Something is rotten in the Haus of Gaga, and it isn't an item of meat-based clothing. Amid rumours of a spectacular clash of celebrity egos, the pop industry's woman of the moment has parted company with the architect of her signature dance routines.
Laurieann Gibson, who had worked as Lady Gaga's "creative director" since the start of the singer's career, left the job late last week. Her departure was the result of what the entertainment press described as long-standing friction between the high-profile duo.
The news marks the end of an inspired relationship that helped transform a talented-but-unknown New York art school dropout called Stefani Germanotta into one of the most famous and influential women in the world.
Ms Gibson was responsible for choreographing 13 of Lady Gaga's most successful videos, including "Poker Face", the viral hit which kick-started the singer's career in 2008. She was also behind the routines in "Born this Way" and last year's hit single "Telephone".
Ms Gibson was often described as one third of the "creative trifecta" behind Gaga's extraordinary success. She worked alongside Ms Germanotta, 25, who is largely responsible for her own music, and Nicola Formichetti, the designer of her colourful outfits.
No official reason has been given for her sudden departure. But there have been rumours Lady Gaga had misgivings about Ms Gibson's increasingly-public profile. They first surfaced early this year, when Ms Gibson signed on as a presenter of a reality TV show called The Dance Scene.
Ms Gibson made several comments which garnered awkward headlines. On one occasion, she credited Madonna for inspiring Lady Gaga's sense of style (a comparison Ms Germanotta has always resisted), telling the Los Angeles Times: "[Madonna] should be bitter because I did it on purpose, and you can quote me."
Ms Gibson also confessed that – as a practising Christian – she had nearly walked off the set of Gaga's video "Judas" because of a disagreement over its take on organised religion. "After the third glass of wine, I was like, 'Listen, I don't want lightning to strike me. I believe in the Gospel and I'm not going there'," she recalled.
The pair are reported to have argued during production of the recent videos "Edge of Glory" and "You and I". The choreographer was also accused of spending too long posing for photographs at September's Creative Arts Emmys.
The website MediaTakeOut, which revealed Ms Gibson's departure, reported that ongoing creative tension culminated in a "bitter argument" over the telephone last week, during which Ms Gibson was fired. "A lot of things were said, and it was very heated," the website reported. "Laurieann ended up hanging up and saying she was suing."
Lady Gaga's spokesman said the duo's commercial relationship was over.