In an interview Tuesday with Howard Stern, Lady Gaga disclosed that she was raped at 19 by a man nearly 20 years her senior.
As E! reports, Gaga was talking about her new song "Swine," telling Stern: "The song is about rape. The song is about demoralization. The song is about rage and fury and passion, and I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release." Her March South by Southwest by performance of the song, in which she had an artist named Millie Brown vomit on her, was meant to be a reflection of the anger and pain in the song, she said. " I said to myself, 'I want to sing this song while I'm ripping hard on a drum kit, and then I want to get on a mechanical bull'—which is probably one of the most demoralizing things that you can put a female on in her underwear—'and I want this chick to throw up on me in front of the world so that I can tell them, you know what? You could never, ever degrade as much as I could degrade myself, and look how beautiful it is when I do.'"
"You keep alluding to...were you raped by a record producer?" Stern asked.
"I don't wanna —" Gaga replied. "Happy times!"
"I feel that happened to you," Stern insisted. "Seriously."
After a few awkward moments, Gaga explained, talking gingerly around the incident: "I was a shell of my former self at one point. I was not myself. And it — to be fair, I was about 19. So, you know — I went to Catholic school and all this crazy stuff happened. I was going, 'Oh, is this just the way adults are?'...I was very naive."
She added, too, "It happens every day. It's really scary and it's sad. It didn't affect me as much right after as it did about four or five years later. It hit me so hard. I was so traumatized by it that I was like, 'Just keep going.' Because I just had to get out of there... I wasn't even willing to admit that anything had even happened."
The singer said, too, that she's been fearful about talking about the incident publicly. "I don't want to be defined by it. I'll be damned if somebody's going to say that every creatively intelligent thing I've ever done is all boiled down to one dickhead that did that to me."
Gaga also said she's never confronted the man who she says raped her. "I think I would be so — I don't know how I would react. I think it would terrify me. It would paralyze me. I saw him one time in a store and I was so paralyzed by fear... It took me a long time to feel strong about it."
Image via AP