Lady Gaga’s entered the incredibly personal portion of her career, and her new Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two is the crux of it all.
In the emotional documentary, directed by Chris Moukarbel and released Friday morning, we get a raw glimpse of the performer that we’ve never seen as she releases her latest studio album Joanne, gears up for a legendary Superbowl performance, and manages a bevy of personal issues as well. Here’s what we learned about the woman behind Gaga, Stefani Germanotta, in the film.
1. How she feels about her highly publicized feud with Madonna
“The thing with me and Madonna for example is that I admired her always, and I still admire her no matter what she might think of me. The only thing that really bothers me about her is that I’m Italian and from New York. If I have a problem with somebody, I’m going to fucking tell you to your face,” Gaga explained.
“No matter how much respect I have for her as a performer, I could never wrap my head around the fact that she wouldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that I was reductive or whatever,” she said, explaining that she saw Madonna’s comments on television rather than from the singer herself.
“Telling me you think I’m a piece of shit through the media is like guy passing me a note through his friend. ‘My buddy thinks you’re hot,’ fuck you. Where’s your buddy?,” she said. “Fucking throwing me against the wall and kissing me. I just want Madonna to push me against the wall and kiss me and tell me I’m a piece of shit.”
2. When she reveals her history of chronic pain and at many times in the film is physically struggling in the film
Throughout the documentary Gaga is open about her struggle with chronic pain, which she says she has been chasing for five years with what we now know is fibromyalgia, which has caused her to cancel the European leg of her current tour.
In the film, we see Gaga dealing with intense physical pain.
“The whole right side of my body is in a spasm,” she explains to someone. “My fucking face hurts.” “I just think about other people that have maybe something like this that are struggling to figure out what it is, and they don’t have the money to have somebody help them,” she explains.
“Like, I don’t know what I’d fucking do if I didn’t have everybody here to help me. What the hell would I do? Do I look pathetic? I’m so embarrassed,” she cries, in an incredibly raw moment.
“Let’s put Trump on,” she said. “That’ll knock me out.”
3. When she doesn’t hold back when it comes to discussing the challenges of being a woman in the music industry
“When producers, unlike Mark [Ronson], start to act like you’re nothing without me, for women especially—those men have so much power that they can have women in a way that no other men can,” she says. “Whatever they want, whatever they want, the cocaine, the money, the hottest girls you’ve ever seen,” she explains.
“And then I walk in the room and it’s like, eight times out of 10 I’m put in that category and they expect from me what those girls have to offer when…that’s not why I’m here,” she explained.
4. The reason behind her incredulous outfits and performances over the years
“The methodology behind what I’ve done is that when they wanted me to be sexy or they wanted me to be pop, I always fucking put some absurd spin on it that made me feel like I was still in control,” she explained. “If I’m going to be sexy at the VMAs and sing about the paparazzi, I’m going to do it while bleeding to death and reminding you of what fame did to Marilyn Monroe, the original Norma Jean—and what it did to Anna Nicole Smith,” she said.
5. Putting together a Superbowl performance is a lot of work
The documentary is framed around the halftime performance being the pinnacle moment of her career, and it’s a wonder she pulled off a stellar show when you consider that the superstar was simultaneously dealing with a public breakup, fibromyalgia, and finishing an album in the midst of it all.
6. It’s clear her fans mean the world to her, particularly after the breakup with her ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney
Throughout the documentary, Gaga references taking photos with her fans —and in one touching scene, surprises a dedicated Little Monster through a radio station and is moved to tears at the love. “I know that its just for this radio thing that they brought you in but it really is so sweet that you wait outside for me,” she said, not quite fighting off tears before giving her free tickets to a show.
“My fans are my heart and my soul,” she later genuinely explains, yet despite this, Gaga gets candid about the effects of people knowing the ins and outs of her personal life as well. “It’s hard enough when love isn’t working out the way you want it to, and you’ve got to walk down the street and have somebody go, ‘Are you OK?'”
“It’s a sad day when I’m doing the Super Bowl, and I’m so excited to do it, but I can’t help but realize that when I sold 10 million records, I lost Matt. I sell 30 million, I lose Luc,” she continues later in the documentary. “I get the move, I lose Taylor. It’s like a turnover. This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this. I’m alone, Brandon, every night. And all these people will leave. Right? They will leave and then I’ll be alone, and then I go from everyone touching me all day and talking at me all day to total silence,” she said.
7. Recording Joanne helped Gaga be able to finally embrace her true self, without the masks and meat dresses
“I never felt pretty enough or smart enough or a good enough musician. That’s the good part: I didn’t feel good enough, and I do now. Of all the things I deserve, that’s where I know I’m worth something,” she said.
You can view the trailer below, and check out Gaga: Five Foot Two on Netflix today.