Demi Lovato vs. Catherine Zeta-Jones: Whose Treatment Announcement Was Smarter?

Linda Sharps

Demi Lovato is finally speaking out about what happened last fall, when she dropped out of a Jonas Brothers tour in order to enter an inpatient treatment facility. At the time, the 18-year-old Disney's star rep said only that she was dealing with "emotional and physical issues," but rumors swirled—she'd recently gotten in a physical altercation with a backup dancer, and there were reports she'd been cutting herself.

Lovato recently told Seventeen magazine about the depression, eating disorders, and self-harm that landed her in the Chicago treatment center. She described the pressure she felt to be perfect and the resulting nervous breakdown she suffered as a result.

In Lovato's case, she chose to wait on making the details of her personal struggles public, which I can completely understand. I wonder, though, if she'd been granted more privacy last fall if she'd disclosed the reasons for entering the facility?

I'm thinking of Catherine Zeta-Jones and the startling news that she'd recently entered a mental health facility to deal with her Bipolar II disorder. That announcement—which she controlled, having her rep send out a statement on her behalf—definitely pushed Zeta-Jones to the forefront of celebrity news this week, but I suspect there will be a brief media flurry (and the requisite "Bipolar Disorder: What IS It?" articles) and then it will rapidly die down.

Instead of rumors and tabloid musings on what exactly is going on with Zeta-Jones, she was up front about it, and everyone respects her for it. My guess is that she'll endure a shorter amount of public scrutiny as a result.

In comparison, Lovato's reps had to do a fair amount of damage control last year, repeating over and over that she wasn't in rehab for substance abuse issues. She was a gossip site topic for quite a while, with multiple "sources" providing sound bites on what might be wrong with her.

Lovato may be benefiting from the renewed public interest now—not only is she joining some efforts to reach out to similarly troubled teen girls, she's got an upcoming GMA and 20/20 interview. She hinted on Twitter that she was "heading back to the studio," so perhaps she's got a new album in the works. Maybe it was smart to wait until now to talk about her problems, for more than one reason.

What do you think is the best move for controlling media interest around a treatment stay? Announcing up front what's going on, or staying quiet?

Image via Flickr/kindofadraag

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