Madonna has been the undisputed Queen of Pop for nearly three decades, we’ve seen several relative newcomers convincingly stake their claim to the title, but the Queen remains the same. From a small-time dancer in Michigan she has evolved into a fashion icon, Material Girl, businesswoman and philanthropist. On the eve of Madge’s birthday, we take a look at what makes her the reigning queen of music.
From Hollywood actors to backing dancers, sports stars to film producers, Madonna has racked up an impressive list of male companions over the years.
- John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez-Musician
- Sean Penn- Actor, married him in 1985 and divorced by 1989
- John F Kennedy Jr- There were rumours of a brief dalliance 1987-1988
- Warren Beatty- Director and Actor, 1989
- Antony Banderas and Lenny Kravitz- 1990
- Tony Ward, model and one-time porn star, 1990-1991
- Vanilla Ice- She had an eight-month fling with him in 1991
- Dates Willem Dafoe, rapper Big Daddy Kane, and baseball player Jose Canseco, 1992
- Dennis Rodman-Basketball player, actor and musician. She got cosy with him in the mid-nineties.
- Carlos Leon-Personal trainer, 1994. Two years later she gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon.
- Andy Bird- British writer, 1998
- Guy Ritchie- Film Producer. Met him in 1998. Married him in 2000. Gave birth to son Rocco and divorced by 2008.
- Jesus Luz – Model. Madonna begins dating him after meeting him at a photo shoot in 2008 and the two have been virtually inseparable ever since.
The Controversy Queen
Like a Virgin (1984)
Controversy: The song Like A Virgin alone was enough to spark controversy in 1984 as premarital sex wasn’t the usual fodder for bubblegum pop. Then Madonna crawled around lewdly in a whorish wedding dress at the MTV Video Music Awards, and “family values” still haven’t recovered.
Papa don’t preach (1986)
Controversy: Planned Parenthood (of all organisations!) beefed with Madonna upon the release of True Blue‘s Papa Don’t Preach. It believed the song conveyed an anti-abortion message. Catholics were also unhappy about anyone having sex out of marriage.
Madonna’s “Prayer” 1989)
Controversy: The video for Like A Prayer features a lingerie-clad Madonna getting frisky with a saint, dancing around burning crosses, and the scars of the stigmata on her hands. The Vatican cried heresy and Pepsi backed out of an endorsement.
Blonde Ambition (1990)
Controversy: The video for Justify My Love, from The Immaculate Collection, caused an international stir due to its sexual content. Also in 1990, Madonna kicked off her Blond Ambition tour, which was considered revolutionary in terms of its creativity, but sparked an outcry among Catholics.
Controversy: Madonna timed the release of her sexually-charged album Erotica to the publishing of her book Sex. The sexually-explicit imagery in the book — bondage, gay erotocism, etc. — sparked more controversy than the album itself.
Ray of Light (1998)
Controversy: Her peformance of Ray of Light seemed relatively benign to most American viewers. Not so to Hindus, who took issue with Madonna wearing Hindu facial markings. The World Vaishnava Association said it was offensive for Madonna to use the marks while simulating a sex act and wearing a see-through tank top.
Banned For Violence (2001)
Controversy: MTV banned Madonna’s violent video for What It Feels Like For a Girl, a single from her music album. Directed by then-husband Guy Ritchie, it features Madge stun-gunning and robbing a man at an ATM, running over a bunch of random men with her car, and finally killing herself (and an elderly woman).
Madonna makes out (2003)
Controversy: Madonna released the anti-war song American Life for her album of the same title just as the US waged war on Iraq. Later in the year, Her flirty performance with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards climaxed with some open-mouthed kissing.
Who does Madonna think she is? (2006)
Controversy: Madonna once said, “I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King and John Lennon… but I want to stay alive.” Madonna performed Live to Tell on her Confessions tour while crucified on a cross. She wore a crown of thorns. The Catholic church saw the act as an act of hostility.
MDNA tour 2012
The tour has generated many newspaper headlines and news coverage for its use of fake firearms during performances, Madonna’s nudity on stage, and her promotion of LGBT rights, freedom of speech and political issues.
Best known for
- Being the world’s wealthiest female musician
- Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records.
- Since arriving on the Hot 100 the week of October 29, 1983, with Holiday, she has earned a total of 56 chart hits, including a record 38 top 10 singles.
- Her biggest hits: Like a Virgin, Into the Groove, Papa Don’t Preach, Like a Prayer,Vogue, Frozen, Music, Hung Up, and 4 Minutes.
- Ray of Light and Confessions on Dance Floor won the Grammy Awards
- She received critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Evita (1996)