In July 2023, legendary jazz singer Tony Bennett died at age 96 in his home in New York, less than two weeks before his 97th birthday. As music lovers worldwide continue celebrating and mourning Tony’s legacy and memorable voice, some fans send their respects to Lady Gaga, one of Tony’s longtime friends and final collaborators.
Lady Gaga and Tony’s relationship spanned over a decade. The “Bad Romance” singer has often considered him a mentor and friend to her in the tricky music business. This was probably no surprise to fans who have been following their relationship for years. But if you’re jumping in, you might have some questions.
Keep scrolling for the tea on Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's relationship.
What type of relationship do Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have?
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett were close friends who bonded over their love of music. Per People, their friendship started in 2011 after she performed Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky" at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City.
Tony, a seasoned jazz crooner, was impressed with Lady Gaga's voice. Although she has cemented herself as a pop artist in the industry, he saw a lot of potential in her as a jazz singer. He asked to work with her.
That year, they teamed up to sing a cover of "The Lady Is a Tramp" for Tony's album Duets II.
Their friendship and musical partnership continued to blossom. In 2014, they released their first joint album together, Cheek to Cheek. Naturally, that album was a success and they decided to put out a second album together. Love for Sale was released in September 2021.
Tony Bennett sketched Lady Gaga for the 'Love for Sale' cover. He also once sketched her nude.
Friends are comfortable around each other, right? In 2011, Lady Gaga was Vanity Fair's January cover girl. In addition to her magazine spread taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, a nude charcoal sketch of her also appeared in the issue.
Per E! News, Tony Bennett was the artist behind it, which ultimately proved just how comfortable the pair was with each other. Later the piece was auctioned on eBay, with proceeds going straight to charity.
Tony also sketched a more recent headshot of Gaga for the Love for Sale album cover. In their video for their rendition of "I Concentrate on You," Tony is seen drawing Lady Gaga, who tears up after the final reveal. "Tony, it's beautiful," she said. "It's so beautiful."
Tony Bennett introduced Lady Gaga at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Although not physically present at the 2022 Grammy Awards, Tony hyped the crowd up for Lady Gaga via a pre-recorded tape. She performed a mashup of their songs "Love for Sale" and "Do I Love You." Then, she ended her performance on a heartfelt note, saying, "I love you, Tony, we miss you."
Tony had officially retired on doctor's orders in August 2021 at age 95, per NPR. In 2016, he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease but had kept it a secret from the public for five years.
In 2022, Lady Gaga and Tony planned to release a documentary on Paramount Plus titled The Lady and the Legend. The doc followed Gaga and Tony discussing the making of their last album together, which Gaga mainly promoted by herself. However, the documentary has yet to be released on Paramount Plus, though it’s unclear what caused the delay.
While The Lady and the Legend is seemingly on pause, the friends filmed it in 2021. According to Gaga Daily Plus, the experience was challenging for Gaga as she tried to accommodate Tony’s condition and remind him of their years working together.
“The pain and sadness in Gaga's face is clear at such moments — but never more so than in an extraordinarily moving sequence in which Tony (a man she calls “an incredible mentor, and friend, and father figure") sings a solo passage of a love song,” AARP Magazine wrote in a profile of Tony’s Alzheimer’s journey in 2021. “Gaga looks on from behind her mic, her smile breaking into a quiver, her eyes brimming, before she puts her hands over her face and sobs.”
We’re sending plenty of love and light Lady Gaga’s way as she grieves her beloved friend. RIP, Tony Bennett!