It would be hard for any parent to grapple with the pitfalls and pressures of a child’s meteoric rise to fame, but it is especially difficult when you are a conservative Christian evangelist and your daughter is provocative pop star Katy Perry.
Perry (born Katy Hudson), has been quite open about her Christian upbringing and has condemned what she deems to be the trappings of religion. In a recent interview with Vogue magazine, the 32-year-old chided her parents for the “carefully sheltered” childhood they provided her that included what she described as “makeshift” parochial schools and “some generational racism.”
“Education was not the first priority,” Perry told the magazine. “My education started in my 20s, and there is so much to learn still.”
In 2001, Perry released a gospel album that did not achieve commercial success. At 17, she moved to Los Angeles without her parents and signed a deal with a secular record company. In 2008, she released her racy breakout hit “I Kissed A Girl” and her chart topping career has been full steam ahead ever since.
While Perry’s account of her childhood has been well documented, her parents, Mary and Keith Hudson, have remained largely out of the spotlight. In an interview with CharismaNews, Mary opened up about the heartbreak her family has gone through and the backlash she and her husband faced due to their daughter’s behavior.
“I get a lot of negative vibes,” Mary told Charisma during an interview in Hawaii, where she was hosting a women’s conference. “People ask us, ‘How could you have a daughter like that?'”
While Mary admits that watching her daughter, who still has “Jesus” tattooed on her wrist, turn away from her faith has been difficult, she finds comfort in scripture.
“The devil definitely tries to steal my joy,” she said. “I sometimes have to fight depression.”
But Psalm 113:9, which reads, “He gives the barren woman a dwelling, making her the joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” has proven to be particularly important to the author and speaker, even inspiring her to write her 2015 book, Joyful Parent, Happy Home. Additionally, working with women and families via her Arise conferences has been a therapeutic experience.
“You have to take your mind off your own situation and focus on others if you are ever going to see the light of day,” Mary said. “Pouring myself into the Arise conferences has been a lifeline. Not only have thousands of women been helped, but with every meeting my faith gets cranked up a notch.”
Despite all that has transpired over the years, Mary and her husband have chosen to stay in close contact with their daughter. In the aftermath of the terror attack in Manchester last month, Mary said that Perry reached out and asked her to send prayers. Ultimately, she encourages parents that find themselves in a similar situation with a child to continue providing unconditional love.
“It’s only the love of God that will bring them back,” she said. “Don’t cut them off. You have to rise above your feelings. You must stay in communication.”