Pop superstar Lady Gaga may seem like the picture-perfect example of someone who has kept their sanity intact throughout her tenure in the entertainment business. But, like all of us, Gaga is human. Her name is Stefani Germanotta and you know what? Sometimes she needs a break, too.
Over the weekend, Gaga sat down in her home with CBS Sunday Morning to discuss her latest album, CHROMATICA, and the underlying truths that are peppered throughout each song, including her latest single, "911."
"There's not one song on that record that's not true, not one," Gaga explained.
Although she has returned to her danceable roots for her sixth studio album, released earlier this year amid the onset of COVID-19, there is an undeniable shadow hanging over the record's lyrics.
"What was the darkness? What was so dark about that particular time," CBS Sunday Morning's Lee Cowan asks.
"I just... I totally gave up on myself. I hated being famous, I hated being a star. I felt exhausted and used up," Gaga explains pointedly.
"This is the piano I've had for so many years," she says, pointing out the instrument now occupying space in her home studio once owned by the enigmatic '70s rocker Frank Zappa. "I've written so many songs on this piano," she says, looking back on a storied career that at times made her feel nothing but trapped in the persona she created. "I don't know how to explain it. But I went from looking at this piano, and thinking, 'you ruined my life.' During that time, I was like, 'you made me Lady Gaga. My biggest enemy is Lady Gaga.' That's what I was thinking: My biggest enemy is her. 'What did you do?'"
"You can't go to the grocery store now. If you go to dinner with your family, somebody comes to the table," she continued. "You can't have a dinner with your family without it being about you. It's always about you. All the time it's about you, and your outfits."
Gaga credits her friends and family for propping her up when feeling down. "The people around me, they lifted me up, and they said, 'You think you're drowning, but you're not. You're still amazing.' And I used to go, 'I'm not amazing. I'm over.'"
"I didn't really understand why I should live other than to be there for my family," she admits. "That was an actual real thought and feeling. 'Why should I stick around?'"
Asked if those feelings of emptiness ever materialized into suicidal thoughts, she answered pointedly, "Oh, yeah. Every day."
"Yeah. I lived in this house while people watched me for a couple years, to make sure that I was safe," she says.
One specific person she has singled out as being a positive force in her life, especially in the context of the industry she has dominated for over a decade, is fellow pop star Ariana Grande, who joined Gaga for the duet "Rain On Me" on the new album.
"I love that girl," Gaga gushed.
"You know how hard it is to make a female friend in this business?" Gaga asked. Adding, "in this business, having a female friend is like watching a pig fly."
Lady Gaga, Ms. Germanotta, says she's doing much better these days, both mentally and physically, and has a new collection of stories being released this week in cooperation with her Born This Way Foundation and the Channel Kindness initiative, fittingly titled Channel Kindness.
"I don't hate Lady Gaga anymore," says Gaga in the end. "I found a way to love myself again, even when I thought that was never gonna happen. Now, I look at this piano and I go, 'oh, my God. My piano! My piano that I love so much! My piano that lets me speak. My piano that lets me make poetry. My piano, that's mine!""