Producer ex-boyfriend sues Lady Gaga for $30M-plus
Rob Fusari, a songwriter and music producer who co-wrote some of Lady Gaga's first records -- and was her boyfriend before breaking up with her in 2007 -- is suing the pop star for more than $30 million, saying she squeezed him out of her career once success hit.
Says the lawsuit: "All business is personal. When those personal relationships evolve into romantic entanglements, any corresponding business relationship usually follows the same trajectory so that when one crashes, they all burn. That is what happened here."
Fusari's suit says he came up with the "Lady Gaga" name and helped her get her first record deal; Gaga, who at 23 has two Grammys and has sold more than 10 million records worldwide, told the "how I got my name" story differently to Rolling Stone in 2009. Both versions of the story involve words typed on a cellular telephone.
Fusari, who co-wrote songs including "Paparazzi" and "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich," says he had a contract for 20% of royalties, 15% of merchandising revenue and more, the Washington Post reports. The suit says a friend steered the singer to his New Jersey studio in March 2006 when she was still going by Stefani Germanotta.
We'd like to point out that -- in an odd, fall-of-Western-civilization type twist to this story -- the word "guidette" ...
"Fusari was expecting someone a little more grunge-rocker than the young Italian girl 'guidette' that arrived at his doorstep and was worried that he had made a mistake."
A spokesman for Lady Gaga had no comment for CNN on Thursday.
[Updated at 11:36 a.m.: MTV has an article that goes into the legal document in more detail.]
-- Christie D'Zurilla
P.S.: In August 2009, Frankie Fredericks, who says he was Lady Gaga's first, unpaid booking manager when she was 19, told the website Hollywood Chaos that the 20 shows he booked for her were part of what attracted Fusari as a producer. Fredericks also said he'd never met Fusari; he was hurt that he didn't get even a thank-you on Gaga's album.
Photo: Lady Gaga attends the MAC Viva Glam Launch in London on March 1, 2010. Credit: Ian Gavan / Getty Images.Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip: Racy Miley Cyrus royally outdoes Lady Gaga in front of the queen (Hide your eyes, your majesty!) [poll]