50 Pictures That Show The Life of The Material Girl Madonna
Over the years we have had many talented and beautiful singers and songwriters, however, every once in a while we get the privilege of witnessing an icon at work, and if anyone exudes the icon symbol it's the material girl Madonna. She is known as "The Queen of Pop" for a reason and has amounted a huge fanbase all over the world. Of course, being that big of a star comes with its ups and down, so if you are a fan of Madonna check out this gallery to get a closer glimpse into her life.
She came from humble beginnings
Pop Icon Madonna is a singer, songwriter, occasional actress, and recording artist. She was born Madonna Louise Ciccone to Tony and Madonna Louise in Michigan in August 1958. She is regarded as the greatest pop artist and remains one of pop culture’s most influential figures.
The Queen of Pop is known for her relentless reinvention and versatility in musical production, persistently pushing the boundaries of art in mainstream pop music by incorporating religion, social, sexual, and political themes into her works.
Madonna was a cheerleader
In addition to releasing genre-bending songs and pushing the boundaries of pop songs like we know them, Madonna also dishes captivating dance moves during her performances. These dance moves have become part of her signature but we suspect she learned at least some of them from her time as a cheerleader.
She performed on her school’s cheerleading team when she was at Rochester Adams High School in Michigan’s Bay City. The pop icon reminisced on her time as a cheerleader by appearing as a cheerleader chic in her "Give Me All Your Luvin" music video.
She arrived in New York at 19
Madonna thinks the bravest thing she has ever done was moving to New York. The reason is she was only nineteen when she left the Wolverine State for New York with only thirty-five dollars in her possession, a story you hear from lots of artists.
She got a six-week scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City after graduating a semester early with a fully-funded scholarship to the University of Michigan’s dance program. She looked like the average teenager but she got straight A’s and she’s been a great dancer since.
She joined The Breakfast Club in 1979
Madonna’s first band was dance-rock band, The Breakfast Club. She became a member of the band in 1979 when she started playing drums for the group. The Breakfast Club had been formed only two years prior to when Madonna came on board and went through multiple line-up changes.
However, there was some stability in the band’s line-up in the early 1980s as Madonna was on board as the drummer, the Gilroy brothers, Dan and Ed both played the guitar while Angie Smith handled the bass. Crazy to think this pop icon started off as a drummer.
She earned five million dollars for her controversial Pepsi advert
When Pepsi wanted to make its sentimental advert in the late 1980s, they decided to bring pop star Madonna on board by paying her five million dollars to star in it. The commercial featured "Like A Prayer" and it was only aired twice because it contained controversial religious content like burning crosses and the way Madonna kissed a black actor that was portrayed as a saint.
In acknowledgment of the controversy and their decision, a spokesman at Pepsi disclosed that the company simply had to make the ad go away because of the way it confused people. However, lucky for Madonna, her compensation didn't go away.
She cursed on David Letterman’s show in 1994
David Letterman constantly talked about Madonna’s sex life on his talk show in 1994. This eventually infuriated the pop star who burst out by calling Letterman sick for doing so, you have to remember that in the 90's talking about sex wasn't as common as it is today.
The incident was famous and as a result, it gave Letterman’s show its highest ratings but it also brought the wrong kind of press attention her way so she admitted that she was extremely angry when she insulted Letterman so she lashed out but she wasn’t very proud of how it all happened.
Madonna had an intriguing liaison with John Kennedy Jr
In the 80s, the duo of Madonna and John Kennedy Jr. had an intriguing liaison as they dated for six months. John Kennedy was married to Carolyn Bessette but he was romantically involved with other women like starlets Sarah Jessica Parker and Daryl Hannah.
His relationship with Madonna was perhaps the most hushed and least documented because she wasn’t loved by Jackie Kennedy, who was John Kennedy’s mother. Madonna was later asked by Kennedy Jr to appear as his mother on the cover of his magazine, pretty awkward.
She lost her mother to breast cancer
Madonna was only five years old when she lost her mother to breast cancer. She was too little to fully comprehend what was going on at the time so like kids her age would do, she blamed herself for what happened to her mother.
