Pop musician Lady Gaga said she suffered a “total psychotic break” after being raped and impregnated by a music producer who took advantage of her when she was 19 years old.
In the pilot episode of Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s new docuseries, out Friday on Apple TV+, the “Chromatica” artist opened up about the trauma she has endured since a producer told her to take her clothes off at the beginning of her entertainment career.
“I said, ‘No,’ and I left, and they told me they were going to burn all my music,” recalled Gaga, credited in the series by her real name, Stefani Germanotta.
“And they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop asking me, and then I just froze. I don’t even remember,” she said. “And I will not say his name. I understand this Me Too movement. I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this, and I do not. I do not ever want to face that person again.”
During the first episode of Harry and Winfrey’s “The Me You Can’t See,” the singer said she experienced extreme pain and visited the hospital years after she became pregnant because of the assault. At one point, Gaga said, she couldn’t feel her body and “was not the same girl” for a time.
“First, I felt full-on pain. Then I went numb,” she said. “And then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after, and I realized that it was this same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on the corner, my parents’ house, because I was vomiting and sick because I’d been … abused. I was locked away in a studio for months.”
While living in an “ultra-state of paranoia,” Gaga said she frequently inflicted self-harm and considered taking her own life. Eventually, the validating experience of winning an Oscar for her work in 2018’s “A Star Is Born” kickstarted her “slow” healing process.
“It’s a really very real thing to feel like there’s a black cloud that is following you wherever you go, telling you that you’re worthless and deserve to die,” she said. “And you know why it’s not good to cut 1 / 8yourself3 / 8? You know why it’s not good to throw yourself against the wall? You know why it’s not good to self-harm? Because it makes you feel worse.”
Gaga said her healing process has seen a “slow rise” over the years. “And even if I have six brilliant months, all it takes is getting triggered once to feel bad. … thinking about dying, wondering if I’m ever going to do it.”
Executive produced by Winfrey and Harry, “The Me You See” marks his second collaboration with the entertainment mogul after the pair joined forces in March for a bombshell TV interview that shed new light on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s complicated relationship with the royal family. During their conversation, which drew more than 17 million viewers on CBS, Meghan sounded off on the trauma she said she experienced as a result of joining the British crown.
In a similar vein, each installment of Apple TV+’s “The Me You Can’t See” centers on a different person and explores their mental health journey. (For his part, Harry delved into the aftermath of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.)
Toward the end of the pilot, Gaga explained that the path to conquering mental illness is not linear and offered some advice for others who are struggling with their own demons.
“It’s brave to breathe,” she said. “It’s braver to keep going. … There’s nothing wrong with you. But there is something that’s not firing right. And that’s something you’ve got to pay attention to … It’s not easy.”
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