Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her Aunt Joanne's Lupus Battle in V Magazine

Lady Gaga
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Gaga poses for pictures on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the British Fashion Awards 2016 in London on Dec. 5, 2016. 

Lady Gaga candidly spoke of her late aunt Joanne, who inspired her album of the same name, in an interview for the latest issue of V magazine.

"Joanne is about living every day as if it’s my last," she said. "My father’s sister died when she was 19 — that was Joanne, my aunt. This was the center of the pain in my family. Growing up, I never understood what the tears of my family were about.”

Gaga went on to talk about how Joanne died from complications of lupus, "a terrible autoimmune disease." She never met her aunt, as her death came 12 years before she was born.

"[Joanne] died in 1974, but they had no idea why she died," she explained. "They didn’t know what it was. And so when she was really, really ill, she had these lesions on her hands and the doctors wanted to take her hands off. She was a painter, and she did needlepoint and crochet, and she was a writer and a poet. As Joanne neared death, my grandmother said, ‘I can’t let my daughter’s last moments on this earth be without her hands.’"

"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 repeated. "Catholic guilt. It’s those stories, those classic stories, that made me tough.” 

The singer also took the time to describe a recurring dream she's had and how that dream inspired her to connect further with fans through the material on Joanne.

"I keep seeing this girl. It’s in a dream. In the dream I’m playing at an amphitheater, outdoors, and beyond the seats there’s a field in back — it’s the cheap tickets. That’s where the girl is sitting, dressed in a Hanes sweatshirt, wearing her mom’s rolled-up jeans. She has three babies, two are running around her. There’s a cigarette in her hand, a glass of Pinot Grigio. She’s got on a lot of jewelry, mostly fake, but she also has on one heirloom piece. This girl is singing every word and she thinks, How is it possible that Lady Gaga understands how I feel? That girl — it’s me. She’s the one I’m writing to. With Joanne, I wanted to reach people, I wanted to bring all parts of the country together through this record," she said.

Check out Gaga's cover on the new issue of V Magazine --- with a profile that also tells of her love of horses ("It began when my record label gave me a horse for my birthday: an Arabian mare named Arabella. I had never taken a horse-riding lesson. I literally did not know how to ride a horse. But I just grabbed her by the mane and rode her bareback") -- on newsstands Aug. 31.