Kesha Says She “Hasn’t Felt This Free Since I Was 18” After Leaving Dr. Luke’s Record Label

"Coming back home to me."

Kesha attends the Christian Siriano SS24 Runway Show.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trigger warning: This article discusses allegations of rape, sexual assault and abuse that may be disturbing to some readers. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can seek help by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). For more resources on sexual assault, visit RAINNEnd Rape on CampusKnow Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

After nearly a decade of lawsuits, countersuits, allegations of rape and defamation, and an undisclosed settlement, Kesha has parted ways with producer Dr. Luke's record label.

In a video posted on TikTok on Wednesday, Dec. 20, the pop star appears on a beach and can be seen smiling at the camera as she hits record. She then turns towards the ocean and lightly jogs into the water—the sky is crystal blue and the sun is shining as melodic music plays in the background.

For the entirety of the celebratory video, the words "I haven't felt this free since I was 18" are posted in the middle of the screen.

In a separate post on Instagram, Kesha shared a photo of herself sans clothes, standing in a stream at the bottom of a canyon. The artist captioned the post: "Coming back home to me."

@kesha

♬ Space Song - Beach House

Kesha parted ways with both Dr. Luke's record label—Kemosabe, distributed by RCA Records—last week and after the release of her final contractually obligated album with the company, "Gag Order," as first reported by Variety.

The split comes six months after Kesha and Dr. Luke settled nearly a decade's worth of lawsuits and countersuits over Kesha's 2014 accusation that Dr. Luke drugged her and raped her.

She also accused her former producer of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that occurred over 10 years, resulting in severe depression, post-traumatic stress, social isolation, panic attacks, and an eating disorder.

Dr. Luke has repeatedly denied those claims and countersued Kesha for defamation. Kesha's 2014 lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in 2016 and Dr. Luke's countersuit was settled out of court.

In a statement posted to Instagram following the settlement, Kesha wrote: "Only God knows what happened that night. As I have always said, I cannot recount everything that happened. I am looking forward to closing the door on this chapter of my life and beginning a new one. I wish nothing but peace to all parties involved."

Dr. Luke also released his own statement, saying: "While I appreciate Kesha again acknowledging that she cannot recount what happened in 2005, I am absolutely certain that nothing happened. I never drugged or assaulted her and would never do that to anyone. For the sake of my family, I have vigorously fought to clear my name for nearly 10 years. It is time for me to put this difficult matter behind me and move on with my life. I wish Kesha well."

It is not uncommon for victims of sexual assault and rape to have no memory or an unclear memory of the event or events. Multiple studies, including one published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 25 years ago, found that "memory deficits for parts of the rape were common" because "memories for rape did not operate like memories for ordinary events."

A post shared by Kesha

A photo posted by kesha on

In addition to leaving Dr. Luke's record label behind, Kesha also parted ways with her longtime manager, Jack Rovner.

“Jack Rovner confirms, after 16 years, Kesha and Vector Management have agreed amicably to part ways, with much love and respect," a representative for Rovner said in a statement to Variety.

In her own statement, Kesha said that her manager "has been an unwavering supporter of helping me get through the lengthy legal battle I have been embroiled in for almost a decade."

"We have achieved many great successes and have shared a magnificent part of my life with me. I am so grateful to them and always will be," she added. "I need of a fresh start in my life, we have parted ways but I will remain forever grateful for the run we had.”

Danielle Campoamor

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.