In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey for Elle, the 33-year-old singer addresses the dating rumors surrounding herself and Cooper after they portrayed a couple in A Star Is Born and performed their emotional hit song from the movie, "Shallow," at the 2019 Oscars.
"Quite frankly, I think the press is very silly," she says of the romance speculation. "I mean, we made a love story. For me, as a performer and as an actress, of course we wanted people to believe that we were in love."
"We wanted people to feel that love at the Oscars. We wanted it to go right through the lens of that camera and to every television that it was being watched on," she continues. "And we worked hard on it, we worked for days. We mapped the whole thing out -- it was orchestrated as a performance. In truth, when we talked about it, we went, 'Well, I guess we did a good job!'"
At the time, the rumors surrounding the pair was likely increased because Gaga had recently split from her fiance, Christian Carino. Meanwhile, 44-year-old Cooper, who also directed A Star Is Born, was just months away from announcing his breakup with Irina Shayk.
Despite Gaga and Cooper's chemistry onstage and on screen, Cooper, Winfrey says, recently told her that the performance -- in which he and Gaga sat at a piano and stared into each other's eyes -- was only possible because the romance rumors weren't true.
"We were talking about all the rumors about you guys last year. He said if they had been true, he never would have been able to look you in the eye sitting at that piano," Winfrey tells Gaga of her conversation with Cooper. "He said his Catholic guilt would have never let him be able to look you in the eye at that piano."
"Absolutely," Gaga agrees.
In addition to their triumphant performance, Gaga took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song that night for "Shallow." Despite the distinction and positive reaction for her work, Gaga tells Winfrey that the award itself was laced with pain.
"When I won the Oscar for 'Shallow,' I looked at it, and a reporter asked me, 'When you look at that Oscar, what do you see?'" And I said, 'I see a lot of pain,'" Gaga recalls. "And I wasn’t lying in that moment."
"I was raped when I was 19 years old, repeatedly. I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going," she explains. "And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it."
Gaga's statement post-win and preceding performance, were hardly the only things she's done in her career that left fans in awe. Perhaps the most iconic example came in 2010 when Gaga donned a dress made of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards.
"Instead of being shocking (I used to say 'shock art' or 'performance art'), I would use the word 'bemuse,' which is basically putting the audience in a state of confusion where they can’t look away. I used to just go, 'What am I going to do next to get people’s attention?'" she says of her mindset at the time. "The meat dress, quite frankly, I didn’t think it was going to be as shocking to everyone as it was."
"But that’s just me. I have a sort of eccentric brain, so for me, I was like, 'Of course this makes sense. I’m showing up to make a statement about don’t ask, don’t tell,'" she continues. "I went to the event with soldiers who were discharged from the army because they were out, or they were found out, and to me, if you’re willing to give up your life for your country, does it matter what your sexual orientation is or what your gender identity is? For me, it was like, 'Flesh is flesh.'"
That, she says, "was the intention of the meat dress," something which she didn't consider "shocking," despite the world's reaction. Since then, though, Gaga has shifted her priorities from shock value to sharing her message.
"After doing A Star Is Born, and working with Bradley Cooper, and my experience even with winning an Oscar -- I sort of just went to myself, 'You have a much greater mission on this earth than to freak the hell out of people.'" she says. "'Your mission is to give people a form of love through your art that lifts them up.'"