Madonna is the queen of pop music, writer, director, producer, fashion designer ... in a word, a multi-faceted and creative personality. The story of her life is the embodiment of the American dream, she proves that with tremendous diligence, you can make a meteoric rise from the bottom to the very top. In addition, Madonna became a symbol of the sexual revolution of the XX century.
American singer Madonna
Today Madonna Louise Ciccone is one of the richest and most influential women in the world of show business. In 2018, her fortune was estimated at $ 580 million.
Childhood and family
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. The celebrity's mother, Madonna Louise Fortin, was descended from Canadian French and worked as an X-ray technician. Madonna's father, an American of Italian origin Silvio "Tony" Ciccone, was a design engineer at the Chrysler car factory.
Madonna's parents: Silvio and Madonna Ciccone
Madonna became the third child and the first daughter in the family, where later two more sons and a daughter were born. As the first daughter, in accordance with Italian traditions, she received her mother's name.
Madonna as a child
When Madonna, Jr. turned 5, her mother died of breast cancer. A 30-year-old woman was carrying a sixth child, and chemotherapy meant an imminent miscarriage. Being a religious woman, she could not do this: the child was born, and a few months later the woman died. Later, Madonna's father remarried the maid of their family, Joan Gustafson. So the girl had a half brother and sister - Mario and Jennifer.
Madonna (in the center) with brothers and sister
Madonna was an excellent pupil, for what she was not liked by her classmates, but adored by teachers. She took up piano and jazz choreography lessons.
House where Madonna spent her childhood
But at the age of 14 the reputation of goody-goody was destroyed: she went to a school talent contest in a bikini, and her body was painted with fluorescent paints. After a cheeky dance under the "Who Baba O'Riely" of The Who band, her father was furious and put Madonna under home arrest, and at school she was remembered for this performance for a long time. The very same girl, being on the stage, finally felt who she is. And the image of "two in one" - "virgin/whore" - has since been the leitmotif of her work.
Madonna in High School (1974)
In high school, Madonna performed in the cheerleader team, and after graduation, she entered the choreography department at the University of Michigan. One of the teachers convinced the girl not to waste time studying but to build a career as a dancer. So in 1958 Madonna dropped out of college and moved to New York with only a couple of dozen dollars in her pocket.
Young Madonna in the cheerleader team
At first, she barely made ends meet, lived in poverty, worked for Dunkin’ Donuts, and collaborated with a number of dance groups. Now Madonna recalls that period of her life, as the most desperate:
– When I arrived in New York, everything happened to me for the first time: I traveled by plane for the first time, I even called a taxi for the first time. This was the bravest action I did in my life.
First steps to success
In 1979, Madonna danced for the French disco singer Patrick Hernandez during his world tour and went mad with musician Dan Gilroy. With the latter a bit later, the pop diva created its first rock band called Breakfast Club. Madonna played drums and guitar and also sang.
At the beginning of her career, Madonna sang in a rock band
In the same year for a fee of one hundred dollars, she starred in the movie "A Certain Sacrifice", playing a sex slave. Years later, Madonna tried to buy back the rights to the film in order to destroy the remainder of this disgrace, but it never succeeded.
Madonna in the movie "A Certain Sacrifice"
In 1981, Madonna parted from Gilroy and began singing in the Emmy band along with a drummer Stephen Bray. At the same time, the girl signed a contract with Gotham Records, but the cooperation was short-lived - the manager of the beginning singer did not share her views on creativity. Soon, with Bray's support, she recorded a demo cassette out of four "street" tunes ("Ain’t No Big Deal", "Stay", "Burning Up" and "Everybody"), which she distributed herself.
Madonna in her youth (1981)
Madonna's demo impressed the DJ and producer Mark Kamins, who played in the Danceteria club, which Madonna often visited. Kamins introduced a rising star to Seymour Stein, a founder of Sire Records. The result was a contract for the release of the debut single "Everybody". Kamins and Bray began to fight for the right to be called Madonna's agent, while both were her lovers. The choice was not easy, but in the end, the singer chose Mark.
"Everybody" is Madonna's very first video
Because of the voice timbre and manner of performance listeners decided that Madonna is a dark-skinned singer after the release of the single "Everybody". They were unscathed by the video that followed, to which the label allocated only $ 1500.
Before recording and releasing the debut album, the producers of Madonna decided to test the waters and understand whether the success of the singer is accidental or not. For this, the second maxi-single was composed. A more experienced producer, Reggie Lucas was selected instead of Kamins. In collaboration with him, Madonna recorded the single "Burning Up" with the composition "Physical Attraction" on side B. A video was released for the first song that got into the rotation of MTV.
