Singer Lady Gaga was in tears. Lying on the couch of her NYC apartment, her head and neck were covered in ice packs as a masseuse worked to ease an intense pain she had been hiding for years. “Do I look pathetic?” she asked as cameras rolled for her Netflix documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, before confessing, “I’m so embarrassed.”
She has a reputation as a super-confident attention magnet, but that’s not the real Gaga. In her new documentary, the 31-year-old opens up, finally showing her battle with fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder marked by pain, fatigue, and memory issues. In exclusive interviews with Life & Style, insiders reveal more of the superstar’s true self — from her love of classic board games to her deep connection with a New Age guru and more. The film, explains Gaga, shows “my lowest lows, my highest highs and the close relationship with my family.” But those who know her say there’s far more to learn about the woman born Stefani Germanotta.
For starters, don’t call her by that name! “The only people who call her Stef are her family and her inner-most circle,” says an industry insider. With everyone else, says a source, she prefers Gaga. That’s a pattern in her life: She lets her guard down only with family. Dad Joe, 60, and mom Cynthia, 63, are a near-constant presence; Joe even goes to video shoots with her and drives his daughter around in her grandfather’s vintage blue Mercedes. “When she’s with her family, she can totally switch off and be herself,” explains the source. “She loves home cooked Italian food and big family dinners where everyone is catching up and talking over each other!”
Wilder outings are rare these days. Gaga, who shuns makeup in private, likes to unwind with “naps during lunchtime,” says the industry insider, and “board games, old-school Monopoly and Scrabble. She loves vegging out on the couch and watching trashy TV, Bravo and Netflix.” Another habit? Gaga’s “addicted to taking photos of herself and takes selfies everywhere,” says the insider.
She also walks around her homes braless and in booty shorts, and doesn’t think twice about taking off her bikini top in the middle of a poolside meeting with her creative team, explaining, “It just feels better.” Lately, not much has felt good.
Gaga admits she finds fame isolating. And in September, she postponed the European leg of her tour until 2018 on doctors’ orders because of the pain of her fibromyalgia. But she gets a lot of support from her parents and boyfriend — and from an unlikely confidant. “She meditates and is very close to Deepak Chopra,” reveals a second source. “She literally calls him all the time. He keeps her grounded.” So do her fans. “Gettin’ stronger everyday for my #LittleMonsters,” she tweeted on Sept. 29. “Can’t wait to get back on stage.”
The world learned Gaga was dating her agent, Christian Carino, 49, when they stepped out together at the Super Bowl in February. “But most people don’t know that she broke up with Christian for a period of time, then worked things out,” reveals a source. “They are happier now than even in the beginning of their relationship.” In August, Gaga admitted she’s fallen “in love” with Christian, who also reps Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. “When they first started dating, she was scared because he’s so much older,” says the source. “But now she is so happy to be with a man who has a different perspective on life and is experienced."
In the past, the performer was known as much for her outlandish costumes as for her music. “All the outfits, fashion and art pieces over the years made sense to me,” she says. But, as Gaga admitted in September, “Fame is not all it’s cracked up to be. It is lonely, it is isolating, and it is very psychologically challenging.”
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