From Madonna to Jeremy Renner: A Guide to Lady Gaga's Most Meaningful Relationships

The Haus of Gaga is full, Little Monsters.

By Billy Nilles 28 Mar, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Lady Gaga, 2019 Oscars, 2019 Academy Awards, Red Carpet FashionsSteve Granitz/WireImage

It's time for a Haus of Gaga headcount.

In the decade that we've known Lady Gaga, it's seemed as though the woman otherwise known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta arrived on the scene fully-formed, a product of otherworldly talent, fierce fashion scene, and unflappable determination. But as we all know, behind every one of us is a collection of supporters, influencers and loved ones all helping to shape us into the people we are and will still become. And that's no different for Mother Monster.

And the latest name to be inducted into the Haus? Jeremy Renner, coming in truly from out of left field.

Just days before the "Shallow" singer headed south of the border to ring in her 33rd birthday on Thursday, March 28 in what a source tells E! News is her "happy place"—Cabo San Lucas—Gaga and the Avengers star made headlines when it got out that they've apparently been spending time together. While some were quick to assume the relationship was romantic in nature, an insider tells us the pair have been friends for "a while" and "often hang out when they both are in town."

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Lady Gaga's Biggest Moments of 2018

Renner's just the latest in a long line of names—some famous, some not—to reveal themselves to be of importance to the Oscar-winning diva. So, in honor of her big day, let's take a look at all the people who've made an impact on Mother Monster over the years, helping to shape her into the icon we know and love today.

The Germanottas

Gaga remains especially close to her parents, Joseph and Cynthia, as well as her sister Natali. "Making your dad happy is, especially for an Italian Catholic girl, I'll tell you, it feels really good," she told CBS News in 2017. "And I feel that today.  You know, all the awards in the world, you can get into all the nightclubs, they'll send you the nicest clothes. Nothing better than walking into your dad's restaurant and seeing a smile on his face and knowing that your mom and dad and your sister are real proud of you. And that, you know, you haven't lost touch with who you are. That, for me, is real success."

Rob Fusari

After a 2006 Songwriters Hall of Fame New Songwriters Showcase in New York City, talent scout Wendy Starland introduced Gaga to music producer Rob Fusari. With Gaga traveling to New Jersey daily to work with him, they began collaborating and, according to a 2010 lawsuit filed against the superstar by Fusari, dating. They wrote a number of future hits together, including "Beautiful, Dirty Rich" and "Paparazzi." When Fusari went after Gaga for $30.5 million after she became the biggest pop star on the planet, he even alleged that he was the one who bestowed her iconic stage name upon her, claiming it was inspired by the Queen hit "Radio Gaga." The suit was later dismissed by the New York Supreme Court.

Troy Carter

In 2007, Vincent Herbert, Gaga's A&R guy at Streamline (an imprint of Interscope) and Tamar Braxton's ex-husband, recruited Troy Carter represent Gaga. "She was very specific about her vision, all of the music was there, and all she needed was someone to help her translate it to the rest of the world, which is where I came in," Carter recalled of their first meeting during an early 2013 interview. He helped guide her through her career as she ascended to greater and greater heights of superstardom until their relationship came to an abrupt end in November of 2013 over "creative differences." Neither has elaborated on what, exactly, transpired to tear them apart in all the years since.

RedOne

Gaga was introduced to the Moroccan producer and songwriter, born Nadir Khayat, in late 2007 and, as he told HitQuarters.com in 2009, they wrote their first song together--"Boys Boys Boys"--within one day. "We just clicked," he added. He would come to co-write seven songs on her debut album, The Fame, including breakthrough hits "Just Dance," "LoveGame," and "Poker Face." Their partnership has been so powerful that there isn't an album in Gaga's career that doesn't have him listed somewhere in the songwriting credits.

Akon

When Akon heard Gaga sing shortly after she was signed at Interscope, he was so impressed by her that he convinced chairman Jimmy Iovine to enter into a joint deal, allowing her to also sign to his label KonLive Distribution.  "She's incredible," he told MTV News in 2009. "That's my franchise player at the moment. Gaga's been so incredible." He can be heard in her breakout hit "Just Dance" in a hook that probably jumped into your head the minute we brought it up. 

Luc Carl

Gaga first started dating this bar owner back in 2005, just before breaking big. Their relationship was on-and-off for years until they finally parted ways for good in 2011. Her hit "You and I" was written about him. "I've really never loved anyone like I loved him. Or like I love him," she told Rolling Stone in 2010. "That relationship really shaped me. I sort of resolved that if you can't have the guy of your dreams, there are other ways to give love."

Lisa Vanderpump

An avid Bravo fan, Gaga booked the entire cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and Bravo overlord Andy Cohen) for the filming of her iconic 2014 music video "G.U.Y.," and in the process, made a true friend out of Lisa Vanderpump. Gaga's been spotted at LVP's West Hollywood restaurants a handful of times over the years, most recently enjoying a night out with the animal lover, her husband Ken Todd, and Vanderpump Rules stars Tom Sandoval and Billie Lee in March 2019.

