Lady Gaga has managed to be so consistently outré that we thought she’d run out of ways to shock us (though eating David Letterman’s notes was a valiant effort) — until we read that she’d spent so much on tour costumes she’d actually bankrupted herself.
Our first instinct was to assume the story was fake — our original spotting cited no sources and seemed intentionally vague — but a little digging turned up this wide-ranging interview in the Financial Times with actor-writer-audio-book-reader Stephen Fry, and lo and behold: it’s true!
…It should be pointed out that Lady Gaga did herself few financial favours during her last major world tour, The Monster Ball, which she began in 2009 to promote her album The Fame Monster. One of the most successful promotional tours ever, it quite literally bankrupted her. Her habit of redesigning, reformatting and revising it from the ground up, all of which experiments and changes she paid for out of her own pocket, certainly made the tour one of the most extraordinarily varied and unpredictable in history, but also one of the least profitable…
“It’s honestly true that money means nothing to me. The only big things I’ve purchased are my dad’s heart valve and a Rolls-Royce for my parents, for their anniversary. And that was only because my dad had a Lady Gaga licence plate on our old car and it was making me crazy because he was getting followed everywhere, so I bought him a new car. Other than that I put everything in the show, and I actually went bankrupt after the first extension of The Monster Ball. And it was funny because I didn’t know! And I remember I called everybody and said, “Why is everyone saying I have no money? This is ridiculous, I have five number one singles – and they said, ‘Well, you’re $3m in debt.’”
The tour eventually made all the money back (and more) thanks to HBO’s television special and a few extra dates courtesy of Live Nation, but we kind of love how willy-nilly she is about her money — especially considering she’s managed to top Oprah on Forbes‘ Celebrity 100 list. Celebrities: they’re just like us (in that they don’t pay their bills.)
Lady Gaga Takes Tea With Mr Fry [Financial Times]