Lady Gaga has recalled the “total psychotic break” she experienced while navigating trauma after being raped.
Please be aware that this article contains details of sexual assault and trauma.
There’s been a lot of talk about Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in their new docuseries, The Me You Can’t See, this week. Harry talked candidly about mental health, dealing with the death of his mother and his relationship with the royal family.
But there is another hugely important conversation in the five-part series that we need to talk about: Lady Gaga’s detailing of the trauma she navigated after being raped at 19.
The Oscar-winning singer and actor said she experienced a “total psychotic break” and was in an “ultra state of paranoia” after she was raped at 19 by a music producer.
“I was 19 years old and I was working in the business and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off’,” Gaga recalls. “I said no, and I left, and they told me they were gonna burn all my music. And they didn’t stop… they didn’t stop asking me and I just froze and I just… I don’t even remember.”
Gaga broke down in tears and explained that she will never name the producer in question: “I understand this #MeToo 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. This system is so abusive, it’s so dangerous.”
Explaining the trauma she experienced later on, Gaga also revealed she was pregnant after being assaulted: “I [couldn’t] feel my own body. 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 being abused, and I was locked away in a studio for months.”
Detailing just how much this trauma affected her, the star said: “I had a total psychotic break and, for a couple years, I was not the same girl. 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.”
While living in an “ultra-state of paranoia,” she also said she frequently inflicted self-harm.
Gaga has opened up about the assault before. In a 2019 interview with Zane Lowe, she explained that her song Free Woman is a reflection of the shame associated with being a survivor, and finally freeing herself from it: “I was sexually assaulted by a music producer. It’s compounded all of my feelings about life, feelings about the world, feelings about the industry, what I had to compromise and go through to get to where I am.”
She added: “I had to put it there. And when I was able to finally celebrate it, I said, ‘You know what? I’m not nothing without a steady hand. I’m not nothing unless I know I can. I’m still something if I don’t got a man. I’m a free woman.’”
“I’m no longer going to define myself as a ‘survivor’ or a victim of sexual assault. I am just a person who is free that went through some fucked up shit.”
If you, or anyone you know, needs help and support, you can call the Rape Crisis national helpline on 0808 802 9999 (open 12pm - 2.30pm and 7pm - 9.30pm daily). You can also find your nearest centre here or visit the website for more information here.