Kesha

As Kesha has been embroiled in a years-long battle against record producer Dr. Luke over the former's allegations of sexual assault perpetrated by the latter, no one has defended her more fiercely that fellow sexual assault survivor, Lady Gaga. "There are people all over the world who love you @KeshaRose," Gaga tweeted way back in February 2016. "And I can truly say I am in awe of your bravery." The newly-minted Oscar winner was even questioned in the case, with her unsealed deposition revealing some truly powerful quotes. "Why on earth would this girl tell the entire world this happened? Why on earth?" she asked Dr. Luke's lawyer. "Do you know what it's like for survivors? Do you know what it's like to tell people? Don't you roll you eyes at me. You should be ashamed of yourself."

Joanne Germanotta

Gaga never met her aunt Joanne Germanotta, who sadly passed away of complications from lupus at the tender age of 19 over a decade before her niece would arrive in the world, but she's had an impact on the superstar her entire life. Not only is her middle name a tribute to her aunt, but she also credits her for helping Gaga to overcome her addiction issues. Calling her "one of the most important figures in my life," the album Joanne is not only named after her, but largely influenced by her as well. "The spirit of Joanne is very much alive within my family. My dad has a restaurant called Joanne, and for me, personally, it means I must live every day as if it was my last," she told V Magazine in 2017. "Catholic guilt. It's those stories, those classic stories, that made me tough."

Nicola Formichetti

Gaga first began working with the future Nicopanda designer back in 2009 when he was hired as her stylist for a shoot with photographer Sebastian Faena for the July 2009 issue of V Magazine. From that day through 2013, Formichetti would play a major role in her style as the Haus of Gaga's art director, with both hoping to reshape the world of fashion by making it accessible for everyone. But by 2013, his roles at Mugler, Uniqlo and Diesel left him too busy to remain in the role. "She's going to be my BFF forever, but my ex-assistant Brandon is heading that project," he told WWD in 2013. "I'm too busy with [other commitments]. I've done two albums with her, it's been like five years, and you know, I'm always going to be involved somehow, but I cannot do it every day. She changes 12 times a day; it's insane." And that Brandon he speaks of? That'd be new Project Runway judge and designer to Michelle Obama, Brandon Maxwell.

Jonas Akerlund

The iconic music video director began working with Gaga in 2009 on the clip for "Paparazzi." They re-teamed a year later on the next-level video for "Telephone," seen above, and again in 2017 on "John Wayne." And if you watch all three videos back-to-back, they appear to form one singular story. Genius. 

Alexander McQueen

Prior to his tragic suicide in 2010, Gaga had become the unofficial muse to fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Remember those out-of-this-world armadillo heels in the "Bad Romance" video? A McQueen design of course. And only one of many that the star has rocked. When she released her third album in 2011, Born This Way, she dedicated the song "Fashion of His Love" to the late designer.

Ryan Murphy

Back before Bradley Cooper was directing her all the way to the Oscars, Gaga was given a chance on the small screen courtesy of American Horror Story impressario Ryan Murphy. Looking for a new leading lady for the fifth installment of his hit FX anthology series after Jessica Lange opted out, Murphy tapped Gaga to star in 2015's Hotel. And it earned her a Golden Globe. She returned the following season in a guest-starring role, calling Murphy a "creative soulmate." In late 2018, Murphy affirmed that he and Gaga would "always work together" and asserted that they were talking about her "producing a couple of things" with him. 

Taylor Kinney

While filming the music video for "You and I" in July 2011, Gaga met actor Taylor Kinney, who starred as her love interest in the six-minute-long clip. By December, they went public with their long-speculated romance and in February 2015, they were engaged. "When you meet someone that's not intimidated by the amazing people that are around you [or] by the love that you receive—that's love," she told Fashion magazine about their relationship in December 2013. "Men weren't always happy for me. It was very challenging to watch a woman be so successful." Sadly, by July 2016, they'd call the engagement off after five years together. "They want to keep it private," an insider shared with E! News at the time. "It's heartbreaking." She'd open up about the split in her 2017 Netflix doc, saying "It's hard enough when love isn't working out the way you want it to and you have to walk down the street with somebody going, ‘Are You OK?' I had to go into the deepest pain in my life. I had to go into the part of myself that you don't want to face." 

Donatella Versace

Over the years, Gaga has served as both muse and friend to iconic fashion designer Donatella Versace. She even dedicated a track to her on the 2013 album Artpop, appropriately entitled "Donatella." "It's not so much about Donatella as a brand as it is Donatella the person; about me as a person; that idea of what the public wants from you," Gaga said of the track. "It's about being a fearless female and not caring what people say about you - being proud of who you are and walking the walk no matter what." Speaking with Just Jared, Versace said, "I would like to thank Gaga for her geniality, creativity, incredible talent and super bitchiness. I am honoured to be her friend and of course I love the song!"

