Seven multiplatinum albums. Three Grammys. MTV Video Music Awards’ Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
And yet to Pink none of that compares to her life as a soccer mom.
“I like to share my family. It’s my proudest moment in my whole life,” she said in April on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, talking about her daughter Willow, 7, and son Jameson, 2, with husband Carey Hart. “I’m prouder of my kids than anything I’ve ever done.”
At the time, fed up after years of hearing it from online trolls, she was announcing a moratorium on images of her kids on her social media feed. “I won’t do it,” she told DeGeneres. “I’m not posting pictures of them anymore.” Besides, Willow was in elementary school and, the “Don’t Let Me Get Me” singer figured, “It’s probably time to pull her back from the world and let her just live her best life.”
The artist born Alecia Moore and sometimes known as P!nk has since relented—who can resist sharing these faces with the world, after all—because she has never been one to let the haters dictate what she was going to do next.
Celebrating her 40th birthday Sunday, Pink knows that sometimes, as her eighth album professed, it Hurts 2B Human, but few pop stars have proven so adept at bouncing back—and not only because she’s so frequently gliding through the air attached to a cable.
Her younger years were admittedly a jumble of drug use and teenage rebellion. “I was the runaway, I was the f–k-up, I was the one that had the mouth, I was always in trouble,” she recalled to The Guardian in 2017. The Doylestown, Penn., native settled into her most adult relationship to date in 2001 when she decided to take romance with motocross biker Hart for a spin. What followed was four years of back-and-forth that saw them, as Pink put it in one anniversary post, “deciding if we were going to live together forever or kill each other.”
Eventually they decided on the former, marrying in Costa Rica only to endure another brutal split that pushed Pink to draw up divorce papers. After they recommitted to each other for good, they set about the business of starting a family, but the musician has joked another break could be in the offing. As she told DeGeneres in 2016, “We’re due.”
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With the pair having marked their 13th year of marriage in January, such a time out seems increasingly unlikely, but it’s hard to argue with the results. These days she and Hart, 44, are so bonded that they’ve turned her tours, including her ongoing Beautiful Trauma World Tour, which took them all over Europe this summer, into a family vacation. “I know this is going to be hard,” she told Redbook last year of the tour bus life, “but we’ll make amazing memories.”
Which is pretty much the family’s raison d’être. “They’ve been through a lot, but they are solid now,” a source told Us Weekly. “They love their life together.”
That journey began when the 21-year-old high school dropout, already proving she had the makings of pop-rock stardom thanks to her debut disc Can’t Take Me Home, turned up at the 2001 Summer X Games in her native Pennsylvania and spied an athlete with tattoos and spunk to match her own. Attempting a backflip for the trick competition, he crashed, ending up with several broken bones and ribs. But he still got the girl.
Following the release of her second effort, Missundaztood, later that year, she slyly convinced Hart to appear in her “Just Like a Pill” video. “I was like, ‘Ahhhhh, I’m not really into that,'” Hart told The Daily Telegraph. “She said ‘All right I have to put some other good-looking guy in there and I have to lick his belly.’ [I said] well, I guess I’m going to have to be in the video.”
For two years, the duo were a solid unit, but by 2003 it became clear that ‘stead of makin’ me better, their romance was making her ill.
Presumably their yearlong separation brought about what Pink labeled her dumbest injury ever during a February stop by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a moment that saw her take her anger out on the tires of his Ford truck. “It was Thanksgiving. Holidays are stressful,” she shared. “I got clean through the first one. He has a raised F-250 and those tires are very thick, thank you very much. And the second one, I lost a little steam and I hit the metal part and my hand just went straight down the knife.”
Their love continued to cut deep over the course of the next few years with Pink proposing during his race at the Pro 250 class finals in his home state of California. As he approached her on his third lap, she held up the pit board she’d snagged to write out her message: “Will U Marry Me?” When he didn’t answer, she added an addendum for lap four: “Serious!”
