrus' birthday accidentally revealing some self-harm scars on her inner arm.

All of Demi's close friends rushed to the nearest paying journalists to reveal the gory details of her bad break-up with Joe Jonas (too much alliteration in that sentence). They described her as a tortured mess; a claim that was soon backed up when it emerged that Demi had punched one of her tour dancers and given her a black eye.

But the final straw was the one rumoured to spend most of its time up her nostril, as a Texan college student called Brian Payne told Life & Style magazine that Demi had coke-snorting skills that would put Lindsay Lohan to shame. He said "I just remember her doing it [cocaine] as if she had been doing it for a long time. It didn't seem like something new to her."

With her career in tatters while she's barely old enough to buy the alcohol she's so fond of "chugging straight from the bottle", and a rumoured sex tape on the horizon, it's clear that Demi needs all the help she can get.

But forget about therapists, psychologists and trained counsellors. Disney has decided that the best person to guide their ever-growing stable of pubescent cash cows is ex-Mousketeer Britney Spears. They figure that because she had a meltdown so epic that it affected oceanic currents, she's best placed to advise future starlets on how to avoid the pitfalls of fame.

According to one studio insider, "Justin [Timberlake] and Britney have been asked if they would like to come in and speak to their younger counterparts about the tribulations of being famous so young. The Disney bosses think that if they have people to look up to they might stay on the straight and narrow."

Failing that, Britney can at least give them tips on how to accessorise a shaven head or attack an SUV without damaging an umbrella. She may be stuck in rehab, but perhaps Demi has had a lucky escape. 

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