She also blamed her disciplined, uptight personality for losing her mother who was also her namesake and the pair had been really close before she died. The loss changed Madonna’s world forever and also altered who she is as a person.
She married Guy Ritchie in 2000
After getting married to Brit Guy Ritchie in 2000, Madonna found adjusting to British life particularly difficult as she was a New Yorker through and through. Fortunately, she became interested in English history at that time and she came up with the intriguing novel concept of transatlantic love for the film W.E. in 2011.
W.E. was Madonna’s directing and screenwriting venture. When she got admitted to The Advocate in 2012, she said she felt like an outsider just like Wallis Simpson. If you haven't seen the movie it's a great story about two women separated by over six decades.
Madonna and the French far-right party clashed
Madonna isn’t an artist to shy away from political matters no matter how controversial they are. In fact, she enjoys addressing them through her songs so controversy has never been far away from her tours or shows.
At the Paris show of the 2012 MDNA tour (pictured), she made the politically-charged decision to superimpose a swastika on a picture of the forehead of the Front National Leader of the French far-right, Marine Le Pen. There was immediate backlash following her decision so she eventually altered the swastika to a question mark.
Her debut studio album was released in 1983
She was previously a drummer on the upcoming band, The Breakfast Club, but Madonna rose to stardom after she released her self-titled debut studio album, "Madonna" in 1983. She followed up the success of her debut with a couple of albums that were also quite successful like all-time greats, True Blue in 1986, Like a Virgin in 1984, and The Immaculate Collection in 1990.
The albums that earned her Grammy awards were released in this period as well; Ray of Light in 1998 and Confessions on a Dance Floor in 2005. You're only reading this gallery if you are a Madonna fan so we know reading through all those amazing albums gave you some nostalgia.
She has a lot of number-one singles
Madonna is one of the few artists with 10 or more number-one singles in their careers. She’s joined by the likes of the Beatles, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder on that list. Madonna has 12 such singles as she has been releasing hit singles for years.
Starting from the 1984 hit "Like a Virgin" which she released at 26, others are "Live to Tell," "Crazy for You," the 1986 single "Open Your Heart," "Like a Prayer," "Vogue," the 1990 single "Justify my Love" and "This Used to be My Playground."
She won the Golden Globe Award
Madonna is a pop star first and foremost, serving successful hit singles and albums consecutively but her popularity was further enhanced by her roles in movies like Desperately Seeking Susan, A League of Their Own, Dick Tracy, and Evita.
She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1996 movie Evita but most of the other movies she appeared in received poor reviews and ratings despite her presence in them. Very few singers have luck transitioning from music to film, so the fact that she won a Golden Globe Award says a lot about her talents.
Madonna is a successful businesswoman
Besides her successful career as a singer and an occasional actress, Madonna is also a successful businesswoman with some of her own ventures. She founded the Maverick company in 1992, a company that includes her own Mavericks Records, one of the most successful labels run by an artist in history.
Her other ventures include children’s books, fashion brands, and health clubs. Madonna also regularly contributes to different charities; she founded the Ray of Light Foundation in 1998 and another in 2006.
She is the best-selling female music artist of all time
Madonna holds the Guinness World Record of being the best-selling female music artist of all time courtesy of her more than 300 million records sold worldwide. She is also the most successful solo artist in the history of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In addition, she also holds the record for most number-one singles by a female artist in several countries including Canada, Spain, Italy, Australia, and the UK. Another record held by the Queen of pop is she’s the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. While there is some up-and-coming fierce competition like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, the move to streaming ensures her records will be safe for some time.
Her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame happened in 2008
Pop artist Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, which was the first year she was eligible for induction. Her induction happened at the Waldorf Astoria in New York in front of a crowd of famous stars and legendary musical acts.
Some stars in attendance were Ed Burns, Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan. VH1 ranked her as the greatest woman in music and she was also ranked the greatest music video artist of all time by Billboard and MTV. Nothing shows appreciation like earning high honors around high-ranking people.