He shared his response in a 2014 Supercross interview. “I said, ‘Well, yeah of course,'” he recalled, “and she said, ‘Well, get your ass back on the track. I don’t marry losers.”
Six months later they were wed during a sunset ceremony at the Four Seasons resort in Costa Rica.
Their “and they lived happily ever after moment” wouldn’t come until they overcame one last speed bump, however. Competing schedules led to an 11-month break, their second, in 2008. “We were working all the time; there was so much time between our visits,” she explained to Redbook in 2013. “Carey would see me for five days and be gone for six weeks. We’d try to fix everything in those five days—you just can’t do that.”
Pink dumped her emotions into her fifth disc Funhouse, most notably the single “So What” which saw her cheekily singing, “Guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went.” Then, once again, she convinced him to appear in the video, choosing not to reveal the gist of the song until he was on set.
But her biggest move came later that year when she summoned him to her Las Vegas hotel room. “I had made him a photo album of all the cards he had ever given me, of all the photos of our entire relationship,” she revealed, including one bloodied snap from a video shoot that she captioned, “This is me without you.” Also a part of the book: the divorce papers she never signed. “And I did all of this in his favorite bra and panties.”
Reunited for good, they welcomed Willow Sage in June 2011 and then Jameson Moon in December 2016 and suddenly Pink, who had developed an entire persona out of rebelling, realized she was one minivan away from full-on cliché…and she had never been happier.
“I honestly can’t believe how responsible I am,” she told Us Weekly in 2017. “All of a sudden I’m a soccer mom and doing the damn thing. No one would have guessed this for me. Honestly, I didn’t realize that you could enjoy it so much.”
Her new picture of bliss includes tending to her 25-acre vineyard in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, spending hours at the grocery store, giving pep talks to Willow at school drop off and occasionally sharing stories (over spirits) with her new mom friends. “We moved to this cool farm town and made a lot of friends,” she told Redbook last year, “so some are teachers and insurance salesman and writers. Our kids go to school together, and we have sleepovers—and we all like tequila.”
She’s surprised even herself by being the parent who makes Rice Krispies treats for bake sales and takes the lead when it comes to discipline. “My husband promised me that I wouldn’t be bad cop, and he has failed me in that way,” she joked to People when gracing the cover of their “Most Beautiful” issue last year. “He’s fun guy, Mr. Fun! And then I come in with the rules.”
But he’s also the guy who’s willing to take the onus when they run up against any of the myriad of issues married couples face over the course of a lifetime together.
“He knows when he goes too far and he’ll apologize, which is a wonderful trait in a human being,” she told USA Today in 2017. “I do not possess that trait: I will go too far and still not apologize. It’s awful to be married to me. He’s the rock and I’m the storm, but it’s fun.”
Even when it’s not. Because though they’ve been steady for the better part of a decade, the ever candid musician admits there are times when forever really feels like an eternity.
“There are moments where I look at [Hart] and he is the most thoughtful, logical, constant…he’s like a rock. He’s a good man. He’s a good dad. He’s just the kind of dad I thought he’d be and then some,” she shared with The Guardian.
“And then I’ll look at him and go: I’ve never liked you. There’s nothing I like about you. We have nothing in common. I don’t like any of the s–t you like. I don’t ever wanna see you again. Then two weeks later I’m like, things are going so good, you guys. Then you’ll go through times when you haven’t had sex in a year. Is this bed death? Is this the end of it? Do I want him? Does he want me? Monogamy is work! But you do the work and it’s good again.”
And for the moments it’s not so good, well, that’s the lifeblood of her career. All those confessional-style lyrics that have helped her form an impenetrable connection with her fans require true inspiration and her shared existence with Hart has provided that in spades.
“My husband—he’s so cute. He’s my muse and if he didn’t piss me off all the time, I’d have not much to say,” she shared at her Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony in February. I wouldn’t be standing up here if it wasn’t for you. Never change.”
Or as she noted on Instagram this summer, captioning a photo of herself and Hart gazing out at an expanse of Italian lake from their yacht-side perch: “We still got it.”
(Originally published April 26, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)
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