If you saw Lady Gaga's acrobatic, drone-filled, firework-studded Super Bowl LI halftime show, you may not believe that the artist nearly quit her music career just a few years ago.
Stefani Germanotta, the powerhouse known as Lady Gaga, says burnout nearly ended her career and could have killed her.
"At the end of 2014, my stylist asked, 'Do you even want to be a pop star anymore?'" Germanotta tells Billboard Magazine. "I looked at him and I go, 'You know, if I could just stop this train right now, today, I would. I just can't. I need to get off now because I'm going to die.'"
Since her debut album "The Fame" dropped in 2008, Germanotta has become one of the biggest stars in the world, selling more than 10.4 million albums in the U.S. alone.
But career success came at a cost. The artists recalls that she was "overworked" and her pleas for time to rest were "ignored." In 2015, to the dismay of millions of fans, she announced her plans to retire.
Fast forward to 2017. Germanotta is back on the global stage, gearing up for a new world tour.
How did she bounce back from extreme burnout to find huge success?
The key was asking herself a crucial question: What do I really want to do?
"Once you start being mindful and really going, 'Do I actually want that?,' you start to feel empowered," she says. "You find your value."
Germanotta started focusing more on the work she wanted to be doing by devoting more time to her foundation Born This Way, which promotes LGBT acceptance and mental health awareness.
She declined opportunities she felt weren't advancing her career, such as spending days taking selfies for promotional use. She also committed more time to taking care of herself mentally and emotionally. Open about her struggle with anxiety, depression and PTSD, Germanotta says that prioritizing her well-being has been crucial to her successful return to the music industry.
"I was able," she writes in Harper's Bazaar, "to get off the train of endless work I'd been on."
Now she's back and, as she showed Super Bowl viewers, more than ready to rock.