Lady Gaga's Exes Fight for 'Artpop' Scraps in Ongoing Legal Drama

Former friend Wendy Starland notches victories in lawsuit against producer Rob Fusari

Lady Gaga Lawsuit Fusari Starland
Lady Gaga: can you really put a price on fame? Photo by Getty Images
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

Back in 2010, a legal battle began between Lady Gaga's former friend and collaborator Wendy Starland and Lady Gaga's former boyfriend and producer Rob Fusari. The former claimed that she'd not gotten her monetary due for her part in discovering the ARTPOP star, while the latter denied he'd ever agreed to bring her in on the molding of Stefani Germanotta's career. Then in July, as VIBE reported, Gaga got in on the action, filing documents that would block either party from sharing certain "sensitive, private, and personal" information that could "inflict significant personal and professional harm upon [her]."

While the case is still in the New Jersey district court, a development has occurred. Exactly three years after Fusari filed a counterclaim calling for the whole case to be thrown out (ideally before all of that icky secret stuff has to come out), Judge Jose L. Linares on November 15 ruled that the trial will go on. Fusari's claims that Starland's suit should be shut down were based around allegations of fraud, timing, estoppel, and something called the doctrine of unclean hands. While all of those were tossed, Fusari did score a small victory.

Starland's request that a trust be set up — to collect a portion of his Gaga-related future earnings, for her, from now until forever — was denied. The judge also acknowledged that Starland defamed and slandered Fusari in an interview for the book Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga. The quote in question? When Starland asked Fusari, who was engaged, why he'd jeopardize his relationship to be with Gaga. His response, she said: "the money and the fame 'was a rush.'"

Judge Linares also wrote that his full opinion on the matter will be unsealed within 10 days unless the parties successfully argue as to why it should not be shared. TMZ reported in August that Gaga's attempt to block the offending documents was successful, with the judge pointing out that both the artist and Fusari were against that information becoming a matter of public record. Meanwhile, the Lady recently simulated sex with R. Kelly on Saturday Night Live, and SPIN reviewed her latest album ARTPOP with assistance from kittens. Also: Here's Art vs. Pop: A Seven-Decade Timeline of Music Crashing the Gallery (and Vice Versa).

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