She took ballet lessons as a youngster
Madonna’s flair for performing blossomed from a young age. Her unconventional behavior was on full display while she was in school; she was notorious for performing handstands and cartwheels in classrooms and dangling from monkey bars during recess.
In order to channel all that energy, her father put her in classical piano lessons but she asked to be put in a ballet class instead. Her ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, persuaded her to consider a career in dance so she joined the cheerleading squad at Rochester Adams High School.
She formed the Emmy and the Emmys band with her boyfriend
Madonna was a member of the Breakfast Club for only a year before she left along with her ex-boyfriend in Michigan, Stephen Bray. Bray was the drummer on the Breakfast Club; he and Madonna rekindled their romance and formed the Emmy and the Emmys band together after which they moved into Manhattan’s The Music Building.
They began to write songs together there and even produced a demo tape in November 1980 that included four songs, but their arrangement ended when Madonna decided to go solo soon after. If you are worried about Stephen Bray, don't worry he also made a great living owning two record studios.
Madonna hustled at nightclubs
As soon as she decided to promote herself as a solo artist, Madonna found out how difficult breaking on the scene can be for an upcoming act. She got signed to a contract by Camille Barbone who owned Gotham Records and was her manager from 1981 to 1982.
When her arrangement with Barbone ended as well, she began visiting nightclubs in a bid to get the DJs there to play her songs. Her efforts paid off when Danceteria’s DJ Mark Kamins became interested in both Madonna and her music and they began dating.
She dated Jean-Michel Basquiat
Madonna dated famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1983, around the time her first two singles reached number three on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart of the Billboard magazine.
She lived in his SoHo loft at the time and she was introduced to art curator Diego Cortez by Basquiat. Cortez had a history of managing punk bands and he was the co-founder of the Mudd Club. Madonna wanted Cortez to be her manager but he declined the offer. Unfortunately, the couple went through an ugly breakup.
She lived in a synagogue
After she moved to New York as a youngster, Madonna actively pursued dance gigs and classes before landing a job at the Pearl Lang Dance Theater. She had some peculiar living arrangements over the years, sometimes moving with one of her romantic partners.
At one point in New York, she camped out in an empty synagogue in Queens with her boyfriend Dan Gilroy. The couple were bandmates and they performed together in one of the bands Madonna built; The Breakfast Club. Goes to show you don't need to have much to find love.
Thunderstorms terrify her
Madonna’s strong, persevering demeanor doesn’t give much room to picture her being frightened of anything but it turns out there is something that terrifies her; thunderstorms. The fear of thunder and lightning is the most dilapidated fear affecting the pop star.
This phobia can be quite serious as it can be difficult to cope with and can also prevent an artist from being able to perform so Madonna is one of the few celebrities whose phobia can affect their performance. That being said if you ever have plans to go to one of her meet and greets, be sure to check the weather report.
Celine Dion and Madonna are distantly related
Madonna’s countless hit songs and albums over the years have amassed thousands of fans so there’s been a lot of intrigue about her life. Thanks to all the interest in her life, we’ve learned that she is distantly related to legendary singer Celine Dion.
According to Madonna, her dad is a big fan of Celine. The two stars also have family ties to Camila, Duchess of Cornwall who is their distant cousin. They are all linked to each other thanks to their French-Canadian ancestry.
She used to be friends with Gwyneth Paltrow
Considering how close the pair of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow used to be, it is shocking that their feud has lasted for so long. Unlike some fake celebrity feuds that often get reported, the feud between them is quite real as they have held a lasting grudge against each other for years.
Paltrow has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most disliked stars but she bonded with Madonna immediately because they both love music and had been married to Brits before. However, their friendship reportedly ended on a rift-related to their fitness programs.
Madonna’s iconic look was created by Maripol
In 1983 when Madonna released her debut album, she launched a revolution in both music and fashion simultaneously. Her hands were stacked with bracelets; she wore a thick necklace and clasped her face between her hands. The iconic look that had nearly every young girl wanting to be like Madonna was created by a stylist called Maripol.
