Katy Perry gave fans witness to an emotional and raw therapy session on Friday night, where she discussed everything from her past struggles with her identity to the real motivation behind her pixie haircut.
The 32-year-old pop star has been livestreaming her life on her personal YouTube channel for the entire weekend as part of the release of her brand new “purposeful pop” album, Witness, showing everything she’s doing in the Los Angeles residence where she’s set up camp — from meditation and yoga classes to dance parties and evening sleeps.
On Friday, that included a tearful no-holds barred chat with Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh, host of Viceland’s The Therapist, which airs every Monday at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Together, the two discussed Perry’s desire to be live an more genuine life — something she’d been inspired to do after drawing an “authenticity” card from a desk of inspirational Angel Cards in the wake of her last album, 2013’s Prism.
Attempting to leave behind the heightened pop persona that catapulted the “California Girls” singer into stardom, Perry told Dr. Singh that she often feels divided between “Katy Perry, pop star” and “Katheryn Hudson,” the “dork” her family and close friends know.
The dichotomy is part of the reason Perry decided to embark on such a drastic pixie haircut. “I didn’t want to look like Katy Perry anymore,” she said — adding that the haircut had provoked hate and abuse from users on social media.
“I’m a bit more nerdy than everybody thinks I am, I’m a big goofball. The fantasy of Katheryn went into Katy and made this bigger than life personality,” Perry said, Australia’s News Corp reported. “That’s the point of this whole thing, if people can see I’m just like them then they can dream just as big,”
Tears (and mascara) running down her face, Perry also opened up about her past battles with alcohol — admitting that she had struggled with thoughts of suicide in the past, according to News Corp.
“I wrote a song about it,” she said according to News Corp. “I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts, feel that low and that depressed.”
She reportedly added: “You can be right or you can be loved. I just want to be loved.”
“Honestly, I was [surprised] for an artist of that magnitude to be so open and vulnerable,” Dr. Singh tells PEOPLE. “I’m really having that experience with the majority of people that I work with because I think that I create a safe space for them to be themselves where I’m not judging them.”
After the session, Perry “actually said ‘thank you for having such a safe space,'” he adds. “The whole session was about the dichotomy of the conflict between her professional persona of Katy Perry and her individual human life of Katherine Hudson. At the end, she said that she was going to integrate them.” The special one-hour episode of Katy Perry on The Therapist will air on June 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Viceland.
Perry’s fans were captivated, praising the star on Twitter for her honesty.
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“That therapy session With Katy Perry was so captivating and emotion… really opened my eyes,” wrote one fan.
“I’ve gained so much respect for Katy Perry,” added another. “Her therapy session and allowing the world to witness her… my heart breaks seeing her sadness.”
At the end of Perry’s session, Dr. Singh offered her a wooden bowl filled with a fresh stack of Angel Cards, MTV.com reported. The one she pulled out appeared to give Perry exactly what she was looking for: “Freedom.”
Perry’s 72-hour “Witness World Wide” YouTube special is running through Monday, culminating in a free concert for a select group of fans.
Witness is out now and available to stream and purchase.