Lady Gaga on being raped: ‘I felt full-on pain, then I felt numb, then I was sick for weeks’

Attack at 19 ‘changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed thoughts’

Lady Gaga spoke about her sexual assault at 19 on The Me You Can’t See. Photograph: Apple/AP

Lady Gaga spoke about her sexual assault at 19 on The Me You Can’t See. Photograph: Apple/AP

 

The singer and actor Lady Gaga has spoken in more detail about a sexual assault she suffered when she was 19.

Speaking on The Me You Can’t See, Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s new Apple TV+ series about mental health, she said the rape, which she first disclosed in 2014, was by a music producer and left her pregnant.

“I was 19 years old, and I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off,’” she said. “And I said no. And I left, and they told me they were going to burn all of my music. And they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop asking me, and I just froze and – I don’t even remember.” She said “the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner”.

She did not name the producer, and said: “I do not ever want to face that person again.”

I never dealt with it, and then all of a sudden I started to experience this incredible intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked the illness I felt after I was raped

Gaga first discussed the attack with the American radio presenter Howard Stern in 2014, saying: “I was a shell of my former self at one point.” In 2015, she said: “I didn’t tell anyone for, I think, seven years. I didn’t know how to accept it. I didn’t know how to not blame myself or think it was my fault. It changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed thoughts.”

She said the attacks left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2016, she rebuked the British journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan for belittling her condition as “vainglorious nonsense” and questioning why she didn’t initially report the rape. That year she performed with survivors of sexual assault at the Oscars.

Speaking to Winfrey in 2020, she said: “I never dealt with it, and then all of a sudden I started to experience this incredible intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked the illness I felt after I was raped.”

In The Me You Can’t See, she again describes her delayed traumatised response, saying she experienced a “total psychotic break”.

I realised it was the same pain I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner by my parent’s house, because I was vomiting and sick

“First I felt full-on pain, then I felt numb, and then I was sick for weeks after. I realised that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner [by] my parent’s house, because I was vomiting and sick. Because I had been abused, and I was locked away in a studio for months.”

About two years after surviving the abuse, she released her debut album, The Fame, in 2008 and became globally successful, with five US No 1 albums since. She also started an acting career, most notably with her Oscar-nominated lead role in 2018’s A Star Is Born.

She will next rejoin Tony Bennett for a duets album following their 2014 collection Cheek to Cheek, and star in the Ridley Scott film House of Gucci alongside Adam Driver, Al Pacino and more. – Guardian

Support for victims of sexual violence is available from Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 24-hour helpline, 1800-778888; Men’s Aid Ireland national confidential helpline, 01-5543811; and An Garda, 999/112.