The Untold Truth Of Kesha

Kesha may have risen to fame thanks to her mindless, catchy as heck dance-pop songs, but as it turns out, there's a whole lot more to a singer who brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels. With two Grammy nods under her sparkly belt and 10 songs charting in the Billboard Hot 100, as of this writing, tragic aspects of Kesha's life have played out in the public sphere throughout the 2010s. But thankfully, the pop star formerly known as "Ke$ha" (who's real name is Kesha Rose Sebert), has come out the other side with her stunning transformation — but more on all this below.  

Think you know everything there is to know about the "Tik Tok" superstar? We're about to drop a whole bunch of facts you never knew about this fan-favorite singer-songwriter. From her early beginnings in showbiz to her highly-anticipated return to music with the 2020 album, High Road, we bring you the untold truth of Kesha.

Kesha appeared on The Simple Life

Long before she became famous, Kesha appeared on an episode of the reality series The Simple Life, starring former socialite besties Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. In the episode, Hilton, Richie, and Kesha team up to help the future pop star's single mother, singer-songwriter Pebe Sebert, find a new boyfriend. The new dude doesn't last; however, the episode did ultimately help launch Kesha's music career. 

According to a 2010 interview with US Weekly, Kesha claimed that producer Dr. Luke called her out of the blue while she was filming with Hilton and Richie. Kesha immediately quit high school and flew to Los Angeles, where she provided background vocals on Hilton's debut CD. Hilariously (and awkwardly) enough, Kesha admitted to accidentally vomiting in Hilton's closet at a party. "I thought it was a bathroom," she told the magazine. "I was dancing too hard. And it turned out to be her closet." Kesha later turned the experience into an unreleased song, aptly titled "Paris Hilton's Closet."

But she's not friends with The Simple Life stars anymore

Despite getting her start on The Simple Life in 2005, Kesha has admitted that she and the once-troubled silver spooners, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, don't talk anymore — but emphasized that there isn't any animosity between them at all. 

"We are not friends," Kesha told Us Weekly in 2010. "We've just been connected on one too many places and levels. I don't have anything against [Paris]. I think she's really nice, but we're just very different." The "We R Who We R" hitmaker explained that while they both love partying, she's not quite the materialist and label queen that Hilton is: "We never had a fight. We're just so different, you know? We come from opposite ends of the spectrum. I grew up in the valley, broke, running around barefoot and moved to Nashville and played music and really poured my heart out. Very different." 

Kesha added, "Nicole was hilarious. I really liked her, but it's just kind of like, what does an apple and a penguin talk about?" We suppose that's a fair point.

Kesha co-wrote one of Britney Spears' biggest hits

Kesha wrote or co-wrote every song featured on her three studio albums, AnimalWarrior, and Rainbow. So, it should come as no surprise that the singer-songwriter has lent her talents to other artists, as well. Kesha's biggest songwriting hit remains "'Til the World Ends" by pop princess Britney Spears, which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2011. Kesha's relationship with Spears actually dated back to Spears' 2008 release, Circus, on which Kesha provided the background vocals for the song "Lace & Leather." 

"['Till The World Ends'] just came on the radio, and I have to say, I love hearing Britney Spears sing my lyrics, every single day," Kesha gushed to MTV News in 2012. "It never gets old. I get so excited. It's better than any drug when you hear Britney Spears sing a song you wrote."

Beyond Spears, Kesha has also written songs for Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande, according to Rolling Stone.

Kesha went to rehab...

In January 2014, Kesha entered a 30-day rehab facility after struggling with an ongoing eating disorder. "I'm a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I've found it hard to practice," Kesha released in a statement at the time (via People). The "Blah Blah Blah" singer wound up extending her stay in rehab for an additional month, canceling tour dates in the process, to get her health back on track. She finally exited rehab in March, which she confirmed on Twitter. "Happy to be back!" she wrote. "Feeling healthy & working on tons of new music. I can't thank my fans enough for all the love & support u have given me."

During a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Kesha revealed that her eating disorder battle, which had been exacerbated by the pressures she felt within the music industry, was so serious that she "almost died." She added, "I was slowly, slowly starving myself. The worse I got and the sicker I got, the better a lot of people around me were saying that I looked."

...Then dropped the $ from her name

Upon exiting rehab, Kesha officially dropped the dollar sign from her name. The name-change was first noticed on Twitter, when Kesha changed her handle from "Ke$haSuxx" to her real name, "KeshaRose." According to TMZ, Kesha made the change because she wanted "a fresh start" after rehab. Her original performance moniker simply reminded her too much of her "old self."

