Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Aunt's Sexual Assault: 'It Tormented Her' Before She Died

"My father was 16, and it affected my family really tremendously my whole life," the singer shared at the Producers Guild Awards

Photo: John Salangsang/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP

Lady Gaga‘s Oscar-nominated song about rape hits close to home for her family.

On Saturday, the 29-year-old singer got candid about the personal significance of her ballad “Til It Happens to You” at the Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

Sitting at her piano before belting the tune – which she recorded for The Hunting Ground – a documentary about the realities of rape on college campuses – Gaga (né Stefani Joanne Germanotta) explained how her aunt Joanne Germanotta’s life was forever changed by sexual assault.

“It’s not only an important issue to me, but it’s an important issue to my family because when my father’s sister was in college, she was sexually assaulted,” said Gaga. “Then, it tormented her so emotionally that it caused the lupus that she had to get so bad that she died.”

She continued: “My father was 16, and it affected my family really tremendously my whole life. That’s one of the centerpieces of our family. So this song means so much to me and so much to my parents.”

Gaga went on to thank songwriter Dianne Warren, with whom she co-wrote the song, saying, “I love you very much.”

Taylor Kinney, 34, was on hand to support his fiancée, who stunned in a pink gown lined with black rhinestones by Carolina Herrera.

Gaga, whose performance follows up her Golden Globes win for American Horror Story: Hotel earlier this month, has been open about her own sexual assault at the age of 19.

“The person that I’m singing to is the person that wants to heal me – I’m telling them they can’t,” she said in The Hollywood Reporter‘s podcast, Awards Chatter. “I am so sick of people walking in and out of my life, telling me that I’m gonna be okay, because I am still in so much pain that you can’t understand.”

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