Lady Gaga Opens Up About the Lasting Effects of Sexual Assault

"I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm," the pop star told 'Vogue' of her PTSD symptoms. "And I begin to cry."

It’s been three years since Lady Gaga bravely revealed that she had been raped at the age of 19 by an unnamed music producer. In a new cover story interview for Vogue's October issue, the pop star opened up about the lasting effects of her traumatic experience.

Gaga said it "took years" for her to find the strength to share her story. "No one else knew. It was almost like I tried to erase it from my brain. And when it finally came out, it was like a big, ugly monster," she told the magazine. "And you have to face the monster to heal."

In 2015, the singer released "Til It Happens to You," her Oscar-nominated song featured in The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape. Gaga has said she channeled her own experience into the song, which she performed live at the 2016 Academy Awards, well before the #MeToo and Time's Up era.

"I feel like I’ve been an advocate but also a shocked audience member, watching #MeToo happen," Gaga continued. "I’m still in disbelief. And I’ve never come forward and say who molested me, but I think every person has their own relationship with that kind of trauma."

The Grammy winner went on to say that she suffers from PTSD because of the assault. "For me, with my mental-health issues, half of the battle in the beginning was, I felt like I was lying to the world because I was feeling so much pain but nobody knew," said Gaga. "So that’s why I came out and said that I have PTSD, because I don’t want to hide — any more than I already have to."

She continued: "I feel stunned. Or stunted. You know that feeling when you’re on a roller coaster and you’re just about to go down the really steep slope? That fear and the drop in your stomach? My diaphragm seizes up. Then I have a hard time breathing, and my whole body goes into a spasm. And I begin to cry. That’s what it feels like for trauma victims every day, and it’s…miserable. I always say that trauma has a brain. And it works its way into everything that you do."

Elsewhere in her Vogue interview, Gaga shared how she first met Bradley Cooper, with whom she stars in the upcoming film A Star Is Born. "The second that I saw him," she said, "I was like, Have I known you my whole life? It was an instant connection, instant understanding of one another."

Cooper — who plays Jack in the film, which he also directed — told Vogue that he offered Gaga the role of singer-songwriter Ally on the spot. "She came down the stairs and we went out to her patio," he said, "and I saw her eyes, and honestly, it clicked and I went, Wow."

Although Cooper doesn't consider himself a singer, he sings throughout A Star Is Born, both solo and alongside Gaga's Ally. According to Gaga, her co-star has a strong set of pipes. "He sings from his gut, from the nectar! I knew instantly: This guy could play a rock star. And I don’t think there are a lot of people in Hollywood who can," she said. "That was the moment I knew this film could be something truly special."

Read Gaga's full interview with Vogue here. A Star Is Born hits theaters Oct. 5.