During a SXSW panel with Refinery 29 in 2017, the singer-songwriter elaborated on why she opted to drop her original stage name styling: "I let go of my facade about being a girl who didn't care. My facade was to be strong, and I realized it was total bulls**t. I took out the dollar sign because I realized that was part of the facade. It was a journey and I'm happy — that was me in that part of my life. But then I turned a corner, but I still have a f**king tattoo of it on my hand. I'll have to figure that out!"

Her mom blamed Dr. Luke for Kesha's eating disorder

One of the first signs of trouble between Kesha and Dr. Luke — the producer who discovered her — came when Kesha's mom, Pebe Sebert, accused him of being one of the people who caused her daughter's eating disorder. 

"Dr. Luke told a friend of ours he thought she looked like a refrigerator on her latest video, and could she please try to control her weight," Sebert told People days after Kesha entered rehab. "After she went on a 14-day juice cleanse, he said, 'Thank God you finally got rid of the weight! We've all been talking about it!' So she felt like she couldn't trust anyone." Dr. Luke adamantly denied Sebert's claims, stating: "These statements and allegations concerning Dr. Luke are completely false. It is unfortunate that at a time Ke$ha is suffering immensely and trying to heal at a treatment center, her mother is taking this approach with the media. I give Ke$ha my utmost support and well wishes for a quick return to health."

One week after Kesha entered rehab, Sebert confirmed that she, too, would be seeking treatment — at the same facility as her daughter, no less. In her case, it was for post-traumatic stress related to her accusations against Dr. Luke. "This whole Dr. Luke thing has almost torn our family apart and taken over my life," Sebert told People, adding that Kesha had urged her to seek treatment alongside her.

Kesha entered a years-long legal battle with Dr. Luke

In October 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, in which she claimed that he "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused" her and "put her life at risk" (via Rolling Stone). The singer-songwriter asked to be released from her contract with Sony, and thus began a long and rather complicated battle in both New York and California courts, during which Dr. Luke denied the allegations, countersued for defamation and breach of contract, and later sued Kesha's mom.

Despite major support from various celebrities in the industry, Kesha faced numerous setbacks on her fight for freedom. In August 2016, she finally dropped her sexual abuse lawsuit against Dr. Luke in California in order to focus on her music. As for Dr. Luke, his lawsuit against Kesha remains ongoing. Meanwhile, Kesha was denied an appeal in her New York countersuit to exit her contract with Dr. Luke in September 2019.

She began making music again

While Kesha's music career remained in limbo for years due to her legal battle with Dr. Luke, she released her first single in years — the emotional ballad "Praying" — in July 2017. The hit song seemingly addressed the many ups and downs she had faced on her way back to the recording studio, which she later discussed in an edition of Lenny Letter

"I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression," Kesha wrote (via USA Today), "I've overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach." She added, "I hope this song reaches people who are in the midst of struggles, to let them know that no matter how bad it seems now, you can get through it."

Kesha followed the release of "Praying" with two promotional singles, "Woman" and "Learn to Let Go," off her empowering August 2017 album, Rainbow.

Katy Perry feared backlash for not publicly supporting Kesha

Kesha and Katy Perry were both protégés of Dr. Luke, who worked together quite a bit early on in their careers: Kesha sang background vocals on Perry's breakout hit "I Kissed a Girl," and eagle-eyed fans can spot her in the music video for the track. The pop starlets even collaborated on the unreleased track, "True Love." Unfortunately, their camaraderie didn't quite extend outside of the studio, especially following Kesha's sexual assault allegations against Dr. Luke.

Text messages exchanged between Kesha and Lady Gaga (who's had her own beef with the producer) in 2016 dragged Perry into the proceedings. According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly in 2018, Gaga and Kesha texted about a rumor that Dr. Luke allegedly raped Perry — a claim both Dr. Luke and Perry herself denied — and agreed that Perry was "mean." 

While Gaga and Perry had already moved on from any apparent drama, The Blast reported that Perry, who wanted to stay out of the case entirely, admitted she declined to work with Dr. Luke on her Witness album after Kesha's allegations were made public. Saying in a deposition that she feared "a protest" or "a smear campaign" if she supported Dr. Luke, Perry added, "Just that I would be attacked, I would be the one woman that is against women and I'm not against women, but I believe in innocent until proven guilty and I believe in justice."

Kesha's glitter love doesn't come cheap

At the height of Kesha's glitter fetish, she dropped some serious coin on the sparkly stuff. In February 2011, she told Vanity Fair that she would spend "a few thousand" dollars every month on glitter alone. Two years later, she revealed her various methods of applying glitter to her body on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, noting, "When I first started ... I was just young and naive, and I used to bathe myself in beer and then roll around in it, and then I started getting a skin rash ... It worked, it was just like fermenting my skin." Um, yikes?

