Madonna performing during the Rebel Heart Tour in Stockholm, November 2015.
|Born||Madonna Louise Ciccone
August 16, 1958
Bay City, Michigan, U.S.
|Other names||Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (Catholic confirmation name)|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Home town||Rochester Hills, Michigan, U.S.|
|Net worth||U.S. $550 million (June 2016 estimate)|
Sean Penn (m. 1985; div. 1989)
|Partner(s)||Carlos Leon (1995â€“97)|
With all the chaos, pain and suffering in the world, the fact that my adoption of a child from who was living in an orphanage, you know, was the number one story for a week in the world. To me, that says more about our inability to focus on the real problems.
When I first moved to New York, I wanted to be a dancer. I danced professionally for years, living a hand-to-mouth existence. I never tapped into nightlife; all I knew was dancers. We went to bed early and got up early and went to free concerts at the Lincoln Center and Shakespeare in the Park.
If I can't be daring in my work or the way I live my life, then I don't really see the point of being on this planet.
Things were a lot simpler in Detroit. I didn't care about anything but boyfriends.
In this business, my business, I get to meet all kinds of incredible people, fascinating people, glamorous people and sexy people and highly intellectual people. And you meet them and you go 'interesting, interesting, interesting'. They're interesting, but not very many people stop you in your tracks.
I went to the University of Michigan for one year, and fortunately they had a foreign-film cinema, and I discovered it, and I thought I died and went to heaven.
I wear the Jewish star, but I'm not – I haven't converted to Judaism, and I'm not – I'm not – I'm not Jewish in the conventional sense because the Kaballah is a belief system that predates religion and predates Judaism as an organized religion.
I'm opening gyms around the world to encourage people to get in shape and feel good about themselves; bringing art through dance to gyms to make my gyms different from other people's.
I suppose I sometimes used to act like I wasn't a human being… Sometimes I look back at myself and remember things I used to say, or my hairstyle, and I cringe.
I don't go to the sale rack. But I wouldn't say I am decadent in my spending. I am careful.
One of the things that helps me tell a story through music is to create a character. I have to have a muse, whether it's Frida Kahlo, Martha Graham, Marlene Dietrich, or Pippi Longstocking.
Everybody in our family studied a musical instrument. My father was really big on that. Somehow I only took a year or two of piano lessons and I convinced my father to let me take dancing lessons.
Sometimes you want to go for a walk and you don't want to be watched. You just want to be anonymous and blend in. Especially when I travel, I feel that way, because I can't really go out and see a city the way other people can and I miss out on a lot.
I'm always looking for something new: a new inspiration, a new philosophy, a new way to look at something, new talent.
Where you record is very important. It can't be too nice, it can't be too expensive, it can't have a view to an ocean or a field.
Obviously, I feel a great sense of responsibility being a good parent and raising my children. I don't take that job very lightly. Who they are, what they become and what they contribute to the world is very important to me.
Of course, my interests and my focus change and become more diverse, more worldly. At the same time, I am interested in the simple basics, which is I love to dance and I love to make people dance.
I have the same goal I've had ever since I was a girl: I want to rule the world.
I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon… but I want to stay alive.
I'm attracted to artists like Frida Kahlo, because her work was her life, her questions, her outrage, her suffering, her pain. Everything is in her work.
Writing is a very intimate thing, especially when you write lyrics and sing them in front of someone for the first time. It's like a really embarrassing situation. To me, singing is almost like crying, and you have to really know someone before you can start crying in front of them.
The thing about dancing – what it taught me all those years – is it gives you an amazing sense of discipline in forcing yourself to do things that you know are good for you but you don't really want to do.
I know I'm not the greatest singer or dancer, but that doesn't interest me. I'm interested in being provocative and pushing people's buttons.
I believe sometimes we aren't always in charge of everything that we do creatively. We submit to things as we're going on our own journey.
In England especially, I've found that if you bring up King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at a dinner party or a social gathering, it's like throwing a Molotov cocktail into the room.
