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Arts & Entertainment / Lady Gaga Is Opening Up About Her Chronic Pain

Lady Gaga Is Opening Up About Her Chronic Pain

"I hope people watching it who do struggle with chronic pain know that they're not alone."

Posted on September 8, 2017, at 2:07 p.m. ET

You've probably heard by now that Lady Gaga has a new documentary premiering on Netflix, Gaga: Five Foot Two, which is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight.

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This morning, Gaga joined the documentary's director, Chris Moukarbel, for a press conference on site in Toronto. And they discussed a lot...

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Like that Madonna scene from the trailer, which Gaga laughed about. "Oh, I know it's in there," she said. "I'm not sure what it's gonna sound like."

Mourbel, however, isn't concerned. "I knew people would pick on it because it's kind of juicy, but really it's not. It's not like that. It's about morality," he said. "For me, it felt like it was a way for people to really understand what kind of woman she is, because of the position she took. It was so measured and thoughtful."
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Mourbel, however, isn't concerned. "I knew people would pick on it because it's kind of juicy, but really it's not. It's not like that. It's about morality," he said. "For me, it felt like it was a way for people to really understand what kind of woman she is, because of the position she took. It was so measured and thoughtful."

They also talked about authenticity, and Gaga said she didn't want the documentary to come off as "a big commercial" for her or to paint her as perfect.

"That just simply is not true," she said. "That would be not in line with everything I am as an artist. I think the most important thing you can be is authentic."
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"That just simply is not true," she said. "That would be not in line with everything I am as an artist. I think the most important thing you can be is authentic."

Part of that authenticity was choosing to include her personal struggle with chronic pain in the documentary.

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When asked about it during the press conference, Gaga became visibly upset at first, and held back tears before simply saying, "It's hard, but it's liberating, too."

Mourbel elaborated, saying that filming the scenes chronicling Gaga's pain were "incredibly hard, on a basic, fundamental, human level."He did, however, feel compelled to continue filming. "I think she wanted me to," he said, "because she felt [that] should be in the film. I think she was very aware of other people who struggle with similar chronic pain. She is not even sure how to deal with it, and that's a reality."
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Mourbel elaborated, saying that filming the scenes chronicling Gaga's pain were "incredibly hard, on a basic, fundamental, human level."

He did, however, feel compelled to continue filming. "I think she wanted me to," he said, "because she felt [that] should be in the film. I think she was very aware of other people who struggle with similar chronic pain. She is not even sure how to deal with it, and that's a reality."

"There is an element and a very strong piece of me that believes pain is a microphone," Gaga added. "My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is. So I hope people watching it who do struggle with chronic pain know that they're not alone."

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You can read Gaga's full statement below:

"There is an element and a very strong piece of me that believes pain is a microphone. My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is. So I hope people watching it who do struggle with chronic pain know that they're not alone. It's freeing for me ... and I want people that struggle with it to hear me. There is a degree of self-deprecation and shame with feeling in pain a lot. And I want people that watch it — that think there's no way I live [with chronic pain] because they see me dance and sing and don't think that could possibly be — to know I struggle with things like them. I work through it and it can be done. We have to stick together. I don't have to hide it because I'm afraid it's weak. It's a part of me, and I'm grateful to Chris for caring. The compassion is overwhelming. That's why it makes me emotional. It's very touching.

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