Lady Gaga is a crier. In the hour and 40 minutes that is Gaga: Five Foot Two, she cries no fewer than six times — but not without good reason. The documentary, which premiered on Netflix today, completely unmasks the pop star who has dominated her genre for the last decade. That person is no superhero. She is very much a mortal; a hip injury which has resulted in chronic pain for the singer is unfortunately part of her daily experience. Just as painful for Gaga is her heartbreak. Filmed after her most recent split with her ex-fiancé, Chicago PD star Taylor Kinney, Gaga’s loneliness lingers, becoming one of the strongest figures in the film.
When you’re an international megastar, countless people are depending on you to get the job done, no matter what. Even stripping down to the bare essentials — quite literally in some cases as Gaga goes topless during a poolside conversation with some members of her team — requires long hours and an even longer to-do list. It appears that Gaga’s love life has been at least one of the casualties of this.
As Gaga puts it in Five Foot Two, her love life “has just imploded.” I certainly understand why she might think so. Ahead of her epic halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, the singer still finds herself saddened. “I’m so excited to do it,” she prefaces, “but I can’t help but realize that when I sold 10 million records I lost Matt. I sold 30 million and lost Luc. I did a movie and lose Taylor. It’s like a turnover.” She’s referring, respectively, to Matthew Michael Williams, her ex-boyfriend and ex-stylist; Luc Carl, a DJ and club promoter Gaga dated for a few years; and Kinney. And apparently Gaga is still feeling the brunt of all these losses. “This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this,” she laments.
But the moment when it really hit home for me was when she described her life at the end of the day. “All these people will leave. Right? They will leave. And then I will be alone,” she starts. “I go from people touching me all day and talking at me all day to total silence.” And that’s when I actually shed a tear. This was not the whining of a megastar, acting ungrateful for the millions of fans and dollars at her fingertips. This was someone craving deep, intimate human connection — a feeling that appears to only be intensified by the fact that she is constantly interacting with other people.
There has been much talk about the choice posed to many between their careers, their love lives, and having families. Is it impossible to do both? Is it ridiculous that we even have to ask? Is “having it all” a byproduct of warped ideas of respectability? The answers are different for every woman depending on what they want. For Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — the woman whose job pushes her to her physical and mental limits every day — the stakes of getting it right are clearly higher. I ended Five Foot Two with a wish and a prayer that she’ll get the happy ending she wants.
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