First comes fame, then greed, then betrayal and finally lawsuits. Lady Gaga traversed the full arc of rock stardom yesterday (Mar. 17) when she was sued by her business partner and former lover, Rob Fusari.
Ironically, Fusari picked up Gaga when she was still known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta, and had been summarily dumped by her first record label. That’s usually the kiss of death for an artist.
Fusari claims in the $35 million suit that he co-wrote her songs, came up with her stage name and pointed her toward a record deal. In return, he charges, Gaga pushed him out of her life once her debut album, The Fame, took off and launched her career.
Gaga has since become a major dance/pop star who sells out stadium concerts and has won two Grammys.
Fusari realized she had star potential after inviting her to play for him at his Livingston, New Jersey, studio, the suit said.
He spent months “radically reshaping her approach,” persuading her to become a dance artist. What’s more he co-wrote some of her biggest hits, including “Paparazzi” and “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich.”
Both songs are on “The Fame.”
Fusari also came up with the name Lady Gaga, adapted from Queen’s hit song, “Radio Ga Ga,” the lawsuit states.
Gaga and Fusari became romantically involved and formed a business partnership in May 2006, which is the basis for the lawsuit.
The joint venture, Team Love Child LLC, gave Fusari a 20 percent of the royalties and 15 percent of merchandise, which is actually pretty generous on his part, given she was an unknown, once-rejected artist.
“The Fame” released in 2008 by Interscope records sold more than 3 million copies domestically, and Fusari’s name appears on the album as a producer.
Typically, the case will be settled and Fusari’s interest will be bought out for some sum of money. Or he could go the distance and force an accounting of hear earnings.
“All business is personal,” Fusari said in the lawsuit.