In an interview on a radio show with Howard Stern, Lady Gaga revealed that she was raped when she was 19 years old by a man 20 years her senior.
The singer was explaining the meaning behind the song "Swine" when Stern said the song suggested that an incident of sexual assault had taken place.
Stern: "You keep alluding to... Were you raped by a record producer?"
Gaga: "I don't wanna... Happy times!"
Stern: "I feel that happened to you. Seriously."
Gaga: "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."
After some more discussion with Stern, Gaga said she was traumatised by the rape.
"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 traumatised 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."
She later explained that she didn't tell anybody about the incident, adding that she refused to be defined by the rape.
"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."