Lady Gaga‘s emotional performance of ‘Til It Happens to You’ at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday earned her and the sexual assault survivors she took the stage with a standing ovation from the Hollywood elite. But now the singer has said that things got even more emotional during the rehearsal before the show.
“The first day of rehearsal with all the survivors I could barely get myself together,” Gaga wrote on Instagram, which she posted alongside a photo with two of the women featured in the performance. “My body was wrecked with inflammation and pain, crying and shaking the whole walk to the stage. The whole night before I did not sleep. The fear of knowing I would finally face that I belonged in that group.”
Gaga said she broke down during the rehearsal and that the survivors had to step up and support her so she could get through it.
“I told them I was so sorry I couldn’t be Lady Gaga for them, that I couldn’t even get dressed. I could barely get through the song, couldn’t hit any of the high notes. Hair wet, sloppy tee shirt jeans uggs, tissues. They all hugged me and told me that it was okay because it was more real this way, that they understood that they were in pain too,” Gaga wrote. “They told me they were there for me to support me because they believed this message needed to be heard. Without them, I never could have felt strong. They accepted me for me, at my lowest and that was good enough for them, so somehow through the magic of their courage, they made it good enough for me too.”
Powerful stuff. Gaga has previously opened up about her own experience with being raped when she was 19 years old.
During the performance, each of the survivors stood silently on stage while displaying a slogan speaking out against sexual assault on their arms.
Plenty of celebrities were moved by the performance. Entertainment Tonight reported that the song left Kate Winslet and Rachel McAdams in tears. Oscar winner Brie Larson went out of her way to hug every single survivor that was on stage while Jason Segel and Jared Leto also made time for the women.
“The support we received was amazing,” one of the performers, Kirat Sandhu, a member of the “It’s On Us” campaign, told ET on Monday.