Demi Lovato Says She Had To ‘Own My Truth’ With New Song Supposedly About Ex Wilmer Valderrama

After previewing' 29' online, Demi Lovato released the full song ahead of her new album and explained why the track – rumored to be about her ex – was a way to 'put things into perspective.'

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Demi Lovato (she/they) spoke with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 for a conversation about her upcoming album, HOLY FVCK, and the phase of her career. During the chat, Demi, 29, addressed the song “29,” a track many suspected was about her ex-boyfriend, That ’70s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama. “When I turned 29, I remember I was on vacation, and I just realized I’m 29 now, and it put things into perspective,” Demi told Zane. “It put everything into perspective. And I’m very careful with the way that I answer these questions because I feel like the song says it all.

When Demi shared a snippet of the song on Aug. 19, listeners quickly picked up on the lyrics that described a relationship between a 17-year-old and someone who was the titular “29.” This led to speculation that the song was about Wilmer, 42, who was months away from turning 30 when he met a then-teenage Demo. “I don’t have to say too much, to be honest, but turning 29 was a huge eye opener for me,” Demi told Zane. “And then, going into treatment and having realizations led to my transformation, my release of the emotion that was put into this song.”

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a ton of anxiety about putting out this song,” Demi added. “I just said, ‘I have to go for this. I have to own my truth.’ Yeah. And I do still walk that line very finely. I’ve learned that sometimes saying less is more. And it’s taken me to 30 years old to maybe learn that, but here I am approaching the way that I express myself differently in front of the media because it’s okay to have boundaries.”

“Petal on the vine,” Demi sings at the start of the new song. “Too young to drink wine / Just five years a bleeder / Student and a teacher / Far from innocent / What the f-ck’s consent? / Numbers told you not to / But that didn’t stop you.” In the second verse, she sings, “I see you’re quite the collector / Yeah you’re twelve years her elder / Maybe now it doesn’t matter / But I know f-cking better / Now I know f-cking better.”

When sharing the song on her social media, Demi said that “29 is a record about the wisdom that comes with age. Out now.”

(Courtesy Of Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1)

Demi spoke about her relationship with Wilmer in a 2015 conversation with Complex, saying that he waited until she was old enough to pursue a relationship. “We shot a PSA together for the 2010 Census forms for Voto Latino,” she said. “We shot them at his house, so we actually met there. Of course, I was like, ‘Oh my god. You’re so attractive.’ And he was like, ‘You are not 18. Get away from me.’ Then we became really good friends, and he was there for me through a number of situations and breakups and whatever. Then as I got older and we grew closer, it was like, ‘Hey, maybe we should try this thing out.'”

She repeated this story in her 2017 documentary Simply Complicated. “I thought, ‘I have to have him,’ but I was only 17, and he was like, ‘Get away from me.’ When I turned 18, we started dating. I think it was love at first sight; we connected on a level that I’ve never connected with anybody before, he was just my rock, my everything.”

(Courtesy of Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1)

Wilmer and Demi were together until 2016. They announced their breakup in a joint statement, saying that though it was a “difficult decision for both of us, but we have realized more than anything that we are better as best friends.”

The couple seemingly remained on good terms following the breakup. Wilmer reportedly visited Demi two months following her near-fatal overdose. In 2020, when Wilmer got engaged to Amanda Pacheco, 31, Demi told Harper’s Bazaar that she “wish[es] nothing but the best,” before saying that “we’re not in each other’s lives” and that they hadn’t “spoken in a long time.”