Spoiler alert: The following contains details from “The Me You Can’t See,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Lady Gaga lets viewers into her darkest moments on “The Me You Can’t See” (now available in its entirety on Apple TV+).
The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer appears in the first episode of the five-part series, which Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey executive produced. The two have interview-style chats throughout the program that also features news magazine-style profiles of celebrities and athletes like Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close, professional basketball player DeMar DeRozan and the son of the late comic Robin Williams, mental health advocate Zak Williams.
Gaga remembers being 19 when a producer threatened to burn her music if she didn’t take her clothes off.
“They didn’t stop asking me, and then I just froze, and I just – I don’t even remember,” she recalls, crying. Gaga, now 35, says she did not feel comfortable naming her assailant. “I do not ever want to face that person again,” she says.
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Lady Gaga is among the celebrities to share their mental health challenges in Apple TV+'s "The Me You Can’t See." (Photo: SAUL LOEB, POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Gaga first revealed her sexual assault in a 2014 radio interview with Howard Stern. She opened up about her PTSD diagnosis in 2016.
Gaga says in “The Me You Can’t See” that her buried pain manifested in a physical way that caused numbing in her body.
“And then I was sick for weeks and weeks after,” she says, “and I realized that it was the same pain that I felt when the person who raped me dropped me off pregnant on a corner, at my parent’s house, ’cause I was vomiting and sick, ’cause I had been being abused. I was locked away in a studio for months.”
As a result of the trauma Gaga says, “I had a total psychotic break, and for a couple years I was not the same girl.”
She’s experienced self-harm, cutting and throwing herself against the wall.
“You think you’re gonna feel better ’cause you’re showing somebody, ‘Hey, look I’m in pain.’ It doesn’t help,” she says. “I always tell people, ‘Tell somebody. Don’t show somebody.'”
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Gaga describes the improvement in her mental health as “a slow rise.”
“Even if I have six brilliant months, all it takes is getting triggered once to feel bad,” she says. “And when I say feel bad, I mean want to cut, think about dying, wondering if I’m ever gonna do it.”
Gaga says she learned tools to help with those feelings, but the process was slow and took two and a half years.
Gaga encourages others to have patience with themselves, even if their progress isn’t linear.
“You get frustrated with yourself, ‘Why am I not getting better? What’s wrong with me?'” Gaga says. “And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is something that’s not firing right.”
Gaga says she shares her story not to garner sympathy, but to trigger empathy in others. “Open your heart up for somebody else, because I’m telling you, I’ve been through it and people need help,” she says. “That’s part of my healing, is being able to talk to you.”
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If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.
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