One of the first images of the singer (1983)
Madonna's first music video was just a stitch-up on the dance floor. But a video "Burning Up", full of shots with come-hither motions of an uninhibited blonde, became a real breakthrough in the music industry. Before Madonna, none of the singers dared to openly exploit the sexual theme in the videos, and today this has already become an absolute norm.
Madonna – Burning Up
Madonna's debut album was called "Madonna" and appeared on music stores in July 1983. It included 8 songs in the genre of synthetic disco. The album started on the Billboard 200 chart from the 190th position, and the record took a year to get to the eighth line.
Many music experts accused Madonna of excessive sexuality and deliberate "feminity" and gave six months for her "minute of glory". But Ciccone only laughed, stating that this is the only thing she can offer: "I keep everything under control and wait for it to be understood and confused."
Cover of Madonna's first album
Madonna's second album "Like a Virgin", dedicated, according to the cover, to all virgins of the planet, was released in 1984. It was produced by Knight Rogers, who previously worked with David Bowie (album "Let's Dance").
The main single "Like a Virgin" was performed by Madonna at the very first ceremony of MTV Video Music Awards. The singer came on the stage in a wedding dress and belt with the inscription "Boy Toy", and in the process of performance she rolled on the floor, showing the audience stockings with garters and white panties. For that time, the performance was a shocking sexual one. Many years later, eyewitnesses recalled: "It was this moment that became a powerful impetus to the liberation of women's power. This is one of the most iconic musical performances of the 20th century".
Madonna – Like a Virgin (MTV VMA 1984)
In the same year, Madonna went on her first tour of America "The Virgin Tour" along with Beastie Boys. Later, a video for the song "Material Girl" was made, and Madonna began a relationship with actor Sean Penn. Then the magazines Penthouse and Playboy showed black and white photographs of a nude singer, which were made back in 1979. Madonna won the right to prohibit the publication of photographs.
The very same photographs
Madonna's third studio album "True Blue" was released in 1986. The album made Madonna a world-class star and topped the charts in 28 countries. Then the singer took part in the shooting of the film "Shanghai Surprise" and for the first time she played in the theatrical production "Goose and Tomtom", where her partner was Sean Penn.
Shot from the film "Shanghai Surprise"
The Queen of shocking
In 1986, a video for the song "Papa Don’t Preach" was released, in which Madonna touched on the topic of teenage pregnancy: her underage lyric heroine wants to give birth to a child from a loved one. Madonna claimed that this song is about a protest against any patriarchal authoritarianism, whether it is a father, a church or a society.
Madonna – Papa Don't Preach
In early 1989, the singer signed a 5 million contract with "Pepsi", and her new song "Like A Prayer" was presented in the advertising company of soda. A video for the song, however, as well as the advertisement itself, provoked outrage among religious viewers: crosses burned in the background. The video shocked the Vatican, which called for a boycott of Pepsi, and the holding had nothing to do except to break the sponsorship contract with the pop diva. However, Madonna received her 5 million, and the erupted scandal warmed the public for a long time.
Madonna – Like a Prayer
In 1989, the album of the same name as the scandalous video was released, which the singer dedicated to the memory of her deceased mother and all members of her family. The lyrics touched on childhood and the formation of Madonna's personality, the impact of Mom's death on her worldview, relations with her father, and, of course, female sexuality – this is the song "Express Yourself", filmed by the director David Fincher.
A shot from the video "Express Yourself"
1990 was marked by the release of a video for the song "Justify My Love", co-written with Lenny Kravitz. MTV management did not allow the video on air because of the erotic content, references to homosexuality, and sadomasochism. Madonna found a way out - she was the first in the music industry to release a video in the format of "video single".
Madonna – Justify My Love
The next year was marked by another scandal: the public was blown up by the documentary film "Truth or Dare", made during the world tour Blonde Ambition World Tour, at one of the concerts of which the Toronto police intended to arrest Madonna for imitating masturbation on the stage.
In 1992, Madonna founded her own company Maverick, which was engaged in entertainment, in particular, the production of films, the release of music CDs, and books. The first thing the company released on the shelves was a book of Madonna's authorship called "Sex" with revelations and descriptions of the singer's fantasies.
Together with the book, the single "Erotica" was sold, accompanied by a photo of Madonna holding a whip in her hands. Despite the mixed reaction of society, the book became a bestseller. During the first week, more than 500 thousand people bought a copy of "Sex", in total, 1.5 million books were sold.
A shot from the video "Erotica"
The release of the book was part of a well-considered campaign to promote the fifth album called "Erotica", which was entirely devoted to the topic of sex.
