The hourlong discussion with the host of “The Therapist,” a reality show about mental health, focused on Perry’s self-image. The singer described how she felt caught between two personas: the pop superstar known as Katy Perry and a person embodied by her given name, Katheryn Hudson, known to close friends and family.
At times, Perry told Singh, she also battled alcoholism. That struggle led to suicidal thoughts and inspired her song “By the Grace of God,” which appeared on her 2013 album, “Prism.” But the singer said that she felt “ashamed” about her thoughts of self-harm.
“Because, of course, Katy Perry’s so strong,” she said, referencing her onstage persona, “I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts, that I’d feel that low and that depressed.”
Perry noted that she’s been in regular therapy for five years, attending with her family. Through the conversation, she recalled her conservative, “born-again Christian” upbringing in Santa Barbara, California ― the singer moved to Nashville as a teenager to pursue a career in music ― and said that therapy has helped her family become closer.
Oscillating between tearful introspection and channeling her larger-than-life pop star personality, Perry noted that she’s more of a “goofball” than people believe ― and more misguided, noting that she only recently realized hugging strangers isn’t “a sexual thing” ― but she has been struggling to reconcile her public and private image.
“I’m really strong as Katy Perry, and sometimes I’m not as strong as Katheryn Hudson,” she said.
The singer appeared particularly upset at mention of her hair, which she cut earlier this year and credited to damage caused by bleach. During the livestream, Perry said she was partially inspired to change her appearance because “I so badly want to be Kathryn Hudson that I didn’t want to look like Katy Perry anymore.”
But through her regular therapy sessions, the singer has made mental health a priority.
“I really want to be my authentic self, 100 percent,” she said.
Watch the whole clip below.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.