I am not sure what to expect from Katy Perry, one of the biggest pop stars of all time, a woman who appears to have had every facet of her life, image and career strategically managed for more than a decade and who various industry friends describe to me as “feisty”. Yet the first thing that the third most followed person on Twitter (behind Barack Obama and Justin Bieber) says, as she adjusts her bra, is: “Hold on one second, my boobs are so big. It’s, like, every day I wake up and it’s another bra that doesn’t fit.” She stands up, turns to the side and lifts her dress, showing me her eight-month pregnancy bump. “Sorry about that.”
It’s mid-July, the weight of the pandemic still looms and I speak to Perry, who is at her Los Angeles mansion, via Zoom. She has an area set up especially for interviews, the backdrop is a gold curtain. Blond hair scraped back and wearing a floaty Zimmermann dress, Perry eats avocado on toast and, over 80 minutes, happily talks about love, therapy, medication, impending motherhood, feeling “blessed”, the benefits of an alkaline diet to ward off cancer (oh dear) and her perfectly pop-drenched new release, Smile — her fifth album, the first in three years, and a record she describes as both melancholy and hopeful. It’s full of surefire anthems including her recent hit, Daisies, and empowering one-liners (“I am resilient/ born to be brilliant”), finishing with a gorgeous two-minute ballad, What Makes a Woman. It’s good to have her back.
Back to that bump, though. It’s the first baby for her (she’s 35) and the second for her fiancé, the British actor Orlando Bloom, 43, who has a nine-year-old son, Flynn, with his ex-wife, the supermodel Miranda Kerr. Perry announced her pregnancy in March via a music video, the last shot showing her cradling her rounded belly and looking positively ethereal. A month later she revealed that it’s a girl by posting a picture of Bloom with his face covered in pink icing to her 101 million Instagram followers.