Kesha went on to share her current trick: "I started using baby oil ... My method now is I fill up a bathtub and just get all oiled up, and then I get in, submerge my body." She added that a crew member was in charge of just glitter. "We call him Santa. His real name is Boot ... He just kind of follows me around and makes sure I'm always covered in glitter." Boot was also in charge of the famous glitter cannons that shoot out at all of Kesha's performances.

She used fans' teeth for her costumes

Kesha not only wears skulls made from roadkill, she also at one point wore bras and accessories made from teeth ... from human beings. We'll allow the woman herself to explain. "One fan sent me one tooth, so I made a necklace out of it," she told Time Out (via BuzzFeed) in 2011. "But then I found a bunch of my baby teeth, and started realizing I would love to wear a piece of my fans' bodies on me." The singer explained that she likes "natural" jewelry, adding, "I started thinking, maybe I could make some sort of garment out of my fans' teeth. I have almost 500 and I'm still collecting more. I got four yesterday." 

By November 2012, Kesha had made a bra and several accessories, including a headpiece, from her fans' teeth. While she was in rehab in 2014, TMZ reported that she requested fans send her more teeth — but that her rehab center prohibited them because they're considered "human remains" and could potentially be considered "bio-hazardous material."

Kesha is an outspoken animal rights activist

Kesha loves all animals — not just her "Animals." She told the Phoenix New Times in 2010, "I'm an advocate for animals' rights, and my family has rescued dogs from all over the world. I don't believe in animal testing. If you see me in fur, it's always fake. Sometimes you see me wearing skulls, but those are all from roadkill." She was later named the first global ambassador for the Humane Society International and has several pet causes for the organization: Kesha is a vocal opponent of shark-finning, trophy hunting, and seal hunting, and she's a proponent of cruelty-free cosmetics and products, as well as an advocate for street dogs, polar bears, and wild horses.

In addition to her public activism, Kesha and her family have also continued to rescue cats and dogs. In 2013, the "Hunt You Down" singer told Billboard that she once actually got scabies from rescuing abused street dogs that had been glued together on an island in the South Pacific. "I was calling the Humane Society in the middle of the night and nobody was answering. I b**ched about it to enough people that they ended up sending a whole help team of volunteers," she said. "If you follow my music, you know I'm a bit of a jackass. But this is one part of my life I take really seriously. Helping animals has always been my goal."

She once broke into Prince's house

Before Kesha became Ke$ha, she was a gifted singer-songwriter desperate for a break and with as much gumption as talent. As a result, she went beyond the traditional methods to get her demos heard by record labels and music execs: the aspiring pop star once hand-delivered a demo to Prince in his house ... uninvited.

Years later, Kesha recalled the story to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Admitting that breaking into Prince's house was "so easy," she revealed, "I cruised up in my dead grandpa's car. And I get out of the car ... and there's a gardener in the front yard, and I was like, 'Here, five bucks. And just don't make a thing, and I'm just going to slide under this gate.' And he just laughed and thought it was funny, and I was charming — at the time." Kesha added that she proceeded to slip under the gate and found Prince's door was unlocked. "I was like, 'It's basically an invitation,'" she quipped. Kesha entered the home and went up an elevator while on the phone with her mom. When she exited the elevator, she saw Prince wearing a beanie and playing guitar.

"I almost pooped my pants," Kesha admitted, adding that Prince didn't speak to her. "I just got a look like, 'Who the hell are you?' And then I just like waved around the CD, and I put it on the table, and then I ran away."

Kesha deliberately fights sexist double standards with her image

Kesha is very much in on the joke when it comes to her Jack Daniels-swigging party girl persona. Explaining that it was actually her way of leveling the playing field for men and women and society's expectations of each, she told the Financial Times (via Cosmopolitan) in 2012: "Just because I drink doesn't mean I'm a drunk. Just because I have sex and I'm not embarrassed doesn't mean I'm a whore. If men can do it, why can't a woman do it?"

The pop star took a more serious turn with Rainbow amid her ongoing legal troubles with Dr. Luke, but reprised her more fun-loving form on 2020's High Road. In "My Own Dance," Kesha returns to her rap-singing swagger while acknowledging her past pain: "You're the party girl / You're the tragedy / But the funny thing's / I'm f**king everything."

In December 2019, Kesha explained to the Independent, "I was a wild child, and I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed about it, and I did get an exceptional amount of s**t ... I expected people to have a stick up their a** about me talking about drinking and having sex, because, societal norms, women can't talk about that. A good chunk of my favorite musicians are men, and they've been talking about this stuff since rock'n'roll was created. So I wasn't surprised by people being shocked by it — but I also wasn't gonna let that stop me."