Youtuber Lia Marie Johnson broke her silence and posted a ten-minute-long video revealing her struggle with drug addiction, suicide attempt, and the infamous Instagram live.
The singer detailed her journey as she struggled with multiple abusive relationships, in hopes of starting life with a blank slate and helping others who are going through similar experiences.
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Who is Lia Marie Johnson?
Lia Marie Johnson was born on 23 November, 1996 in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and has four sisters and a brother.
Johnson embarked on her YouTube journey in 2007 when her mother started posting videos of young Johnson singing at talent shows and church recitals. She took control over the output of her channel in 2009, posting content including comedy sketches and musical performances.
In 2010, Johnson joined Fine Brother’s Kids React series as a recurring guest, which catapulted her to fame and success, drawing a lot of traffic to her channel. She appeared on the Nickelodeon show iCarly when she was about nine and was in AwesomenessTV when she was 15.
Her career took alarming turns in 2018 when in her Instagram live she appeared under the influence of multiple substances. While she mentioned in one video that she had schizophrenia, her behaviour was unchanged in the Instagram lives that she did in the next couple of years.
Johnson has alluded to drug use with her song DNA. The song is about drugs and how they can be used as a means of escape from reality.
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Johnson broadcasted on Instagram Live in a video of what appeared to be her intoxicated in a room in January 2020. An elderly man named Steven Wetherbee was heard speaking and encircling Johnson and kissing her throughout the live feed. Johnson’s close friends claim that he has been her producer since she was 15 years old.
The older man then keeps asking Johnson if she’s on Instagram and tells her to remain off it because it could harm his job. Later that evening, in a stream, a male voice inquires about Instagram once more, then inquires about Instagram Live, before removing Johnson’s phone. Before pausing and then coming to a conclusion, his face is briefly seen on the broadcast.
She kept on posting music on her channel, while keeping her life mostly private until recently, when she took to her YouTube channel and posted a video, taking her “narrative back.” Johnson spoke out about the frequent violence she experienced and said that her producer at the time had abused her during the January 2020 Instagram Live incident. She was lured out of her sobriety by Wetherbee, felt trapped and unable to escape the circumstance, and believed that going on Instagram Live was a scream for help.