It was Maripol that crafted the image and she is credited for introducing the street-styled bracelets to mainstream acts. However, the first pop singer to rock Maripol’s rubber creations isn’t Madonna but Grace Jones, don't know who that is? Don't worry not a lot of people do.
She follows a macrobiotic diet
There is a lot of speculation and rumors in Hollywood that Madonna is a vegan. While her diet is certainly different, she isn’t vegan because she follows a macrobiotic diet which bears some similarities to a vegan diet.
She has become a hardcore fitness enthusiast; following her draconian regimes and even owning a couple of gyms in some cities. The macrobiotic diet she follows originated from ancient Japanese culture and it became popular in the West in the 1960s, with the diet’s fame peaking in the 80s.
Madonna doesn’t have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star
Despite being one of the biggest pop stars ever, Madonna doesn’t have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star. She has been recognized and honored in several ways for becoming a pop culture icon but a Hollywood Walk of Fame star isn’t one of them.
Not that she was snubbed too, she just made it known that the Hollywood Walk of Fame star is one of the awards she doesn’t care much about as she chooses to creatively pursue her creative interests instead. She was nominated for a star in 1990 but she turned down the offer.
She has won seven Grammy’s
Due to the way Grammy awards were structured before the 2000s, it was difficult for unconventional singers to win the award. As a result of this, Madonna was ignored by the Grammy’s for a while; her critically-acclaimed Like a Prayer album couldn’t even earn her a nomination in 1989.
She only got four nominations in the first nine years of her career. In total, she was nominated for the Grammy’s twenty-eight times and she won the award seven times. Three other Grammy awards are linked to the pop icon as they were won by people she worked with.
Madonna studied Kabbalah
For famous celebrities and pop icons like Madonna, both their personal lives and careers are scrutinized and are sources of gossip. She was one of the several celebrities that admitted that they studied Kabbalah which is a kind of Jewish mysticism.
What separated her from other Kabbalah-loving celebrities is her dedication to its study. Madonna got exposed to Judaism when she lived in an abandoned synagogue with her boyfriend for three years. Her search for her life’s meaning and sense of purpose led her to Kabbalah.
She has links to Malawi
Among Madonna’s many charitable courses is her opening of a children’s hospital in Malawi. The new 45-bed center is located in the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and it was funded by the Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity. She named the facility after her daughter, Mercy James.
Madonna’s relationship with Malawi began with her adoption of David Banda in 2006. She adopted three others and she decided to give back to her kids’ country in a big way by naming the center after her daughter.
Her father owns a winery in Michigan
Madonna’s father, Silvio Ciccone, owns the Ciccone Winery in Sutton’s Bay along with her stepmother, Joan. The winery is located in the Leelanau Peninsula, about 17 miles north of Traverse City. However, despite being owned by her father, the winery’s workers and managers state clearly that the winery isn’t linked to Madonna.
This usually comes in response to celebrity gossip seekers who inquire about the winery’s grape picking, farming, fermenting, upkeep, and wine tasting procedures. According to reports, several people flocked to the farm after learning Silvio is Madonna’s father.
She struggles with OCD
Madonna admitted that she suffers a condition known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and as a result, she can’t stand things being messy. An untidy home makes her feel uneasy, same as someone leaving the lights on in an empty room. She also suffers from insomnia, which has been linked to OCD.
Sleep doesn’t come easily to the pop icon and she admitted she’s fine with six hours of it per day. She does have six children so cleaning up should be easy but Madonna said they don’t always listen to her.
Her IQ is quite high
Not only is she the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, but Madonna also has an IQ of 140. Her intelligence is evident in the way she pushed the boundaries of music and pop culture in the 80s and 90s.
She’s also authored children’s books and she was an exemplary student in High School that earned a scholarship to study performing arts at the University of Michigan but she dropped out to pursue her interests in dance and music. With an IQ of 140, she is a genius as only between 0.25 to 1 percent of the world’s population have an IQ that high.
The Pope once urged fans to avoid her tour
It’s safe to say there’s no love lost between Madonna and the Pope as the Pope called for music fans in Italy to avoid her Blond Ambition show. The show which was held at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome irked Pope John Paul II because of the way explicit sexual images were combined with Catholic themes.
