Katy Perry Shows Off Her Baby Bump and Opens Up About Overcoming Depression to Create ‘Smile’
Pop superstar and “American Idol” judge also talks songwriting, marrying Orlando Bloom, and squashing her feud with Taylor SwiftJuly 21, 2020
Howard excitedly welcomed pregnant pop star Katy Perry back to the Stern Show on Tuesday morning. The 35-year-old singer, songwriter, and “American Idol” judge has plenty going on right now between the arrival of her first child, the impending nuptials with actor Orlando Bloom, and her forthcoming album, so he was thrilled they could catch up on the air for the first time in over a decade.
“She’s got a new album ‘Smile,’ it drops August 14,” Howard announced as he greeted his guest.
“I’m about to drop a lot of stuff, actually. My uterus is dropping right now as we speak,” Katy responded with a laugh.
Katy and Orlando are expecting a baby girl. Considering she’s in her third trimester, Howard wondered if the couple had finalized their plan for where she might give birth.
“Of course I have a plan, but I think 2020 is the year where if you make a plan God laughs,” she said, explaining she was so excited for her interview she thought it might induce an early labor. “I was like, ‘It could be this morning. It could all start this morning!’” she said. “That would be so fun for you. We’d be going through it together.”
Howard was open to the idea, even offering to be her labor coach. She might not need too much coaching, however, thanks to everything Katy learned while helping deliver her sister’s children in what she described as a makeshift living room tub. “I pushed back the leg. I sifted out the poop. I saw the whole thing,” she recalled. “I’ve seen her raise them so beautifully with her husband and that’s kind of just been my education, honestly.”
Howard wondered if Katy was growing anxious as the due date inched closer.
“I’m not anxious at all. I feel super blessed. I’ve had a really easy one, physically,” she said. “I’m very active. I’m a mom on the move, as they say.”
While on the subject of her pregnancy, Katy dispelled a rumor Howard heard about actress Jennifer Aniston being the baby’s godmother. “That’s a wild one. I hope people stretched before that reach,” she said.
At one point, she showed off her bump for Howard and co-host Robin Quivers. “When that baby comes out they’re not going to give a fuck that their mom is Katy Perry,” she said. “They’re just going to be like, ‘Feed me!’”
“He talks about you all the time,” Katy said. “He thinks that you guys have such great rapport.”
“Well, we do!” Howard agreed.
“He has a joie de vivre about life,” she said. “He’s 43. He’s so fit … Orlando’s got [testosterone] of someone in their 20s. He’s all about like mind, body, spirit, and that’s what definitely attracted me to him.”
“We always look for what we lack and he has an effervescent joy. He walks in a room and he’ll light it up,” she continued.
Howard couldn’t let the subject pass by without briefly touching upon the infamous tabloid photos from 2016 featuring Katy and Orlando paddle boarding in Italy while his oar was hanging out in the open. Katy opted to wear clothes that day and Howard credited her for having foresight.
“In the back of my mind, I am Jim Carrey in ‘The Truman Show’ a little bit. I thought, you know, maybe there would be a chance,” she said, explaining she’s the more pragmatic one in their relationship and Orlando wasn’t too worried because nearly everyone else in Europe was naked.
She recalled the moment they learned the photos went public. “He was … talking about Twitter and some statistics about ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’ just, you know, in good fun. I was like, eye roll, eye roll, eye roll, and all of a sudden he is number one trending on Twitter.”
With over 250 million combined Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook followers, Katy is of course no stranger to being a social media trending topic.
“That is incredible power,” Howard said. “Do you ever kind of bask in that glory?”
“No,” she replied. “You should see how they treat you when you write ‘your’ in the wrong way.”
If anything, having a large social media following is a responsibility Katy takes seriously. “I stopped drunk tweeting in 2014 … It’s just like one of those conscious things of like, ‘Whoa, the tight rope is getting tighter.’ You do see it nowadays, everything will be held against you,” she said.
“Living under a microscope, you’ll never live perfectly to anyone’s standards,” she continued. “I didn’t have a lot of education and came from a very sheltered perspective, so I had to rewire my way of thinking and I had to do it on a public platform.”
“You’re right. I guess having 100 million followers is great but can also be kind of insane with everybody commenting on what you do,” Howard agreed.
“Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” she replied.
Considering everything on her plate as well as everything the world has endured in recent months, Howard wondered just how heavy her head felt these days. “Is it too much pressure, in a sense, to put out a new record?” he asked.
“This record has been interesting to put out in general because it’s during, you know, Looney Tunes times,” Katy responded. “It’s during a pandemic, a racial revolution, an election year. I’m delivering a baby delivery around the same time.”
