Lady Gaga is known for her jaw-dropping on-stage performances and her aesthetic originality, but could they have caused her to injure herself?
Lady Gaga broke her hip during her ‘Born This Way’ tour in 2013; although there is no specific event that she can pinpoint as the cause of the injury, the rigors of the tour and choreography contributed to a significant hip injury.
She has struggled with chronic pain ever since this original hip injury, and detailed the work she goes through to manage her pain in a 2017 Netflix documentary titled ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two.’
Her hip injury was a lot worse than Lady Gaga initially believed.
Lady Gaga described the injury to Women’s Wear Daily as “giant craters, a hole in my hip the size of a quarter, and the cartilage was just hanging out the other side of my hip. I had a tear on the inside of my joint and a huge breakage.”
Although this must have been incredibly painful, Lady Gaga initially hid the injury from fans and the staff on her tour as she wanted to continue performing so that she wouldn’t disappoint the fans that had bought tickets for her tour.
Thankfully, she did cancel the tour – her doctor told her that she might have needed a complete hip replacement if she had performed in one more show. It sounds like agony.
Luckily, Lady Gaga had a healthy support system through this challenging time. She took a break from the spotlight and the stage to focus on her community, Haus of Gaga, and her 2013 album, ‘Artpop.’
Lady Gaga described the time as challenging but said, “I had six months to beef up my brain and my body.”
In addition to the original injury in 2013, Lady Gaga lives with a condition called fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder throughout the body, and there is no known cure, although there are some treatments available.
She revealed in her 2017 documentary, ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two,’ that she suspects this disorder stems from her original hip injury in 2013.
‘Gaga: Five Foot Two’
Lady Gaga is incredibly open and vulnerable with the audience of her Netflix documentary. In the film, she describes not only her struggles with chronic pain but her broken engagement, her experience performing at the Super Bowl, and the reason she wore a dress made of meat.
Peter Sobczynski reviewed the documentary for RogerEbert.com, saying the film “manages to create a sense of intimacy and revelation, even as we sense that there is really no such thing as an unguarded moment for Lady Gaga.”
You can watch the trailer for her documentary below:
The documentary deals with how it feels to be constantly in the spotlight, especially in the social media era, and how it can affect one’s psyche when dealing with personal issues.
It can be serious at times, such as when she is examined in her doctor’s office or when she discusses her aunt Joanne’s passing (which inspired her song ‘Joanne’) with her grandmother. The film also contains moments of levity, such as when she asks about the new Lady Gaga album at Walmart, and the cashier doesn’t recognize her.
The documentary is unique in a celebrity culture that often reveals a lot through constant social media interactions but still manages to feel performative; in contrast, Lady Gaga’s documentary breaks through in a way that feels genuine.
In an article for The Atlantic, Spencer Kornhaber explains the connection between the skepticism surrounding chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia and celebrity culture.
Lady Gaga purposefully built a career on artifice. Her outrageous outfits, her winking nods to paparazzi culture, her elaborate staging were all creating an intentional image of the pop star – a pop star – not the woman herself.
In the documentary, she explains that this was done partly because she wanted to stand out without being overly sexualized in her early career.
Not only does Lady Gaga get more personal in her documentary, but it seems that she has gotten more personal altogether. Her musical releases following the documentary, such as her stripped-down song ‘Joanne,’ seem to hint at a more authentic version of Gaga.
This may also be because she’s grown as a person and an artist, and her sound has naturally evolved with her. Whatever the reason may be, Lady Gaga has proved she is an artistic inspiration and an icon to many through her integrity and drive.