Warning: This article addresses sexual assault and self-harm and may be triggering or disturbing to some readers.
Lady Gaga recently shared details from a sexual assault she experienced at 19 years old. On an episode of Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey‘s Apple TV+ series on mental health, The Me You Can’t See, the pop star and actor opened up about a producer in the music industry who “raped me [and] dropped me off pregnant on a corner.”
“I was 19 years old, and I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off,’” she shared, according to E! Online. “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—I don’t even remember.”
“I understand this #MeToo movement. I understand that some people feel really comfortable with this, and I do not,” Gaga said on the topic of naming her abuser. “I do not ever want to face that person again. This system is so abusive and so dangerous.”
Gaga says the trauma of this situation manifested both physically and emotionally. She once visited a hospital because she was in pain and was surprised when a psychiatrist came in to talk to her. “I had a total psychotic break, and for a couple years, I was not the same girl,” she recalled. “The way that I feel when I feel pain was how I felt after I was raped. I’ve had so many MRIs and scans where they don’t find nothing. But your body remembers.” Gaga’s history with chronic pain and pain management is also touched on in the Netflix documentary about her, Five Foot Two, in which she’s seen trying many methods to cope with her fibromyalgia.
“First I felt full-on pain, then I went numb,” Gaga says in The Me You Can’t See. “And then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after, and I realized that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner. At my parents’ house because I was vomiting and sick. Because I’d been being abused. I was locked away in a studio for months.”
Lady Gaga has previously talked about being a survivor of sexual assault. In 2015 she wrote and performed “Til It Happens To You,” a song used in The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault. The next year she performed the song alongside dozens of survivors of sexual assault at the Oscars.
Also in the Me You Can’t See episode, Gaga explained why self-harm is an unhelpful coping mechanism. “You know why it’s not good to cut? You know why it’s not good to throw yourself against the wall? You know why it’s not good to self-harm?” she said. “Because it makes you feel worse…. You think you’re going to feel better because you’re showing somebody, ‘Look, I’m in pain.’ It doesn’t help.”
More recently, and more hopefully, the star says, she has “learned all the ways to pull myself out of it. It all started to slowly change.”