“To be honest, this record is full of hopefulness and resilience and joy because it was made during a dark time when I was clinically depressed because I had a change in my career,” she continued, explaining her depression was at one point so bad she couldn’t get out of bed. “The last record didn’t necessarily meet my expectations, but it got me out of this loop of being a really desperate, thirsty pop star that felt like they had to be number one all the time and now I feel like I can create and be more dimensional as an artist and also as a human being.”
Howard asked Katy how Orlando dealt with her depression.
“He is the only one that can handle it,” she said. “I showed him all of it—and I still test him, he still shows up, he still is not fazed by it—and that is why he is perfect for me.”
At this point in her career, Katy has penned more hits than most artists will ever dream of, so Howard asked her to share the secrets of her songwriting successes.
“I’m a lyricist and a melody person, mostly,” she said. “I’m really actually influenced by a beat, by a sonic landscape of something that comes to me.”
“You just start humming something over it,” she said before breaking out into song on the air. “You’ll do a pass that’s just a melody like that and then you’ll fill in the lyrics.
Katy’s first pass at lyrics sometimes include literal gibberish, but that doesn’t embarrass her. “You have to dare to suck. No idea is a bad idea,” she said. “At the end of the song, you’ve gone through so many edits to get to this beautiful narrative.”
She said “Smile’s” titular track was no exception. “I did a ton of edits on that because it was really important for me to get that story right,” she said. “It’s the opus of the record and the journey I kind of went through for the past two-and-a-half years to get here.”
Another journey Howard and Katy covered Tuesday was her years-long feud with fellow superstar Taylor Swift. Perry assured him that relationship didn’t contribute to her depression and said their rift was largely overblown by the media. “Gossip in life can take the elevator but the truth takes the stairs. It just takes time,” she said.
“What I’m so grateful for is we did get to make up publicly and got to be an example of redemption for young girls,” she continued. “Now, we’re super friendly. I always wanted the best for her and now we can talk about the best we want for each other.”
Katy also pointed to a double standard in terms of how the media covers female celebrities. “You never see, like, articles about Ed Sheehan and Justin Bieber in a fight or Shawn Mendes and Niall Horan in a fight,” she said. “It gonna take audiences and media and artists a lot of just shifting of consciousness.”
Pop stars aren’t the only people she has butted heads with over the years. An outspoken critic of President Trump, Katy doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with her Republican parents.
“A long time ago, I had to make a choice to agree to disagree with my parents or not have parents,” she told Howard, saying she does her best to set feelings aside to keep open their lines of communication. “It’s important to have these conversations that are uncomfortable and full of healthy discourse because I think that’s how change can actually happen,” she said.
Of course, nothing brings a family together like television. Howard said he watches Katy every week on “American Idol,” where she serves as a judge alongside recording legend Lionel Richie and country star Luke Bryan.
“We have so much fun, I think you can tell on that show. The comradery between Lionel, Luke, and I is amazing,” Katy said, pointing out “Idol,” unlike other talent-based reality shows, actually has a knack for discovering stars. “I really can’t name a star from any other show,” she added.
Katy is reportedly the top earner amongst her show’s judges and Howard wondered if it led to awkward conversations on set. “Luke likes to have a jab,” she laughed before pointing out celebrity paydays are rarely reported accurately. “Those things are to be taken with a grain of Himalayan salt, for sure.”
Regardless, Perry is understandably proud of what she’s accomplished. “It’s exciting for a woman to be in that position … in that financial bracket,” she said. “I love the show and I invest in it wholeheartedly. It’s not something I do passively.”
“Are you gonna stick with the show?” Howard asked.
“Yeah, I’d love to. As long as they’ll have me, as long as I’m still having fun, and as long as it still means something,” she responded.
“American Idol” was renewed for another season, but with the global pandemic affecting every corner of the entertainment industry there’s no telling when it could return. The show isn’t the only question mark on Katy’s schedule right now, either—coronavirus concerns forced her and Orlando to reschedule their wedding slated for early summer.
Before saying goodbye, Howard asked her if she and her betrothed had set a new date. “We gotta get him up to the altar. This COVID is fucking everything up,” he said.
“We cannot plan any more in 2020 because those plans are always canceled,” Katy laughed. “Honestly, of course that will come in the future, but for now we just want to deliver a healthy child.”
When they do tie the knot, Howard wondered if Katy—born Katheryn Hudson—planned to take her fiancé’s surname.
“It’s not a bad last name to take,” she said.
“You’re going to do it?” he pressed.
“Yeah, eventually,” Katy concluded, adding, “If his name was, like, Butt Farts I wouldn’t do that … but, yes, Bloom is poetic.”
Katy Perry’s new album “Smile” arrives Aug. 14.