Lady Gaga went on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday, where she revealed that she was raped as a teenager.
Details of the alleged assault surfaced after the “King of all Media” questioned Gaga’s controversial performance of “Swine” at SXSW in March.
During the performance, the pop singer was covered in neon green paint by “vomit painter” Millie Brown. Many, including singer Demi Lovato, criticized Gaga for glamorizing eating disorders.
At first, the 28-year-old singer was on the defensive about the March performance and Brown. She told Stern that people should “lighten up,” and that they just want “something to bitch about.”
“My friend Millie–she lives in London–it’s her art form. She doesn’t eat food and vomit it up. She swallows gallons of paint, OK? She’s a hardcore bitch,” said Gaga, via EOnline.
Gaga went on to explain that “Swine” was a song she wrote about rape, demoralization, and fury:
I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release. 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 [me] as much as I could degrade myself, and look how beautiful it is when I do.’
The conversation then shifted to something a little more serious.
“You keep alluding to… were you raped by a record producer?” Stern asked.
Gaga seemed to keep the interview light-hearted before making the revelation:
I went through some horrific things that I’m able to laugh [at] now, because I’ve gone through a lot of mental and physical therapy and emotional therapy to heal over the years.
My music’s been wonderful for me. But, you know, I was a shell of my former self at one point. I was not myself. To be fair, I was about 19.
I went to Catholic school, and then all this crazy stuff happened, and I was going, ‘Oh, is this just the way adults are?’… I was very naïve.
Gaga doesn’t want to be defined by the alleged assault, and explained why she’s been so hesitant to address it. She refused to credit her success to anyone but herself.
“I’m going to take responsibility for all my pain looking beautiful. All the things that I’ve made out of my strife, I did that,” said Gaga.
Lady Gaga isn’t sure how she would react if she ran into the man who allegedly assaulted her, but she did recount a time when she saw him at a grocery store and reportedly became “paralyzed by fear.”
She also revealed that her alleged rapist was 20 years older than her, and that he told people they had a consensual relationship.
In retrospect, Gaga regrets the fact that she never reported the alleged assault:
I don’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t tell anybody. And I didn’t even tell myself for the longest time. And then I was like, ‘You know what? All this drinking and all this nonsense, you have to go to the source, otherwise it just won’t go away. It will not go away.
Listen: Lady Gaga talks vomit, art, and rape with Howard Stern