A lot of places I go are dangerous, like Tel Aviv or Rio, but that never stops me from going there and putting on a show. I have good security. I don't worry about that.
When I first came to New York I was a dancer, and a French record label offered me a recording contract and I had to go to Paris to do it. So I went there and that's how I really got into the music business. But I didn't like what I was doing when I got there, so I left, and I never did a record there.
You realise that having a number one record and being loved and adored isn't the most important thing in the world. But at the same time, I don't have a problem with it. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not a reluctant pop star.
Catholicism is not a soothing religion. It's a painful religion. We're all gluttons for punishment.
I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.
I always felt like I was a freak when I was growing up and that there was something wrong with me because I couldn't fit in anywhere.
I'm not interested in being Wonder Woman in the delivery room. Give me drugs.
I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.
One thing I've learned is that I'm not the owner of my talent; I'm the manager of it.
I go to Malawi twice a year. It's where two of my children were adopted from, and I have a lot of projects there that I go and check up on and children who I look after. It's sort of a commitment that I've made to this country and the hundreds of thousands of children there who have been orphaned by AIDS.
There's always elements of danger in New York, but people are always out on the street. I don't feel scared there at all.
Being famous has changed a lot, because now there's so many outlets, between magazines, TV shows, and the Internet, for people to stalk and follow you. We created the monster.
I think a lot of people have a problem with the fact that I've adopted an African child, a child who has a different color skin than I do.
If I was a girl again, I would like to be like my fans, I would like to be like Madonna.
I'm encouraging other people, whether they're professionals or not, to use their creativity to express themselves, to get a conversation going, to get the party started, really.
Prince Charles is very relaxed at the table, throwing his salad around willy-nilly. I didn't find him stiff at all.
I love being a mother. My children fill me up in many ways, and inspire me in many ways, but I need a partner in my life, and I think most people feel that way.
I have my work and my faith… If that's boring to some people, I can't tell you how much I don't care.
I was more of a dancing kid than a singing kid. I mean, I sang in school choirs and I sang in school musicals, but I was much more interested in dancing than singing.
I have a funny relationship with religion. I'm a big believer in ritualistic behavior as long as it doesn't hurt anybody. But I'm not a big fan of rules. And yet, we cannot live in a world without order.
I grew up in a high school where it was very conservative, and I felt like people disapproved of me, and I felt like an outsider.
I wouldn't live in Chicago cause it's too conservative, aside for the fact that Oprah Winfrey lives there.
I think of myself as a performance artist. I hate being called a pop star. I hate that.
I don't like rooms you never use or that are wasted space but I also like a sparseness and a cleanness.
I think my biggest flaw is my insecurity. I'm terribly insecure. I'm plagued with insecurities 24/7.
I like to think I'm a role model for women. But I also don't like to just limit it to women. I like to think I'm a role model for human beings in general.
As an artist myself, I know what it's like to put your heart and soul into something. You can feel the presence of another person.
But I love the idea – whether it's in my work or where I live – exploring new frontier, and I like putting myself in strange places and trying to survive and figure things out and gather up an infrastructure. I like knowing that I could figure out a way to live anywhere.
I think it's fun to get in a room and sweat with people. I'm happy to share my workouts with everyone.
I live – I live a highly scheduled life. There's absolutely no time wasted. I'm very focused. And I have a great assistant.
I've never really lived a conventional life, so I think it's quite foolish for me or anyone else to start thinking that I am going to start making conventional choices.
There are moments when I can't believe I'm as old as I am. But I feel better physically than I did 10 years ago. I don't think, Oh God, I'm missing something.
When I left Michigan and I came to New York, that was my goal, to be a professional dancer. And I sort of fell into singing by accident in a way.
Men are such power-seeking creatures, and they usually kill people to get to the throne.
If you have children, you know you're responsible for somebody. You realize you are being imitated; your belief systems and priorities have a direct influence on these children, who are like flowers in a garden.
I didn't have many friends; I might not have had any friends. But it all turned out good in the end, because when you aren't popular and you don't have a social life, it gives you more time to focus on your future.
