'The first day of rehearsal with all the survivors I could barely get myself together'

By Will Robinson
March 01, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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Lady Gaga’s stirring performance of “Til It Happens to You” became the emotional apex of Sunday’s Oscars when, near the end of the song, she was joined by 50 survivors of sexual assault.

They stood around her with messages like “Survivor” and “Unbreakable” written on their arms. Though the audience and viewers a home were moved, Gaga now says she struggled to get to that moment.

On Tuesday morning, she shared an Instagram post from the first day of rehearsal with all the survivors. It was such an emotional day that left the 29-year-old Gaga’s body “wrecked with inflammation and pain, crying and shaking the whole walk to the stage,” she wrote.

A source of Gaga’s nerves was the public recognition that she, too, was a survivor of sexual assault. The musical side of the performance went poorly in the first run-through, she wrote.

“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,” Gaga writes. “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. 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,” she continues. “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.”

But her nerves didn’t seem to bother the survivors and those present at the rehearsal. In a recent interview with EW, Kirat Sandhu, one of the women who stood on stage, remembered the first time the pop star met the group: “We were with Gaga’s choreographer when she showed up to rehearse and we were just so surprised. She pushed her production team aside and spoke to us. She told us we were not just bodies on a stage. We were there as a support system to her.”

RELATED: Inside Lady Gaga’s heart-wrenching Oscars performance

The performance resonated with those inside and outside of the Dolby Theatre, including fellow pop singer Kesha. She is currently suing her alleged abuser, music producer Dr. Luke, for sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.

Kesha praised Gaga and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for drawing attention to sexual assault at the Oscars. Earlier last week, Gaga empathized with the #FreeKesha movement by sharing a photo of the two of them.

Remember Gaga’s Oscars performance here.

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release date
  • 02/28/16
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