Lady Gaga is one of the biggest names in entertainment.
Born Stefani Joanne Angelica Germanotta, the singer, songwriter, and actress has sold over 27 million albums worldwide. Her successes are no secret, but what do we know about her personal life? What is there to learn about Gaga’s family?
1. She’s Close with Her Sister Natali
Gaga has a younger sister named Natali who works as a fashion designer. She studied at the NY fashion school, Parsons.
Both she and Gaga graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart, and according to a 2011 interview with Teen Vogue, Natali calls Gaga “Stefi”. Asked if they talk often, she says, “I mean, not when she’s in Japan and doesn’t have service.”
Questioned more about her family and their lives growing up, Natali explains, “Ever since we were kids, my parents gave us the freedom to be ourselves.”
While music isn’t necessarily Natali’s thing, she has appeared in some of her sister’s work. She played a grungy inmate in the music video for “Telephone.” Her IMDB also reports that she was her sister’s fashion stylist for A Star Is Born.
According to Vogue, Natali has led a successful career as a fashion designer. In 2011, she designed the costumes for the off-Broadway show, Simon Says.
2. Gaga and Her Mother Co-Founded the Born This Way Foundation
In 2012, Gaga and her other, Cynthia Germanotta, co-founded the Born This Way Foundation, an organization that “prides itself on encouraging young people to create a ‘kinder and braver world.'”
Speaking to In Style about working with her daughter on the foundation, Germanotta says, “To be able to build it with our daughter and my family has been very rewarding, but it actually came out of some struggles…” She goes on to discuss Gaga’s struggle with bullying, sexual assault, and PTSD.
Gaga’s mother explains: “The foundation really grew out of my daughter’s passion and her desire to help young people be better equipped than she felt that she was to deal with her problems. Let’s say that she was uniquely very different growing up and her peers didn’t always appreciate that. As a result, she experienced some meanness and cruelty at various times—things like being taunted, isolated, humiliated, both in school and out of school, and these things affected her very deeply. It shattered her self-value, her sense of self-worth, and she began to develop anxiety and depression in middle school. It’s something that followed her through college and even through her career.”
3. Her Aunt Joanne Passed Away from Lupus in 1974
Gaga’s aunt, Joanne, passed away on December 18, 1974, from lupus. She was just 18 at the time.
In her honor, Gaga’s father, Joseph Germanotta, opened up a restaurant called Joanna Trattoria in New York City in 2012.
In January 2016, Gaga opened up about her aunt’s sexual assault at the Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles. “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.”
4. Her Father Worked as an Internet Entrepreneur
Gaga was born to Italian-American parents and was raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Mic writes, “Gaga is known for her work ethic and her studiousness — and it started because her parents cared deeply about education from a young age and enrolled their daughter at Convent of the Sacred Heart, an Upper East Side private Catholic school.”
She began taking vocal lessons at age 11. As a child, she also took piano and acting classes. In an interview with The Telegraph, Gaga shared, “I was classically trained as a pianist and that innately teaches you how to write a pop song… Because when you learn Bach inversions, it has the same sort of modulations between the chords. It’s all about tension and release.”
5. Her Sister Helped Her Put Together Her Super Bowl Halftime Show Costumes
Gaga’s sister has been instrumental in her creative process. She even helped put together her costumes for her Super Bowl halftime show in 2017.
Speaking to In Style, Gaga’s mother was asked about raising two creative daughters, and how she was able to foster so much creativity at home. She said, “It’s really simple. It’s because we could see it. We could see the passion. We could see the joy that they gained from it, and we just made a decision to foster that. We were very [strict] with them about their schoolwork as well. I think it’s really important to complete school and be well rounded in studies, so it was important for them to focus on that, but it was just very simple. There was such a passion and a joy for it and they were excelling at it so we fostered it.”