I know there's more to life than making lots of money and being successful and even getting married and having a family.
People hear the soul, black influence in my voice. I grew up listening to CKLW and all the black stations like WLBS.
I just find the people I want to work with and put it all together, and it's a lot of hard work, and all kinds of catastrophes happen, but I don't really get too much resistance. But when you make a movie, it seems like there's nothing but resistance. It's kind of a miracle that any movie ever gets made.
I really saw myself as the quintessential Cinderella. I think that's when I really thought about how I wanted to do something else and get away from all that.
If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don't skimp on them and the same is true for the gym. We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym.
When you're 25, it's a little bit easier to be daring, especially if you are a pop star, because eccentric behavior is expected from you.
Be strong, believe in freedom and in God, love yourself, understand your sexuality, have a sense of humor, masturbate, don't judge people by their religion, color or sexual habits, love life and your family.
I want to give a child a life who wouldn't be given a life. I want a child that nobody else wants.
When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it.
My physical transformations – like changing my hair – are usually a reflection of what's inspiring me at the moment.
I think in the end, when you're famous, people like to narrow you down to a few personality traits. I think I've just become this ambitious, say-whatever's-on-her-mind, intimidating person. And that's part of my personality, but it's certainly not anywhere near the whole thing.
I hope that I inspire women to believe in themselves, no matter where they come from; no matter what education they have; what particular background they originate from.
Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross and the Jackson 5, that's what I grew up on.
I think that everyone should get married at least once, so you can see what a silly, outdated institution it is.
I tend to write during the day so I can see my children at night. But if my kids aren't with me and I have a chunk of time when I'm a single woman living in my house for a miraculous week, I will get to write at different hours.
We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrinelike area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them.
I'm ambitious. But if I weren't as talented as I am ambitious, I would be a gross monstrosity.
People like it when others are gossiping. When you hear a story about someone's demise or some big faux-pas they made, everyone wants to tune into it, because it's nice to know that someone else made a mistake. It makes you feel elevated for a moment.
Imagine if someone like John Lennon or Bob Marley, Sid Vicious, Picasso, whomever, were doing their work, and some corporation, some CEO, some branding entity was saying to you, 'Well, you can do that, but you've got to remove this aspect of your work.' There would no longer be that purity anymore.
I think the biggest reason I was able to express myself and not be intimidated was by not having a mother. For example, mothers teach you manners. And I absolutely did not learn any of those rules and regulations.
Part of the reason I sort of shot out like a cannon out of Michigan and left home at such an early age is because I had to feel independent.
On the one hand, the idea of marriage and the sort of traditional family life repulses me. But on the other hand, I long for it, you know what I mean? I'm constantly in conflict with things. And it is because of my past and my upbringing and the journey that I've been on.
Making movies is really hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever done.
Because I was a dancer, I started going to auditions for musical theater, which forced me to sing.
I had decided that if I was going to be a singer, I had to earn it. I had to learn how to play an instrument.
I believe that we are at a very low level of consciousness, and we do not know how to treat each other as human beings. We are caught up in our own lives, our own needs, our own ego gratification. I feel a strong sense of responsibility in delivering that message.
I've always been acutely aware of differences and the way you are supposed to act if you want to be popular.
I'm a showgirl. After 20 years in show business, I've learned to roll with the punches.
I guess some people are brilliant enough to be brilliant on their own and never doubt anything and come up with fabulous things. But I think it's good to get into arguments with people and have them say, 'That sucks' or 'You're crazy' or 'That's cheesy' or 'What do you think of this?'
I was named after my mother. And I guess when I started making records, Madonna Ciccone seemed too long and complicated, and I just got stuck with Madonna.
I've always danced and exercised. I can't imagine not doing it. I'll be Martha Graham in my 90s doing contractions on the floor.
My father was very strong. I don't agree with a lot of the ways he brought me up. I don't agree with a lot of his values, but he did have a lot of integrity, and if he told us not to do something, he didn't do it either.