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rihanna and katy perry
rihanna and katy perry
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images For The Recording Academy
Culture > Entertainment

Katy Perry & Rihanna’s Friendship Timeline Includes Some Major Throwbacks

When you think of pop stars that have defined the last decade, Katy Perry and Rihanna’s names are bound to come up in the conversation. Not only are they incredibly talented, but their music releases have been a pivotal part of many Gen Zers’ lives. Whether you grew up belting out “California Gurls,” “Umbrella,” or both, those songs will go down in history. Given how talented they are, it’s no wonder that these two girls became friends. In the past decade, they’ve gone through many ups and downs, but isn’t that what happens in long-lasting friendships? 

Along with them both having charting pop songs, this duo also will be one of the first friendships where both have performed during half-time at the Super Bowl. Perry performed in 2014, (how could we forget the iconic dancing shark costume?) and Rihanna will be performing on Feb. 12, 2023. Since Perry recently said that she hopes Rihanna will break her record for the most viewed halftime performance in history, let’s take a look back at their friendship timeline.

Early 2009: Rihanna and Perry meet. 

rihanna and katy perry
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Rihanna and Perry clicked instantly and bonded over Rihanna’s purse, which Rihanna ended up later sending her as a gift on Valentine’s Day. Rihanna also told Elle Magazine in April 2012, “She’s gorgeous, charming and so unedited it’s scary. That’s what intrigued me most when I first met her. She said it like she saw it. I trust people like that.” 

April 2009: Rihanna and Perry go to Barbados together. 

Oh, what I would give to go on vacation with these two. On April 22, 2009, the duo was seen vacationing in Barbados and out on a boat together. Perry told MTV, “We’re just buddies. We’ve had dinner and that’s about it. Her personal life has already been blown, I don’t really have to get into that. I’m sure she probably wants a break.” 

Sept. 18, 2010: Rihanna throws Perry a bachelorette party. 

Rihanna threw Perry’s bachelorette party for her marriage to actor/comedian Russell Brand in true bestie fashion. They started the party off at Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel Beach Club pool with Perry’s closest friends, including Rihanna. They then took a stretched Hummer Limo and enjoyed their night at Cirque Du Soleil’s KA at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino. There was also dinner at Ago before they went to the XS nightclub and had a few drinks. The night concluded with a visit to the Sapphire strip club, where Perry watched female dancers dance to her songs and got a dance of her own from a blonde dancer. It sure does seem like Rihanna knows how to plan an eventful bachelorette party!

Oct. 23, 2010: Rihanna misses Perry’s wedding.

Despite throwing an iconic bachelorette party, Rihanna was not able to go to Perry’s wedding. Rihanna was “crushed and was absolutely looking forward” to it, but Perry, being the best friend that she is, understood. Rihanna told People that since her album, Loud, was coming out in two weeks, she “had to be available for a lot of approvals” and “couldn’t get any phone or internet service out there” since the wedding was in India. 

Jan. 2, 2012: Rihanna consoles Perry after her divorce from Brand.

When breakups happen, the one thing we can count on is for our besties to have our backs. Perry and Rihanna are no exception. As soon as Perry told Rihanna the news of her divorce, Rihanna offered Perry to stay with her in Barbados. Rather than go to Barbados, though, the two went to Mexico, where Rihanna was no doubt Perry’s shoulder to cry on.

Sept. 6, 2012: Perry and Rihanna sit together at the MTV VMAs. 

At the 2012 VMAs, the pair sat next to each other the entire night. Throughout the night, Perry was seen nibbling on Rihanna’s shoulder and mouthing the lyrics to One Direction’s “One Thing” as the boys sang on stage. However, Rihanna was also seen kissing Chris Brown at the VMAs, which could have strained Rihanna and Perry’s friendship. 

Nov. 6, 2012: Rihanna and Perry have a falling out over Brown.

Following Brown and Rihanna reconciliation at the VMAs, Rihanna and Perry began to distance themselves from each other. According to Glamour Magazine, Perry told MTV, “‘We’ve had dinner and that’s about it. I didn’t reach out to her after [Rihanna got back with Chris Brown.] I think she is doing fine. I don’t know.’” In the same article, Glamour reported that Perry saw Rihanna reconciling with Brown as a “huge mistake.”

Feb. 10, 2013: Perry refuses to sit next to Rihanna at the Grammys.

It turns out that Brown and Rihanna’s relationship did more damage to Rihanna and Perry’s friendship than we originally thought. At the 2013 Grammys on Feb. 10, Perry reportedly refused to sit next to Rihanna. According to Us Weekly, a source said that “They [weren’t] tight anymore because Katy doesn’t approve of Rihanna dating Chris Brown.’” A staff member at the Grammys also stated that the last-minute changes were “such a headache!” 

