A songwriter and music producer claims pop star Lady Gaga squeezed him out of her lucrative career after he co-wrote some of her songs, came up with her stage name and helped her get a record deal.
Rob Fusari has filed a $35m lawsuit in New York City against the Grammy Award-winning singer, saying his protege and former girlfriend ditched him as her fame soared.
It says a friend steered the piano-playing singer to him in March 2006, when she was known by her real name, Stefani Germanotta.
Although he initially dismissed her, Fusari realised she had star potential after hearing her play in his studio, the lawsuit said.
As they co-wrote songs such as Paparazzi and Beautiful, Dirty, Rich, which would appear on her debut album, The Fame, he transformed Germanotta into Lady Gaga, a name which was adapted from Queen's Radio Ga Ga, the lawsuit said.
Lady Gaga's spokes-man, Dave Tomberlin, was not available for comment.