Words: Alastair James; pictures: Apple TV+
Lady Gaga has opened up about being raped by a music producer at the age of 19, falling pregnant and later suffering a "psychotic break" in new mental health documentary series The Me You Can’t See.
The 'Rain On Me' singer also spoke candidly about her experience with mental health saying at one point she “couldn’t feel anything.”
It was previously announced that Oscar-nominee Glenn Close, mental health advocate Zak Williams, Olympic boxer Virginia 'Ginny' Fuchs, and celebrity chef Rashad Armstead will appear in the series, produced by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry.
The Me You Can't See on Apple TV+ (Photo: Apple TV+)
“They didn’t stop asking me and then I just froze”
In a powerful segment in the first episode of the series, the pop star shares her experience of self-harming from a young age.
“I was 19 years old and I was working in the business and a producer said to me ‘Take your clothes off’. And I said ‘no’. And I left.
"And they told me they were going to burn all my music and they didn’t stop… they didn’t stop asking me and then I just froze and… and I don’t even remember. And I will not say his name. 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.”
Gaga discussed going to the hospital years later and being brought to a psychiatrist.
“I said bring me a real doctor, I said why is there a [psychitrist] here, I can’t feel my body.
"First, I felt full-on pain, then I went numb, and then I was sick for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks after. And I realised that it was the same pain 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.
“[...] You can come back from things like that. But when it hits you really hard it can, it can change you. I had a total psychotic break and for a couple of years, I was not the same girl."
“I couldn’t feel anything.”
At the time she cancelled multiple tour dates for her Joanne world tour.
"The way I feel when I feel pain is how I felt after I was raped [...] I couldn’t feel anything. I disassociated. It’s like your brain goes offline," she continued.
"It’s a very real thing to feel like there’s a black cloud that is following you wherever you go and is telling you are worthless, and you should die.”
The star said it took two and a half years to change, around the time she won the Oscar for Best Original Song for ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born. She also advised viewers that mental health is not something that can simply be “cured” as might be the case with some other conditions or illnesses.
“It’s so important that you surround yourself with at least one person that validates you," she said. "When I say validates you, that means somebody that believes you, that cares about you and tells you that your pain matters and that it is real.”
If you are struggling with your mental health, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.
The Me You Can’t See is available to stream on Apple TV+ from today. You can watch the trailer here.
The Attitude July issue is out now.