Demi Lovato is looking back on past relationships with the benefit of hindsight.
Appearing on “The Howard Stern Show” Monday, the two-time Grammy nominee said she now views her early romances with older men as “gross,” acknowledging that they were motivated by “daddy issues” she’s since worked through.
“I think what I went through is that I had a phase of dating older men and dating older guys,” Lovato recalled. “I went through a phase where I was attracted to older guys because of my daddy issues, obviously.”
The singer didn’t identify any exes by name in the interview. Still, many interpreted Lovato’s comments as alluding to “That ’70s Show” actor Wilmer Valderrama, 12 years her senior.
The former couple met when Lovato was 17, and Valderrama was 29, though their relationship reportedly didn’t start until she’d turned 18. They split in 2016 after about six years together.
“I look back on the past and think, ‘That’s gross,’” Lovato said. “I was a teenager. And so, to me, that’s gross. If you are 50 and 60, you’re fine. Even 30 and 40, that’s not gross at all.”
“But I think that when you’re in those developmental years, you should absolutely not be with somebody that is older than you by that much,” she added. “It’s just unhealthy and toxic.”
Last year, Lovato seemingly referenced Valderrama on “29,” a song off the performer’s latest album, “Holy Fvck.”
“Far from innocent/What the fuck’s consent?” she sang on the track. “Numbers told you not to, but that didn’t stop you.”
These days, Lovato believes she’s moved past her daddy issues, pointing to her current boyfriend, Canadian singer-songwriter Jutes. The couple met in a recording session and began dating a year and a half ago.
“My boyfriend is a year older than me,” she said, noting that they’ve already discussed getting married and starting a family. “We’re growing together, and it feels so healthy.”
As to what the secret to their success was, Lovato explained: “There’s like this partnership there that is just so magnetic, and the way that we laugh together is just non-stop. So I think if you can find someone that makes you feel safe, that you’re so attracted to, that you laugh with constantly ― that’s the formula of a really great relationship.”
Watch a clip of Demi Lovato’s “Howard Stern Show” appearance below.