Katy Perry Reflects on Her 2017 Breakup from Orlando Bloom: 'We've Gotten Through a Lot of Hell'

In PEOPLE's latest cover story, Katy Perry opens up about overcoming ups and downs with Orlando Bloom to find their best selves

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are happily awaiting the arrival of their daughter, but their road to building a family together hasn't been easy.

After a yearlong romance, the couple hit pause on their relationship in 2017 — and the singer tells PEOPLE in its latest issue that the breakup was necessary for them to become stronger together.

"It's really about an individual journey that makes the whole thing better. We both had to decide to go on that journey separately because it's not my half and your half that makes a whole," says Perry. "It's my wholeness and your wholeness that makes this whole thing happen."

On one of Smile's standout tracks, "Champagne Problems," Perry, 35, sings about overcoming their toughest times.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/katy-perry/" data-inlink="true">katy perry</a> on the cover of people magazine
Katy Perry on the cover of PEOPLE.

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Katy Perry streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

"It's a song that really talks about how intense it's gotten and how many things we have had to go through. Yes, we have problems. Everybody has challenges in a relationship," she says. "If it's a real relationship, it's going to challenge you into your best self. I really understand what Justin Timberlake said about, 'You're my mirror,' because it's true. They bring up all this stuff you can't really see about yourself."

Previously married to Russell Brand in her 20s, Perry says she and Bloom, 43, have found a steadiness that's become the foundation of their relationship.

"It's a never-ending evolution, so it's not peachy-keen jelly bean all the time, but it's nice to have been able to show each other all the good, bad and everything in between, and really fight for our best selves," she says. "Now, we just joke, like yeah, we still have things to work out — but champagne problems! We've gotten through a lot of hell."

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Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Filmmagic

As they prepare to welcome their baby girl (Bloom is already dad to 9-year-old son Flynn), Perry says she and the actor are continuing to learn from each other and grow together.

"Of course you admire someone that usually has traits you want more of. I want to be more spiritual and more centered, and that's him," she says. "He wants to be more organized and good with thinking about big picture stuff. Those are traits that we really aspire to learn about each other."

As for a wedding any time soon?

"I tried to do it this year and it poo poo-ed on me so ask me again in another year!" says Perry, who canceled a planned wedding this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I went through the whole freakin' process. Right now, we're just so focused on this [pregnancy], which is exciting. Let's hope [2021] is different than '20. Every time we try to make a plan, it switches. It's really all about going with the flow these days!"

For all the details on Katy Perry's journey to motherhood, life with Orlando Bloom and the strength and hope behind her upcoming album, Smile (out Aug. 28), pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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