This led to the Vatican's L’osservatore Romano newspaper describing her show as a complete disgrace and she considered canceling the show altogether following the controversy. Lucky for fans the show went on, but we are sure some people had to hide their faces so the Pope didn't recognize them.
A species of tardigrades is named after her
Madonna Water Bear is actually a real thing; the Echiniscus madonnae species of Tardigrade was named after the pop star by scientists in 2006 as part of the cycle of Madonna monikers. Tardigrade or Water Bear is a microscopic organism that dwells in water and is sometimes referred to as moss piglets.
The weird-looking little creature is invisible and can survive without water or food for 120 years while also withstanding extreme temperatures ranging from freezing to temperatures above water’s boiling point.
She had Placenta Previa
During the birth of her son Rocco, Madonna was informed by doctors that she had placenta previa. The condition can result in the mother hemorrhaging and cause the blood supply to the baby to be cut off.
As a result, she was scheduled to have a C-section but two weeks before the planned surgery, she was rushed to the ER, and her baby was born a couple of hours later. Rocco was five pounds and six ounces but he was put in intensive care to allow his lungs to develop properly because he was born prematurely.
She is the richest female musician in the US
Madonna is one of the top paid divas of all time as she has earned about $1.2 billion on the road over the course of her career. According to Forbes, Madonna is the richest female artist in the United States, an honor that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Her net worth is estimated at $580 million, putting her ahead of the likes of Celine Dion who is worth $400 million, Beyonce, Barbra Streisand, and others. She was also the richest female musician in the world for a while before she was surpassed by Rihanna.
Her coffee-table book sold 150,000 copies in a day
Madonna published a coffee-table book titled Sex in 1992. The book was famous as it featured erotic photographs with some illustrating bondage. Perhaps as a result of her fame or the erotic themes of the book, the book sold 150,000 copies in a single day, propelling it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list.
However, critics weren’t thrilled by it; they thought it went over the edge with its contents. There are others who think it was a good move for Madonna and therefore enjoy the book to this day. If you ever see this book on someone's coffee table we highly recommend giving it a flip, it has some good content.
Her song was banned from MTV in 1992
Madonna isn’t a stranger to controversy and as a result of her choices and songs, she has rubbed some people the wrong way every now and then. Her 1992 song, "Justify My Love" was particularly controversial as it depicted delicate issues like bisexuality and sadomasochism.
It was banned from MTV for this reason but ABC followed a different path by airing it in addition to a Madonna interview despite its explicit sexual imagery. The song ultimately topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart but it wasn’t the only Madonna song to be pulled from MTV for sexual content; her song "Erotica" was also pulled from the network.
She supports AIDS charities
Madonna has been an AIDS activist since the 80s. She began supporting AIDS charities after some of her friends like Christopher Flynn and Keith Haring contracted the disease as her relocation to New York coincided with the peak of the AIDS epidemic.
Madonna supports AIDS-benefiting charities like the Bid 2 Beat AIDS and the American Foundation for AIDS research. She also supports the LGBT community and she was given the Advocate for Change Award at the 30th GLAAD Media Awards in New York.
Madonna was a fan of Betty Boo
At a point in the 1990s, Madonna was a big fan of Betty Boo whom she thought was underrated. Madonna even tried to sign the cat-headed musician to her Maverick label. The two musicians first met during the Bedtime Stories era in 1994.
Madonna rang Betty Boo’s phone at the Royalton Hotel in New York to ask if she wanted to grab dinner together after she heard Betty was in town. They were connected by Seymour Stein who is credited for discovering Madonna and signing her to his label, he also discovered Betty Boo.
Several other artists have sung about her
There is a long list of artists that have sung songs inspired by Madonna. The list includes Robbie Williams whose Pet Shop Boys collaboration called "She’s Madonna" was rated the best song on Rudebox. Another is Sparks whose Madonna song illustrates a late-night cab ride with the Queen of pop.
