Katy Perry has spoken publicly about her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, in a therapy session livestreamed to hundreds of thousands of fans.
The singer announced on 9 June that she would spend four days sharing every aspect of her life on YouTube, in a Big Brother-style livestream celebrating the release of her new album Witness.
On Friday night, Perry sat down for a live therapy session with celebrity therapist Dr Siri Sat Nam Singh. During their conversation, Perry broke down in tears as she discussed everything from her difficult relationship with her parents to her struggles with drinking.
When Perry brought up her past problems with alcohol, a minder could be heard in the background “forcefully suggesting she stop the livestream”, news.co.au reports.
Perry refused, and went on to open up about having thoughts of suicide in the past.
“I wrote a song about it. I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts, feel that low and that depressed,” she said.
The song in question was 2013’s By the Grace of God, written in the aftermath of her split with ex-husband Russell Brand.
“That song is evident of how tough it really was at a certain point,” Perry told Billboard in 2013. “I asked myself, ‘Do I want to endure? Should I continue living?’”
Perry, born Katheryn Hudson, grew tearful as she spoke to Dr Singh about her struggle to reconcile her public persona and private personality.
“Look at Katy Perry, she’s so glamorous,” she said. “She’s rich, she’s luxurious, successful, and like, [when I was] Katheryn Hudson… I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have any influence, I didn’t have any anything. So it’s a bit hard to go back there.”
This tension, Perry said, had manifested itself in her recent decision to cut her long dark hair into a peroxide crop.
“I’m really strong as Katy Perry, and sometimes I’m not as strong as Katheryn Hudson,” she said. “People talk about my hair, right? And they don’t like it, or they wish that it was longer.”
Read more: How to find the right therapist
She continued: “I so badly want to be Katheryn Hudson that I don’t even want to look like Katy Perry anymore sometimes.
“That is a little bit of why I cut my hair, because I really want to be my authentic self, 100%. And it hurts when I don’t feel like I can.”
Perry was applauded on social media for her decision to livestream the therapy session, with many of her fans praising her for contributing to the de-stigmatisation of mental health issues. However, others questioned whether it was entirely healthy for her to have publicised such a private interaction.
Ultimately, however, Perry insisted that she wanted something positive to come out of her streaming her conversation with Dr Singh.
“That’s the whole point of this whole thing,” she said. “If people can see that at the end of the day I’m just like them, then they can dream just as big.”
You can watch Perry’s emotional therapy session in full below.