The Born This Way star, real name Stefani Joanne Germanotta, has previously opened up about her own sexual assault at the hands of an unnamed producer early on in her career, at the age of 19, but she admits it wasn't the first time her family has faced the painful experience.

Gaga opened up about the personal significance of her Oscar-nominated ballad Til It Happens to You, the theme song for The Hunting Ground, which explores sex attacks on college campuses, before a rare performance of the track at the Producers Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday (23Jan16).

Sitting at a piano onstage, the singer, who shares her middle name with her late aunt Joanne Germanotta, explained, "It's not only an important issue to me, but it's an important issue to my family because when my father's sister was in college, she was sexually assaulted. Then, it tormented her so emotionally that it caused the lupus that she had to get so bad that she died."

"My father was 16, and it affected my family really tremendously my whole life," she continued. "That's one of the centerpieces of our family. So this song means so much to me and so much to my parents."

Gaga went on to express her love for songwriter Dianne Warren, with whom she penned the song.

The singer's appearance at the PGA Awards was briefly delayed after showing up late for her stage introduction.

Actress America Ferrera had been handed the job of presenting the musical break, but after the video introduction aired, the former Ugly Betty star quipped, "So actually she's not here. Yet. Um... So I guess I'm singing the song. Yah, no. But she's going to be here. They tell me imminently."

After an awkward moment of silence, she then jokingly asked the audience if they had any questions, before saying, "Oh she's here. As much as I wanted to sing that song, please welcome The Lady."