Their house is stunning but oddly bare. "Dust, lint, pet hair, dirt, cobwebs, skid marks in the toilet—nah, can't do it," says Perry, wandering through a series of rooms. "I'm OCD, though less than I used to be, and I don't want to see the particles of humans. In my old place, I used to schedule my housekeeper at times when I could clean too, and we would clean together. It got to the point where I needed things in the fridge to point a certain way." Perry eventually decided to donate almost all her stuff to charity, just to banish the clutter. "I got rid of all the memory boxes with stuff my boyfriends gave me, old champagne glasses or the underwear I lost my virginity in," she says. "I had boxes and boxes of that stuff." She takes a beat. "Not that I was a whore. But I was a memory whore."
Perry retreats to her room to call Brand for a few minutes, returning in enormous fluffy slippers from Japan with cat faces on the front. "I love things that have a face on them but are also useful, like a toothpick holder," she says. She doesn't know how to cook at all, but her assistant has ordered her a salad, which she picks at on a long wood table in the kitchen. Brand is having a good time in New York. She doesn't worry about him taking up with any other ladies. "Rusty Braunstein has never given me any reason to doubt him," she says firmly. "A difficult past is part of my dad's testimony too. I think Russell is a great example of how you can change. Beyond his addictions, he's a sensitive person, and emotional like a lot of good actors. He's sweet and lovely." She admits that some of her friends thought the engagement came fast. "Some people were like, 'Whoa, marriage so soon—your whole life!'" she says. "But Russell has really made me more stable. I'm burning at such incredible speed that I need someone stronger than me.
Brand may be the more mature one in this equation, but they've had their disagreements. One time, Brand responded to some anti-gay Christian protesters who were yelling at him on the street to get on his knees for God, with, "You don't know Jesus! I know Jesus: I've just been sucking his cock." Perry was verklempt. She tweeted, "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke." So that made them square after his comments about her flatulence. Plus, the gossip world thought she was tweeting about Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" video, so she got some additional publicity out of the spat. Was she talking about Lady Gaga? "I wrote that tweet because of a combination of things," says Perry. "I am sensitive to Russell taking the Lord's name in vain and to Lady Gaga putting a rosary in her mouth. I think when you put sex and spirituality in the same bottle and shake it up, bad things happen. Yes, I said I kissed a girl. But I didn't say I kissed a girl while f-ing a crucifix."
It's surprising to hear Perry talk about God in this way, because one would think her religious past is behind her, but she says she still considers herself a Christian. She shows me the tattoo of the word JESUS that she got on her wrist, just like her dad. "God is very much still a part of my life," she says. "But the way the details are told in the Bible—that's very fuzzy for me. And I want to throw up when I say that. But that's the truth."
Perry even gets afraid at disaster movies, because they remind her of the apocalypse she was taught to fear, though she doesn't know whether that exists anymore. "I still believe that Jesus is the son of God," says Perry. "But I also believe in extraterrestrials, and that there are people who are sent from God to be messengers, and all sorts of crazy stuff." She sighs. "I look up into the sky and I'm just mindfucked—all those stars and planets, the never-endingness of the universe. I just can't believe that we're the only polluting population. Every time I look up, I know that I'm nothing and there's something way beyond me. I don't think it's as simple as heaven and hell."
Perry insists that Brand is way spiritual too—in addition to the higher path of sober living, he's into Transcendental Meditation and Hinduism. "You know, the thing that attracts me to Russell, other than his gorgeous Samson hair, is his light, his energy, his constant search, drive, ambition," says Perry, excitedly. "I think he's going to change people's lives. He's going to help them remember why we exist, and it's not for Heidi and Spencer, celebrity culture, or fame, or crotch shots, or box-office movies. His pilgrimage is spiritual. I think his destination will be complete nirvana."
We're not going to put a bet on that, but Brand and Perry are definitely on a journey together, whatever kind it may be. Maybe they will repair to a monastery at 75, dining together in the refectory before each repairs to their cubbyhole. It could happen. But until then, they can laugh at a few things in life. "You know, when we were in India, we went to a small temple on a hill one day," says Perry. "There was one guy there who runs it, and there's one god. And this god is just this big rock with really authentic human eyes on it. The temple keeper told us to throw the rice at it and drink a cup of milk, to keep up the tradition around this rock—and the whole time, we were about to crack up laughing, because when we looked at the rock a certain way, we swore we were worshipping the Hamburglar."
This story is from the August 19th, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.
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