Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga‘s mother, recently revealed details about her daughter’s mental health in middle school.
In an interview with CBS This Morning that aired Wednesday, Germanotta recalled when Gaga’s mental health struggles began.
“Stefani was very unique and that wasn’t always appreciated by her peers and, as a result, she went through a lot of difficult times,” Germanotta said. “Humiliated, taunted, isolated. When you’re a young woman, this really severely impacts you.”
“It was in middle school when I saw that turn happen — when she went from a very happy and aspirational young girl to somebody that started to question her self-worth, to have doubts about herself, and that is when we actually saw the turn,” she said.
Gemonatta also admitted that she didn’t know how to handle her daughter’s mental health issues.
“I believe that we don’t treat [mental health] the same way that we treat physical health,” she said. “So, certainly, when it happened in our house, I didn’t know what to look for.”
“When I was growing up, times were different,” Germanotta explained. “The way that we would deal with things is what I learned, and that’s what I resorted to. I relied on getting a grip. I relied on the generational grit of just sucking it up and getting on with it.”
Lady Gaga in her fourth and final wardrobe change at the 2019 Met Gala.
Despite not knowing exactly what to do, Germanotta quickly recognized that Gaga’s declining mental health was having an effect on the family.
“What I didn’t realize is the profound impact that it can have,” she said. “It basically turns the focus of everything onto that one individual and families feel conflicted about it, they don’t really understand it; it causes conflict and a lot of stress within the families.”
“It can also cause feelings, for me personally, feelings of guilt, of helplessness — not knowing how to help my daughter,” Gemonatta continued. “So, what I really learned is that no family is immune from this, and we should all really learn where we would go and who we would turn to if something like this happened in our families.”
Germanotta encouraged parents to “really listen” to their kids when they talk about their feelings.
“What I learned from my daughter is to listen and validate her feelings. I think as parents, our natural instinct is to go into problem-solving mode […] when, in fact, they really just want us to take them seriously and understand what they’re saying.”
She also told fellow parents to be open and honest, saying: “Talk about your current or past struggles, so it really models healthy conversations and good behavior. So, the biggest thing is to really talk to them, and it’s certainly OK to not be OK and start to have these conversations.”
Gaga, 33, and her mother have both gone on to become outspoken advocates of mental health.
The “Born This Way” singer has been very open about her struggles, as showcased in her documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” which is streaming on Netflix.