Tony Bennett

When Gaga's 2013 album Artpop turned into something of an artflop, she made a hard pivot out of the pop music scene and teamed up with the legendary singer Tony Bennett for the collaborative jazz album, Cheek to Cheek. The album came about after Bennett asked Gaga to join him on his earlier album Duets II. "I was so nervous to go into the studio with him, I just wanted him to hear I have an authentic jazz voice and that I studied that," Gaga told Radio.com. "If he can hear that, I'm okay. If he can't hear it, I'm not an authentic jazz voice." Luckily, he heard it.

Sonja Durham

Best friend to Gaga and the longtime director managing director of Haus of Gaga, Sonja Durham sadly lost her battle to stage four breast, brain, and lung cancer in May 2017. Gaga would later reveal that the very day Durham passed away, she had to film the final scene of A Star Is Born, in which--spoiler alert--her character Ally performs the emotional song "I'll Never Stop Loving You" in tribute to her late husband Jackson. After leaving set to be with Durham as she passed, her family encouraged Gaga to return to work. "She gave me a tragic gift that day and I took it with me to set and I sang that song for Jackson and for her on that very same day within an hour," she told Zane Lowe in October 2018. "Bradley [Cooper] was so beautiful with me that day, he was so loving. He was like, ‘You don't have to do it too many times, it's okay.' And, I was like, ‘All I wanna do is sing, man.'" Prior to Durham's passing, Gaga paid tribute to her friend with the track "Grigio Girls" on her 2016 album Joanne

Christian Carino

Rumors about Gaga's romantic involvement with talent agent Christian Carino when he was spotted kissing her on the cheek before her headlining performance at the Super Bowl LI halftime show in early 2017. By that summer, they were engaged. Nearly two years after they first began making headlines, the rumor mill began wondering if things were over between the two when Gaga showed up at the 2019 Grammys solo and without her $400,000 pink sapphire engagement ring. Her rep later confirmed to E! News that they'd called the engagement off with a source telling us it "just didn't work out. Relationships sometimes end." They added, "It's not a long dramatic story."

Mark Ronson

For her 2016 album Joanne, Gaga began a working relationship with the British songwriter and producer that would carry over into the songwriting process for A Star Is Born. And as we all know, the bit of magic that was "Shallow" would go on to win each their first Academy Award for Best Original Song. "There's so many men in my life in business… [who made me] feel like what I was on my own wasn't good enough," Gaga said in her 2017 Netflix documentary, Gaga: Give Foot Two. "I don't feel that way working with Mark."

Jeremy Renner

Gaga's relationship with the Avengers actor seemingly came out of nowhere in March 2019, sparking romance rumors between the two single stars. However, a source told E! News that just isn't the case. "She has been friends with Jeremy Renner for a while. They often hang out when they are both in town," our insider told us. "She's been spending time with him recently but it's not romantic."

Bradley Cooper

Say it with us now: There can be 100 people in a room and 99 don't believe in you... For Gaga, that one person was Bradley Cooper, who was planning to direct a new version of the classic film A Star Is Born. After seeing the singer perform at a cancer research fundraiser, he approached her about playing the Ally to his Jackson. And honestly, the rest is Oscar-winning history. (Except for when it comes to acting work, in which case, both stars were robbed, we tell you.) Their connection was so intense and so convincing that, in the aftermath of her split from Carino, rumors began to spread that perhaps Cooper had something to do with it. Rumors that Gaga laughed off, naturally, as two actors simply having performed a job well done.

Madonna

Almost immediately as she arrived on the scene, Gaga began facing down comparisons to that other iconic blonde pop diva, Madonna. And for a while, it seemed as though the two were on friendly terms. But when the track "Born This Way" came out in 2011 and it seemed to have some direct inspiration from Madge's "Express Yourself," well, the gloves were off. Madonna would tell ABC News that the song felt "reductive" in 2012. In Gaga: Five Foot Two, Gaga said, "The thing with me and Madonna, for example, is: I admired her always. And I still admire her, no matter what she might think of me...But no matter how much respect I have for [Madonna] as a performer, I could never wrap my head around the fact that she wouldn't look me in the eye and tell me that I was reductive…I saw it on f--king TV. Telling me that you think I'm a piece of s--t through the media, it's like a guy passing me a note through his friend: 'my buddy thinks you're hot.' F--k you. Where's your buddy fucking throwing me up against the wall and kissing me? I just want Madonna to throw me up against the wall and kiss me and tell me I'm a piece of s--t." By Oscars night 2019, however, the two seemed to have let bygones be bygones as Madonna invited Gaga to her exclusive afterparty and they posed together for a now iconic photo. Could a collaboration be far off?