Lady Gaga is flying high after the massive success of her 2018 movie, A Star Is Born. The film opened to rave reviews and has gone on to receive five Golden Globe nominations, winning one for Best Original Song.
The film is currently generating a lot of Oscar buzz, with Gaga's performance garnering particular acclaim. One of the smartest decisions Bradley Cooper, who directed and starred in the movie, made was to have all the music be performed live. This aspect adds an extra layer of emotional realism that really sells the flick. This is made abundantly clear at the end of the movie when Gaga's character, Ally, sings her poignant final song - I'll Never Love Again. However, Lady Gaga has revealed that her emotions in that scene are 100% authentic.
In a featurette for the movie, The Road to Stardom: Making A Star Is Born, Gaga explained that just before she was about to record the song, she received the awful news that one of her best friends, Sonja Durham, had passed away. Sonja had been battling stage four breast, lung and brain cancer and had unfortunately lost her fight.
When asked about receiving the news, Gaga said: "I remember that day very unfondly, in a way. I actually left the set." The shoot was understandably put on hold to allow Gaga time to grieve. But after contacting Sonja's husband, they decided that her friend would have wanted her to go ahead with the scene.
Gaga reportedly asked the audience to use her performance as a tribute to Sonja and her husband, helping the actress get through the scene. Speaking to all of the extras on set, Gaga said:
"If you could help me today, and really think of not just Sonja but how it feels to lose someone, think of her husband, maybe, for me. I think that energy will penetrate this room. I think she'll hear it."
Gaga posted a touching tribute to her friend on her Instagram soon after.
Underneath the moving photo of her friend she wrote:
"I don't know how to put a price on a friendship. I'm not even sure how you can assess the size of its meaning, only really your heart truly knows and it's too special for words. I feel two competing feelings. Firstly, that I will live everyday with more passion, more determination, more compassion and more giving than ever before. Because that's who she was, and it's what drew us to each other, and I know it's what she always wanted for me.
"She had this incredible way of releasing me from the anchor of my own sadness that held me back, she loved me fearlessly while I learned how to cope with fame and stay inspired no matter how scared I was. She knew all I cared about was the music. She made that ok. The other feeling I have is that of being robbed of the last 10 years of my life, friendship and career with her. Like someone took her from us, and with that taking took all the good times.
"I know that's not true, and I know that I have those memories forever, I'm just in shock that I will never have new ones with her. I'm in shock that I won't see her again until I pass too. I vow to be a little stronger everyday for her because that's what she would have wanted, I vow to be stronger for anyone who's lost somebody to cancer. I'm a part of that family now. I vow to be a warrior for her and be a voice for cancer patients so the world can continue to improve the dialogue and the fight.
"I loved her. I still love her. And I love so much her husband Andre, stepson Sante, and friends. I made them some food yesterday. I will keep cooking. Cooking my soul until it understands this. Last thing I told her, 'Go find Joanne, Sonj.' Somehow I think she did."
Thanks to Gaga and her amazing performance, Sonja's memory will live on.