In the same year, the public saw the album "Bedtime Stories", which stated the concept of Ciccone's creativity in a different direction. The subject matter echoed the previous disc, but the degree of sexuality fell substantially, while the lyricism of texts grew. The single "Secret" was especially liked by listeners, however, as a whole, attention to the album was kept on average.
Passion for Kabbalah
Approximately in 1997, Madonna started to study Kabbalah and Judaism in general. This led to the appearance of quieter intonations in her work and style. Before that, she studied Buddhism, yoga and Vedas, but only Kabbalah "put her life from head to foot".
Madonna without makeup
Shortly before this Madonna played a major role in the musical "Evita", dedicated to the biography of the Argentine singer and subsequently the wife of dictator Juan Peron – Eva Duarte. Filming took place in South America, and Madonna's partner on the film set was Antonio Banderas. During the preparation for the shooting, Madonna took vocal lessons, which, incidentally, is clearly seen in the album "Ray of Light", released one year later, and recognized as the most successful since "Like a Prayer".
November 1997: Madonna is working on a new material
The record symbolized the spiritual rebirth of the singer, which was influenced by many factors - starting from the birth of her daughter and finishing with love affairs with a screenwriter Andy Bird. Madonna's songs now told not about the delights of intimate life but called to pay attention to the ecological catastrophe, told about the universe and metaphysical categories. The 39-year-old woman refused from the defiant dresses and began to wear sari and covered her face with a veil.
Madonna of the period of "Ray of Light" album
The public favorably accepted a new image, and in 1999 Madonna received three "Grammys" at once. Until then, her collection had only one such statuette - received in 1991 in the "Best Music Video" nomination. The album was able to compete even with the boys bands and young singers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who filled the music market.
The world's pop queen
"Ray of Light" set a bar high, but the album with a laconic title "Music", released in 2000 and sustained in the "American" style, broke records of its predecessor. The main hits were the songs "Music", "Don't Tell Me" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl", a video for which was banned on MTV, but not because of nudity, but because of violence scenes.
Madonna – What It Feels Like For A Girl
At the same time, Madonna's attempts to realize herself in the big cinema failed. In 2000, Ciccone starred in the romantic comedy "Best Friend" along with Rupert Everett.
Comments on her acting were devastating. A year later, the film "Swept Away", directed by Guy Ritchie, Madonna's husband at that time, received five negative awards "Golden Raspberry", including the most offensive nominations "the worst female role", "the worst film" and "the worst director."
Madonna at the shooting of the film "Swept Away"
But 2003 brought Madonna the first failure in the musical arena. The disc "American Life", where the singer touched on a number of hot political issues and revealed her emotional abscesses, not wanting to tolerate attitude to her as to a "mercantile girl", was not a failure from a commercial point of view, but was inferior to the previous ones.
The tenth studio album "Confessions on a Dance Floor" (2005) rehabilitated Madonna in her own eyes. It is worth noting that the first song "Hung Up" became the main hit of Madonna for the whole time of her career.
Madonna – Hung Up
On March 26, 2012 Madonna's twelfth album – MDNA was released, which on the first day topped all UK and US hit parades. But everything turned out not so rosy. Critics called the album very gloomy, associating this with the painful parting of the singer with Jesus Luz. The video for the second single of the album, Girl Gone Wild, was censored due to the sensitive content. The record, deprived of the promotion, was the worst-selling in Madonna's career, beating the American Life anti-record in 2003.
Madonna in her youth and now
On May 31, the singer went to the MDNA Tour, which eventually became the most successful tour of 2012. Concerts spurred public uproar in the US due to the use of weapons imitation on stage. In 2013, Madonna received 3 Billboard Music Awards. In August 2013, Forbes named her a leader of the year in terms of incomes among celebrities with a salary of 125 million dollars.
madonna ft. Nicki Minaj – Bitch, I'm Madonna!
In December 2014, there was an Internet leak of 13 demo versions of songs that were recorded while working on the thirteenth studio album of Madonna. Being in a rage, the singer recorded several formidable messages against the pirates. A few days after the leak, on December 20, Madonna officially announced the thirteenth album, called Rebel Heart. The album was released on March 10, 2015.
At the beginning of 2018, Madonna shared with Instagram subscribers that she was working on her 14th studio album, in 2019 it was released. In the same year, Medellín released a clip for the song of the same name from the record.
Оfficial music video for “Medellín” from Madonna’s album «Madame X»
Also in 2019, Madonna acted as an invited guest at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.
Madonna's personal life
A separate book can be written about love affairs of Madonna, so below we will tell you only about the most sensational and serious relationship of the singer.
