Happy Birthday, Demi Lovato.
Today the former Disney star turned X Factor judge turns 21, a threshold age normally given to self-reflection and meaningful life questions. But on this special day Lovato’s more likely wondering: Why did I take those nude pictures of myself a few years ago and how did they get onto the Internet?
RadarOnline.com is claiming that inappropriate pictures of the actress-singer were offered to them for an unspecified fee.
The website alleges that more than 20 pictures of a young woman who appears to be Lovato were e-mailed to them last week. The brunette female in the photos apparently “looks identical” to Lovato and poses in various positions and states of undress. In one photograph, the subject is in the bathtub.
Currently holding forth as a celebrity judge on the talent-search series The X Factor, Lovato is a former child star whose TV career began at age seven as a cast member on Barney & Friends. She’s best known for starring on the Disney Channel sitcom Sonny With a Chance from 2009 to 2011 and her ongoing career as a pop singer.
But is it really Lovato in the nude pics? Radar does point out that the young woman in the photos appears to have the same body ink as Lovato, specifically, a ring of 12 blackbirds tattooed on her forearm.
The unnamed seller of the indiscreet snapshots is reported to have told Radar: “These are Demi. The collection I have show some nude, including face, some including parts of the body Demi is known for – tattoos, butt, chin. Then, I have pictures of her getting rowdy… I can guarantee you these photos are legitimately of Demi.”
If the racy photos turn out to be real, it could be a case of déjà vu all over again for Lovato.
Back in 2011, photos of the young star unclad were alleged to be circulating all over the Internet following a spate of celebrity hackings that saw nude photos of Scarlett Johanson and fellow Disney alumni Vanessa Hudgens surfacing online. Hudgens has referred to the nude photo incident as “the worst moment in my career.”
So far, Lovato’s representatives have declined to comment, but the brewing photo controversy undoubtedly has some Disney executives wincing anew.
Just yesterday, former child star Lee Thompson Young, 29, was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment following an apparent suicide. Young was best known for his role on the Disney Channel series The Famous Jett Jackson.
And for Lovato, the photo hubbub couldn’t come at a worse time, career-wise. Earlier this week, Fox announced that Lovato has signed to appear on Glee for “at least six episodes” in the role of Dani, a New Yorker pal of cast regulars Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera).
The role will mark Lovato’s return to a regular acting gig, but Glee is a family show and the existence of racy nude photos isn’t apt to endear her to mainstream America. This scandal is far from over.