All About Lady Gaga’s Parents, Cynthia and Joe Germanotta

Here’s everything to know about Gaga’s parents, including their family’s Italian restaurant in New York City

Meet Lady Gaga’s No. 1 fans.

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in 1986, the Grammy and Oscar winner was raised by mom Cynthia and dad Joe Germanotta in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City.

She grew up in an Italian-American household alongside her younger sister, Natali Veronica. Cynthia and Joe enrolled their daughters in an all-girls Catholic School where they studied throughout their childhood before pursuing their respective careers.

Both Gaga’s parents were very supportive of her musical pursuits, sensing her gifted talents at a very young age. However, that didn’t stop them from being protective of their daughter.

“My dad wouldn’t give me money to go out on the weekends because he knew I was going downtown and being bad,” she told New York Magazine in 2011. However, Joe did encourage her musical pᴀssions — even offering to pay her New York University rent for a year if her music endeavors didn’t work out.

Throughout Gaga’s rise to stardom, her parents have been by her side. Gaga developed a stronger relationship with her mom since opening up about mental health and advocating for others to do the same. As for Joe, he’s been basking in a “proud dad” state of mind.

“I used to wake up and think to myself, you know what? What happened? Where did this come from? I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world,” he said on Mornings with Maria.

Here’s everything to know about Gaga’s parents, from their family restaurant to their non-profit organization.

They raised Lady Gaga in New York City

Joe and Cynthia raised Gaga in New York City’s Upper West Side, where she grew up alongside her younger sister Natali — now, a fashion designer — in a Manhattan duplex. She and her sister were enrolled in Sacred Heart, an all-girls Catholic school near Guggenheim.

Those who attended the prestigious school came from diverse backgrounds. “Some had extreme wealth, others were on welfare and scholarship, and some were in the middle, which was my family,” Gaga told New York Magazine at the start of her fame. “All our money went into education and the house.”

After school, Gaga waited tables at a diner, using one of her first paychecks to purchase a Gucci handbag like the designer goods the other girls had.

“I was so excited because all the girls at Sacred Heart always had their fancy purses, and I always had whatever,” she told the outlet. “My mom and dad were not buying me a $600 purse.”

They encouraged Lady Gaga’s musical pᴀssion from a young age

Cynthia and Joe supported Gaga’s pursuit of music before she was one year old. At the time, Cynthia’s mother-in-law, Angelina Germanotta, asked if they wanted Joe’s childhood piano. Thinking it would be “wonderful to have a piano in the house” since they all loved music, Gaga’s parents agreed to the offer.

“That family piano was the beginning of and a catalyst for a curious, creative, compᴀssionate and self-driven baby girl,” Cynthia said at Billboard’s Women in Music 2015 as she presented the Woman of the Year award to her daughter.

“She learned to walk by grabbing on to the leg of that piano and pulling herself up and in the process, managed to reach the keys. She heard the sound and thereafter, day after day, she would go to the piano and press those black and white keys,” Cynthia continued.

“Four years later, she was playing by ear, and we asked if she wanted to take piano lessons at school. She didn’t understand why because she said, ‘Mommy, I hear music in my head,'” Cynthia explained. At age 6, Gaga wrote her first song — “Dollar Bills,” a tune they later learned was inspired by Pink Floyd’s “Money.”

They own a family restaurant in Manhattan

In 2012, Cynthia and Joe opened up Joanne’s Trattoria, their family’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan off Columbus Avenue. Despite its name, Gaga isn’t as involved in the business as her parents.

The fare is Southern Italian, paying homage to the Germanotta’s roots, combined with chef Art Smith’s specialty cuisine as a Florida native. (Smith was formally the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, in addition to notable Florida politicians.)

Since its inception, Joanne’s Trattoria has thrived; however, recent economic factors — in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic — have made it “harder to make ends meet,” Joe told Fox News in February 2023.

Simultaneously, Joe owned Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. The restaurant opened in 2018 but permanently closed after Joe “refused to pay rent” on the establishment, reported Fox Business in 2020.

Cynthia co-founded the Born This Way Foundation with Lady Gaga

In 2012, Cynthia and Gaga co-founded the Born This Way Foundation (named after the singer’s second album and тιтle track released in 2011), a non-profit that places focus on empowering youth and emphasizing equality by addressing issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development.

“It’s something that’s very, very personal to us and it goes back to the struggles Stefani had growing up,” Cynthia told PEOPLE of the organization. “She envisioned a world where young people were better equipped to deal with her struggles than she was.”

In 2019, Cynthia was named by the United Nations’ World Health Organization as one of the four Goodwill Ambᴀssadors, specifically for mental health. In February 2023, the Born This Way Foundation celebrated its 11th anniversary.

Cynthia’s co-authored a book with Lady Gaga

In September 2020, Cynthia and her daughter embarked on another venture together. This time, they teamed up to co-author Channel Kindness, a book consisting of 51 inspirational stories from young people around the world.

“These are the things that create highways from heart to heart, where we can hold compᴀssion and empathy, where we can celebrate everybody’s resilience,” Gaga told PEOPLE about the collection of words, in addition to the personal notes of empowerment from the singer herself.

“When I was younger and had mental issues, my mom didn’t know how to communicate with me about it,” she added. “We’ve found a way to channel kindness into our lives in a way that’s also healed our relationship.”

The mother-daughter duo is proud of how far they’ve come since Gaga’s younger years and have forged an unbreakable bond. “[I treasure] how we’ve learned to be more open and honest with one another. She helped me do that,” Cynthia said of her daughter.

Gaga added: “I’m just really grateful that my mom holds space for me to be able to talk about how I feel. And because of that, we have a very healthy relationship that is beautiful.”

They both have impressive college degrees

Prior to her charitable endeavors alongside her daughter, Cynthia graduated from West Virginia University and earned a master’s degree from George Washington University before working in telecommunications as a V.P. at Verizon.

Meanwhile, Joe graduated from Michigan State University. Following graduation, Joe served as the chief executive of GuestWi-Fi, a company that installed Wi-Fi in H๏τels.

 

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