During her life, she often had relationships with non-public men and was never shy about the big difference in age with partners.
The first serious relationship of Madonna, ended in marriage, is associated with the name of actor Sean Penn. At the time of their acquaintance in 1985, the singer dated the Prince, but easily left the youth for the sake of the young (Sean was 2 years younger) genius of cinema with a reputation as a rebel. They met at the shooting of the "Material Girl" video. Very soon the lovers announced the engagement and on August 16, 1985, they celebrated a wedding.
Madonna and Sean Penne met in 1985
Very soon married life disappointed Ciccone. It turned out that both spouses have a violent temperament and an innate tendency to constant rivalry. The situation was aggravated by Penn's drunkenness. By 1988, their marriage had almost broken up. In 1989, the singer demanded a divorce.
Madonna parted from the first husband with the scandal
One night Penn broke into her house, tied her to a chair and beat her for several hours. By a trick, the girl got out of the house and got to the police station. Penn denied everything, although the policemen, who were horrified by the disfigured and bruised pop idol, had no doubt. However, the case did not go as far as the court - Madonna asked not to undertake legal proceedings against her former spouse. "He always had problems controlling anger", she later said.
The next few months, Madonna recovered from psychological trauma. In 1990, the singer was involved in a romantic relationship with Warren Beatty, who she met on the set of "Dick Tracy," and 1991 was remembered by her brief love affair with the model Tony Ward, filmed in her candid video "Justify My Love".
On the photo: Madonna and Warren Beatty (1990)
In 1992 she dated the rapper Vanilla Ice. After their break-up, the career of the man saw a decline, and the press revealed the regularity that every man who dated Madonna suffered a professional collapse or personal tragedy after parting with her. This is true for rapper Tupac Shakur, and basketball player Dennis Rodman, with whom Madonna had love affairs in 1994.
Madonna dated Tupac. In 1996, the rapper was shot dead
Then the singer was mashed on her personal trainer Carlos Leon, and in 1997 she gave birth to their daughter Lourdes.
Carlos Leon is a father of Madonna's daughter
A friend of Madonna, actress Elizabeth Taylor, convinced her to marry Carlos, so that the girl had a father. However, Carlos himself began to lose interest in their relationship. When Lourdes was one year old, the paparazzi caught Carlos with another woman. He did not spread the details of the break-up and rejected all the multimillion-dollar proposals of journalists who were trying to find out the background of their love affairs. He did not disappear from the life of Madonna and Lourdes, and always tried to spend his free time with his daughter.
Lourdes Ciccone: in childhood and 20 years later
The same year, at Sting's party, Madonna met British film-maker Guy Ritchie. In the space of a few days, they got chummy with each other. The director was 10 years younger than the singer and just brilliantly presented the audience with the debut film "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". As it turned out later, Richie was aware that Madonna would be at the party, and went there with one goal – to get acquainted with her.
Guy Ritchie and Madonna met in 1998
At the same time, he always treated the singer not as a star, but as an ordinary person. In 2000, Madonna and Guy Ritchie got married, soon she gave birth to thier son Rocco. In 2005, they adopted a black boy from Malawi, who was given the name of David Banda Malawi and the double name of Ciccone-Ritchie. Later, being already in divorce, she adopted three more girls: first baby Chifundo in 2006, then twins Stella and Esther in 2012.
Rocco is the son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie
The reason for their quarrel is not exactly known, but the singer's fans lean towards the version that Richie was fed up with Madonna's craze for Kabbalah. In 2008, the singer publicly announced a divorce.
Madonna with her children
After this, Madonna paid attention to the 22-year-old Brazilian Jesus Luz. Their love affairs lasted one year, after which they parted, "being unsuited to each other".
With Jesus Luz
Then more than three years the singer dated the break-dancer Brahim Zeba, and in 2014 she was in a relationship with the dancer Timor Steffens. In 2017, the singer was associated with a romantic relationship with the 32-year-old Portuguese model Kevin Sampaio. In the summer of 2018, there were rumors about their upcoming wedding.
Kevin Sampaio is Madonna's new lover
In 2019, Madonna got into a real media scandal. At the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, she appeared in a blindfold, referring in her own way to the character from Richard Wagner's opera "Valkyrie", which was banned in Israel for anti-Semitism. Her speech was considered strange by many critics, noting a bad hit in the notes and strange arrangements.
In 2020, Madonna was planning a large-scale tour with the presentation of the last album, however, the singer's performances around the world were canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic.
In addition, throughout the quarantine, the Madonna kept a kind of “diary of self-isolation” on Instagram, in which she shared her thoughts with subscribers.
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