Kimberly Perry is addressing her divorce for the first time.
The Grammy-nominated singer — who filed for divorce from former MLB player J.P. Arencibia, 33, last year — alludes to infidelity on The Band Perry‘s new single “The Good Life,” which dropped on Friday, Perry’s 36th birthday.
The electro-pop track features scathing lyrics, including: “I’m not gonna be a joke / I know about your sidepiece, bro / I’m not gonna fight anymore / Glad I never had your baby / This’ll be a cleaner cut / You can keep the Labradors … Have a good life / You had a good life / You gave it up for hoes.”
A representative on behalf of Arencibia responded to the song and infidelity claims, telling PEOPLE in an exclusive statement: “While matters of our relationship and what led to the demise of our marriage should remain between us, I will say there was no infidelity. It’s a shame that all of this is now being made up to promote an album, I have moved on and hopefully one day she can as well.”
Thursday night, before “The Good Life” dropped, Perry shared a note on Instagram about the song.
“THE GOOD LIFE is a story about the infidelity I experienced. I want you to know that this song was written during a toxic and incredibly difficult time in my life, but I’m singing it to you now with the voice of a woman who has completely regained a strong sense of self, rebuilt her womanhood, and is grateful to have learned so much,” Perry wrote on Instagram.
“The lyrics in this song are visceral and strong, just as the feelings have been. I feel empowered by them. I hope they empower you to know your value, and if you find yourself in an environment where someone makes you feel disrespected and degraded, I want you to know that you deserve so much more. It’s ok that things don’t go as planned and it’s also ok to not have a new plan yet,” Perry added in her post.
Perry’s post continued: “The song coming out tonight is one I needed to make to remind myself that my life is not defined by one ugly situation, my body is not diminished by one uninterested person, and my self worth is not determined by anyone else’s words or behavior. Neither is yours.”
Arencibia himself responded to the song in an Instagram post on Friday. On the social media platform, the former athlete shared text messages and direct messages he shared with friends, as well as women he allegedly cheated with.
“It’s sad that at 36 years of age today, a person would try to revive a dying career with click bait. Well, here’s just a little taste of reality to a woman and family that are not in touch with it,” Arencibia captioned the carousel of screenshots, adding: “Truly with the best to their career and her life but trying to use a subject to garner traction is disappointing. Good luck in your free fall. PS Yes after she left me I dated other women.”
Perry and Arencibia began dating in 2012, he popped the question in 2013, and they wed in 2014; PEOPLE exclusively confirmed the singer-songwriter had filed for divorce in March of 2018.
Perry began writing”The Good Life” last July with her brothers and bandmates, Reid, 30, and Neil, 28. The track is the first off an upcoming project. And, like their 2018 EP Coordinates, the single and its grimy synths distance the trio from the twangy Nashville fare they rose to fame with thanks to the 2010 hit “If I Die Young.”
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Perry said sharing her side of the story through music has been therapeutic.
“Even though it references infidelity, it’s almost not even as much about the crime — if you will — as what you learn from it and what comes out on the other side of that. For me it was about regaining my sense of self because that had been challenged and broken down in the relationship that I was in,” she says of channeling her pain into music.
Perry adds: “It’s as much about self-worth and finding the empowerment inside yourself, but also the people around you — the friends and family who are there, who have your back and who you’re leaning on to help you navigate out of the toxic situation and out of a toxic relationship.”
The singer-songwriter reveals she spent the past year working on herself after enduring heartache from her split.
“It was just about getting out of a relationship that had really begun to affect me emotionally and psychologically. Then most of the past year has been spent looking inside myself and growing from a moment that just felt so devastating and bewildering,” Perry says. “I was like, ‘I’m a planner.’ I had all these plans — where I want to live, how many kids I want to have — and all the sudden it was like, ‘Okay all of your plans are just nonexistent.'”
Perry says she sought counseling (“I had an excellent therapist”) and leaned on friends and family, including her brothers, to get to the healthy place she’s in today.
“We can lose a lot of time hoping that things had gone a different way or hoping somebody will love us in a way that we want them to. And sometimes, we just have to let go and keep walking forward, find a new plan, find a new path,” she adds.
Now, Perry — who splits time with her brothers between L.A. and their home in east Tennessee — is focused on herself and her reclaimed independence as they work on new music.
“Absolutely I believe in love. Life and love are not defined by one ugly situation,” she says. “But we have to have love of self and of self-respect not to lose ourselves in any relationship, no matter what they are, romantic, family, friendship. And as long as we carry that with us, I truly believe that that will lead us to the right decisions.”
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