Lady Gaga shares more details concerning the sexual assault that left her pregnant at 19. In an interview on The Me You Can’t See, the new Apple+ docuseries hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, she opens up about how the untreated PTSD affected her for years following the attack.
“I was 19 years old, and I was working in the business, and a producer said to me, ‘Take your clothes off,’” she says during the episode. “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 adds, “The person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner.”
The star has not name the producer, saying, “I do not ever want to face that person again.”
Lady Gaga first discussed her assault in 2014 with Howard Stern, saying that her song “Swine” was about the rape she suffered at the hands of the music producer. At the time, she told the radio DJ, “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.”
In her interview with Oprah, she dives deeper into how the rape and subsequent pregnancy affected her emotionally and physically: “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.” She describes the mental response that followed as a “total psychotic break.”
She continued to re-live the symptoms that appeared during her pregnancy, and the feelings of being abandoned by the producer, who was 20 years older than her. “First I felt full-on pain, then I felt numb, and then I was sick for weeks after. I realized 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.”
The sexual assault occurred two years before she released her globally successful debut album The Fame in 2008. The star performed “Till It Happens To You,” with survivors of sexual assault at the 2016 Oscars, and has worked with numerous sexual assault and PTSD organizations over the years.
Even after sharing more details now, her experience should not define her. In the 2014 interview she said, “I’ll be damned if somebody’s going to say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me. I’m going to take responsibility for all my pain looking beautiful and all the things I’ve made out of my strife. I did that.”