April 12, 2014: Perry and Rihanna attend Walshy Fire’s birthday party together. 

After a year of little to no communication, it seems like Perry and Rihanna were back on good terms when they were seen taking pictures together at Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire’s birthday party.  It’s not clear when exactly they made up, but it seemed like the pop duo buried the hatchet. 

Feb. 5, 2015: Rihanna attends Perry’s Super Bowl performance.

Five years ago, Rihanna attended Perry’s Super Bowl performance and cheered on her bestie as she performed “Roar,” “Dark Horse,” “I Kissed a Girl,” “Teenage Dream,” California Gurls,” a mashup of “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It,” and “Firework” alongside Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot. Here’s hoping Perry will be in attendance to Rihanna’s halftime show and show the same support. 

Feb. 20, 2015: Perry gives Rihanna fanart for her birthday. 

Not only can Perry sing, but it turns out that she can draw, too. For Rihanna’s 27th birthday, she posted of a picture of a drawing of the two of them in a passionate embrace with the caption, “HBD to my flawless friend @badgirlriri may I bestow this gift of beautiful fanart of us embracing with a passionate almost kiss. I hope you go to bed with all your makeup on tonight aka black out. Luh you, miss you, hope to share a yacht with you in the future bb.” What do you get the girl who has everything? Apparently Katy Perry knows. 

Aug. 30, 2015: Perry and Rihanna enjoy a night out in New York. 

Rihanna and Perry spent their Saturday night on Aug. 30, 2015 out at New York’s OPUS nightclub. There’s no specifics as to what the girls were up to, but there’s no denying that they had a good time. 

May 7, 2018: Rihanna leaves Perry off of the guest list for the Met Gala afterparty. 

Though they used to be close, it seemed like Perry and Rihanna’s friendship was more strained than ever in 2018. Not only were they forced to pose for a picture where Rihanna looks extremely uncomfortable, but Perry was also left off of the guest list for Rihanna’s afterparty at Up&Down. According to The Sun, Rihanna “had to pose with a lot of celebrity guests but it was really uncomfortable when she had to do the photo with Katy” and that “Katy was upset about the whole situation because Rihanna was cold to her and she wasn’t invited to the afterparty.’” No one knows what exactly happened between the two of them, but it’s clear that Perry was hurt. 

May 23, 2020: Perry congratulates new mom Rihanna. 

While doing press for the Season 20 finale of American Idol, Perry was asked if she had any advice for Rihanna as a new mother. While she said she didn’t have any advice, she did say that she was “so happy for her and [that] it’s the best decision that I was ever able to make. I know this time is so precious and it’s just like a gorgeous, cozy time. It’s a beautiful, magical time, so soak in all in.” No matter where Perry and Rihanna are at in their friendship journey, it’s clear that Perry is very proud of her. 

Nov. 22, 2022: Perry can’t wait for Rihanna’s Superbowl performance. 

While playing “Do You Even Know Me?” with Thomas Rhett, Perry revealed that her Super Bowl halftime performance was the most-viewed halftime performance in history. She quickly added, though, that it “will definitely be broken by Rihanna, and I hope so.” 

It seems like Rihanna and Perry’s relationship has gone through ups and downs just like all good and long-lasting friendships do. No matter what happens, though, they make amends and continue to be an iconic duo that supports and loves each other. Perry, just like me, can’t wait to see Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show and I’m sure she’ll be gushing over it like the bestie that she is!

Born and raised in Arizona, Kayleigh Shaw is a Her Campus National Writer. She mainly writes for the Culture section, primarily focused on the latest entertainment news, but will occasionally write about life and career, giving advice to a wide array of readers. Outside of Her Campus, Kayleigh was also a part of Rod Pulido’s Street Team for his debut novel, Chasing Pacquiao and completed social media challenges to promote the book. She also hopes to one day write for Screen Rant and Comic Book Resources. where she will continue to use her love of all things pop culture to her advantage. She also graduated from Glendale Community College in May 2022 with an Associate's Degree in English. When Kayleigh's not working on journalism pieces, she can be found writing poems and short stories, reading, watching TikToks, listening to their favorite podcasts, listening and dancing to Sabrina Carpenter and Taylor Swift, watching movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu (while crying over fictional characters and relationships.) She would live in a library and avoid the rest of the world if she could. She also drinks coffee like a Gilmore and often goes down rabbit holes researching their hyper fixations.