Lady Gaga has opened up about her tumultuous year as she struggled to come to terms with criticism of her hit track Born This Way, disagreements with her record label, body image issues, and betrayal by "lifelong friends".
The Poker Face singer has written an open letter to fans detailing the problems she has faced over the last 12 months, revealing she fell out with record company executives over her choices of singles, and had bust-ups with video directors who didn't share her artistic vision.
She also comments on the fallout over her track Born This Way after she was accused of copying the melody from Madonna's Express Yourself, with the Material Girl even combining the two tracks while performing on her current tour.
In a post on her Littlemonsters.com website, Gaga writes, "Today is a really happy day for me. The past year was a challenge, and I'm so happy to have my spirit back. I felt in chains at times. Whether is be the record label disagreeing with me on single choices, or directors who could only create an idea of 'Gaga' or what I've 'done before' and (were) not able to move forward, and there was also of course the incessant dragging of the most important single of my career in dead-beaten-horse-mud."
Gaga also reveals she has endured traumatic personal problems, telling fans she has been "betrayed" by friends and colleagues and tortured over her looks, but she insists she has now "removed" those people from her life and moved on.
She adds, "There were all the personal moments. Betrayed by lifelong friends, mentors I've had for years suddenly taking advantage of me, and a massive struggles with my body image. I've grown and left most of these things behind, the monsters of fame are very real. But I wanted to thank you for baring with me a little bit...
"I am feeling blessed to have removed those from my life driven by money and luxury, it's all about the art of it. I feel free today. Thank you for always being there for me monsters. I love you."