The Androids have theirs as well titled "Do It With Madonna," and finally, she was referenced in the "New York City Lights" of Sophie Ellis-Bextor which included the famous line, "Madonna says it’s true, the town gets hold of you."
She turned down a role on Graffiti Bridge
According to reports, Madonna turned down Prince when he offered her a role as the female lead in his Graffiti Bridge movie. Madonna declined the offer because she thought the screenplay was terrible.
The screenplay must have been quite bad indeed as movies the pop star said yes to in the past, Dick Tracy, Body of Evidence, Swept Away and Shanghai Surprise have all had negative reviews. Madonna has also gotten Razzie awards for Worst Actress on more than one occasion.
Madonna has had a big impact on the pop culture in Britain
Madonna has 64 UK Top 40 hits. Her song, "Like a Virgin," is quite popular in the UK and has had a significant impact on British pop culture. She has had a huge impact on American pop culture from the beginning of her career in the 80s but her influence soon extended beyond the borders of the US to Europe, South America, and more.
Madonna knew how influential TV would become when she declared that kids worshipped TV in 1984, words that were revolutionary as music stations like MTV were still in inception. It's hard to appease multiple countries at once since each one has its own unique taste, but Madonna was able to excel at doing that.
"Hung Up" is her longest-running single on Official Charts
Madonna’s "Hung Up" song is her longest-running single on Official Charts, the song spent 40 weeks in the Top 100. Another high-charting Madonna single is "Take a Bow" which was produced by Babyface and was on top of the charts for about seven weeks.
It also made history in the UK where it ended a 10-year jinx of consecutive Top 10 singles by ending up at No. 16 close to Christmas in 1995. Madonna has had a song in the UK Top 40 every year except 1988, 2004, and 2007.
She doesn’t do a lot of covers
It is apparent Madonna isn’t a huge fan of covers as she doesn’t have a lot of cover versions under her belt. Her most successful cover version was her remake of Don McLean’s "American Pie" which landed at No. 1 in 2000. Her first hit cover came in 1993 when she remade the old Peggy Lee song "Fever."
Madonna’s remake of the classic was a transformation of the song to a 90s house party song. For her appearance in Evita, she had to do covers and so she released two covers of classical music that made it to the Top 10. Of course, when you are that talented in creating songs, covers just seem uncreative.
Her directing debut flopped
Madonna’s acting debut came in Desperately Seeking Susan and she earned critical acclaim for it but her other involvements with movies like her directing debut weren’t as successful. She co-wrote and directed the Filth and Wisdom movie which is a low-budget comedy based on music.
It stars Stephen Graham, Richard E. Grant, and Eugen Hutz and tells the story of A.K, a Ukrainian that survived on odd jobs while hoping to break through as a rock artist. The movie only made $354,628 at the box office.
Her 47th birthday wasn’t her favorite
We’re fairly certain pop star Madonna doesn’t recall her 47th birthday fondly because she fell from a horse while celebrating it. She required treatment at the hospital after the incident at her 1,200-acre property at the Ashcombe House Estate just outside London.
She sustained a broken collarbone, broken hand, three cracked ribs, and a serious scare after falling off a new horse she was riding. Madonna was celebrating her birthday along with her British husband, Guy Ritchie, and two of her children when the incident happened.
She draws inspiration from rock n roll
Right from the beginning, Madonna’s vibe has always had that extra something that separates her from other pop stars. Part of the reason for this is that she draws inspiration from both the punk scenes and the rock n roll scenes, which is rarely seen in today's music.
After breaking on the pop scene, she wore fishnets and lace gloves as she was also inspired by the likes of Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde who were strong female musicians that created their own paths by writing their own songs and evolving as artists independently.
She has a $100 million art collection
She might not seem like the typical art connoisseur but Madonna is actually an avid art collector. Her interest in art might not be unconnected to Jean-Michel Basquiat, a famous artist who she dated. She was also close friends with NYC artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.
Art is as much a part of her professional life as it is her personal life. Madonna’s art collection includes works by the likes of Tamara de Lempicka, Man Ray, Fernand Leger, and Diego Rivera and is worth more than $100 million.