Sitting in a beachside cafe in Venice, Calif., on a brilliantly sunny Thursday morning, Pink
is reminiscing about moving to Los Angeles 12 years ago and living just steps away from where she's currently sipping a cup of coffee. "I was a delinquent," she says matter-of-factly. "An angry, rebellious, self-righteous, ambitious, crazy person who liked to have too much fun." Oh, how priorities shift. These days she's waking up at 5:30 a.m. with her 15-month-old daughter Willow, changing diapers, breast-feeding and (already) thinking about dreaded preschool applications. "I never thought I'd be someone who'd be sitting around talking about preschool!" she says, erupting in laughter.
Motherhood may have changed the feisty pop star-"Having a child is the best thing that could ever happen. I didn't know you could love anything this much"-but the new version of Pink is hardly pastel. "I'm still nuts and I'm still angry!" admits the singer, 33. Who else would have released a song called "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" as her first single since coming back from maternity leave? In fact, when she hit the studio in January, she had one rule: no lullabies. "I thought that was predictable," she says.
No surprise, however, is that The Truth About Love
(out Sept. 18) is filled with songs about breakups and makeups-something she experienced firsthand with her husband, motocross champ Carey Hart, 37. The pair, who began dating more than a decade ago, separated in 2008 after two years of marriage, then reconciled a year later. "We're just like anyone else," explains the woman born Alecia Moore. "We have our ups and downs, but the thing that's consistent is that we're really good friends and we laugh-a lot. We love being a family." The trio ride bikes to breakfast each morning, visit the beach and host family-friendly barbecues at their Malibu home. (Pink's specialty: grilled Halloumi cheese with asparagus and peaches on arugula with lemon and truffle oil.)
When the couple hit a rough patch, it's Hart who holds them together. "I'm the drama queen. Carey's the rock, the one who says, 'We're going to be fine, we're going to work this out,'" says Pink, adding that he long ago accepted that their relationship would play out on the radio. "It works for us because he lets me be crazy."
As wild as Pink still is, she's hell-bent on raising Willow right. "You can be Cool Mom, but you also have to be Scary Mom," says the singer, who grew up in Doylestown, Pa., dropped out of high school and survived a drug overdose in 1995. "If she's anything like me-and I think she is-authority always rubbed me the wrong way, so it's going to be about guidance." Just not too much. Calling her daughter smart, funny, daring and fearless ("She's Carey Hart Jr.!"), Pink says, "I don't want to domesticate away her spirit. I want her to be competitive and know what it feels like to win and lose." Not only that, but the three-time Grammy winner (who has sold more than 40 million albums) says she wants her daughter "to be good at things that usually only boys are good at so she knows she can do anything she wants." With Hart as her dad, Pink jokes that it's "inevitable" Willow will end up in the dirt: "And if she wants to do ballet and study science, that's okay too." But when it comes to her own life plan, Pink is stricter. "I'm not going to be away from Willow if I'm not having fun," she says. Four months after giving birth, the pop star took her first acting role, alongside Gwyneth Paltrow
and Mark Ruffalo in the upcoming indie movie Thanks for Sharing
. (Pink plays a sex addict.) And there's plenty of other nonmusical items on her to-do list: grow out her hair ("I've been trying for 15 years. I want long hair and a ballerina bun so bad!"), own a winery ("Wine is my obsession. I'm in school online, studying the different regions and grapes") and have more kids ("I want [Willow to have] brothers and sisters and loud, dysfunctional holidays!").
This fall Pink will be on the road promoting her new album, with Willow in tow. "This is the dream," she says. "It's about having her hear different languages and getting used to seeing different-colored people, different dress, different foods, being at sound check and getting musical. I already think she's a drummer. She loves to bang."
Looking back, Pink says she never could have imagined her life the way it is now. "I didn't think I would be this together. Even my mom is like, 'Who are you?'" she says, again bursting into laughter. "But I don't have it all figured out. I'm not blissfully happy or unaware of what's going on in the world. I just feel really right."
In fact, even though she's joked she's traded "whiskey, tears and cigarettes" for "snot, tears and the color of poop," she has yet to find herself longing for her pre-Willow life. "I don't miss anything. We still have so much fun and I'm still a f------ rock star," she says. "There are only so many tables you can dance on, and as far as I'm concerned, I put my name on all of them." Now, thanks to Willow, she says, "everything is just cooler."