In an interview with Howard Stern Tuesday morning, Lady Gaga says she was raped by a producer when she was 19. The pair were discussing Gaga’s “Swine,” which the singer says was inspired by a sexual assault. She performed the song at this year’s SXSW covered in colored vomit — proof, she says, that a man “could never, ever degrade me as much as I degrade myself.” When pressed by Stern, Gaga admitted that she’d been raped by an older man nearly a decade ago, when she was a “very naïve” teen. Gaga says that she was “a shell of [her] former self” following the assault, but insists she can laugh about it now: “I’ve gone through a lot of mental and physical therapy and emotional therapy to heal over the years.”
Gaga also added that she didn’t “want to be defined” by the assault, telling Stern, “I’ll be damned if somebody’s gonna say that every creatively intelligent thing that I ever did is all boiled down to one dickhead who did that to me.”
UPDATE: In a bizarre twist, Kesha’s lawyer claims on Twitter that Dr. Luke was the older producer in question, an assertion Gaga’s representatives call “ridiculous” and “utterly incomprehensible.” Kesha’s lawyer says he will depose Gaga anyway as part of her ongoing sexual-assault lawsuit against Luke.