Lady Gaga Reflects On Drugs, "Loneliness" Behind Stardom

By Paul Gaita 09/05/18

"There was a buffet of options. When I first started to perform around the country doing nightclubs, there was stuff everywhere."

Lady Gaga

Six-time Grammy-winning singer Lady Gaga makes her feature film debut as an aspiring performer who falls for a rocker (Bradley Cooper) with dependency problems in the upcoming A Star is Born.

The confluence of substance abuse and fame is an issue with which Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta is familiar, having battled cocaine dependency early in her career. And in an interview about the film with the Los Angeles Times, Germanotta recalled how she traveled a path similar to that of her screen character, where drugs were frequently offered as a panacea to the emotional turmoil of striving to achieve your dreams.

In the film—which is the third remake of the 1937 film, with previous iterations starring Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in Germanotta's role— Cooper is musician Jackson Maine, whose career is in crisis due to his drug and alcohol dependency. He finds what appears to be creative and emotional salvation in Germanotta's Ally, a gifted singer. But as her star ascends, his substance issues threaten to upend their happiness. 

In her interview with the Times, Germanotta said she fully understood the emotional turbulence that was part and parcel of the pursuit of a career in front of an audience. "It's very lonely being a performer," she said. "There's a certain loneliness that I feel, anyway—that I'm the only one that does what I do. So it feels like no one understands."

Feelings of isolation and insecurity can spur some aspiring performers to seek comfort in the substances that can proliferate behind the scenes. "There was a buffet of options," recalled Germanotta. "When I first started to perform around the country doing nightclubs, there was stuff everywhere, but I had already partied when I was younger so I didn't dabble. I was able to avoid it because I did it when I was a kid."

As Us Weekly noted, Germanotta has spoken often about her struggles with cocaine in the past. The publication quoted her 2011 interview on The Howard Stern Show, where she said, "I think that I was lonely and there was something about the drugs that made me feel like I had a friend. 

"I did it all alone in my apartment while I wrote music. And you know what? I regret every line I ever did."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.