Demi Lovato on Punching Her Back-Up Dancer: "I Felt Like She'd Betrayed Me"

The former Disney starlet opens up about the incident that made her realize she needed to go to rehab

Demi Lovato knows she's made some mistakes -- and unlike many stars, she's not trying to bury them under layers of PR. In a new interview with Elle, Lovato, 18, gets candid about the airplane fight that led her to realize she needed rehab.

"I was completely out of line all summer," admits Lovato, who was coping with depression and eating disorders while touring with the Jonas Brothers. "Just the worst attitude -- totally ungrateful."

The Disney starlet's breaking point came when she found herself walking up to her then-friend Alex Welch on an airplane and punching her in the face. Welch, a back-up dancer on the tour, claims that Lovato "had gotten in trouble" with her management for partying the night before -- and she blamed Welch for ratting her out. Though the dancer denies telling on Lovato, Demi's reason for attacking her fits Welch's story.

"I just felt like she'd betrayed me," Lovato says now. "That's the bottom line." Still, Lovato found herself horrified at her own behavior. "When you punch someone on a plane, enough is enough," she says. "Right after, I texted my mom and just said, 'I'm sorry.'"

At the time, fans speculated that Lovato's breakdown was connected to ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas -- whose then-girlfriend Ashley Greene had just joined them for a leg of the tour. Lovato admits that she hasn't spoken to Jonas since the incident, but says that her feelings for him were only one part of the equation.

"I wouldn't credit my meltdown to a guy," Lovato scoffs. "There was so much other stuff in my life."

That "other stuff," as we now know, included bipolar disorder; a struggle with anorexia and bulimia that started at age 9; and a cutting habit that began at age 11. Now that she's gone public, Lovato winces at past attempts to cover up her problems -- like the time her publicist claimed that her self-mutilation scars were marks from gummy bracelets.

"I don't think I would have been ready to talk about (my problems) then," she notes, "but I could’ve come up with something better than gummy bracelets."

However, Lovato is hesitant to say that she has recovered. In a recent interview with AOL Music, she confessed that her diseases are "things that I'm going to have to face every day for the rest of my life," and that she's "not going to be perfect." But with her new determination to move forward -- and her single "Skyscraper" debuting at No. 2 on the download charts -- she seems to be doing much better.

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