Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone entered a new phase of life this summer when she married – to the deafening whirr of six mewsmongering helicopters – elusive actor Sean Penn in Los Angeles. The marriage, a first for Penn and Madonna, came after a courtship of less than a year and pushed the singer into the age of material womanhood: the house in Hollywood, the Mercedes, the family plans. Contrary to her playgirl image, the real-life Mrs. Penn is sensible, decisive and business-minded. Her middle class, Italian-Catholic background has anchored her in a widening sea of exposure, while her lean year as an unknown – artist’s model, dancer and club singer around Paris and New York – have given her a hard edge on younger, softer contemporaries. Surrounding Madonna like a halo is an unspoken message hinted at by her friends and supported by outward shows of defiance: Don’t mess with me. You’ll lose.
Her fans can’t get enough of it. With more than 20 million records sold worldwide, she is among the select group of musical artists (including Prince and Michael Jackson) frequently forced to knock themselves off the charts in order to score with new songs. After a convincing screen debut this year in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” Madonna’s creative affections seem to be shifting towards acting, and she is currently in the market for a project to co-star in with her husband. Insiders cite a script called “Blind date,” but no conytracts have been signed.
Madonna: I’m not as true to myself as I always proclaimed that I had been. I realize now after eating this Fig Newton and reading this package. I realize there’s animal fat in this and I’m no longer a vegetarian. I want everybody to know how fallible I am.
Harry Dean Stantion: You’re not perfect
M: No, I’m not Jamie Lee Curtis…
HDS: Madonna, to start at the very beginning, what’s your earliest memory?
M: I think my earliest memories go back to about four or five years old, and they’re memories of my beautiful mother. They’re really great memories. When I was four years old or younger. I remember not being able to go to sleep at night, so I would walk into my parents’ bedroom and push the door open. They were both asleep in bed and I think I must have done this a lot, gone in there, because they sort of sat up in bed and said, “Oh no, not again,” and I said, “Can I get in bed between you?” I always went to sleep right away when I slept with them. I felt really lonely and forlorn, even though my brothers and sisters were in my room with me. I wanted to sleep with my parents.
HDS: The bosses.
M: Yeah, I wanted to sleep with the A Team. I remember, because my mother had a really beautiful red nightgown, silky red. My father was against me getting into bed with them, and my mother was for it. So I got in bed between them, and I remember getting into bed and rubbing against her nightgown and going to sleep – just like that. To me that was heaven, to sleep between my parents.
HDS: And your next memory?
M: My second wasn’t so pleasent. It was me sitting in the driveway of my house and another little girl, who must have been about two years old – I was about four – had just learned to walk, and she walked into the yard and picked a dandelion up out of the ground. I hate dandelions more than anything, and I had been told I couldn’t leave the front yard so I was kind of mad. I was sitting on the cement of the driveway and this little girl came waddling up to me with her diaper on, and with little innocent eyes, she looked up at me and handed me the dandelion and I pushed her down. I was so mad because I was being punished and my first instinct was to lash out at someone who was more helpless than I. I saw in her innocent eyes the chance to get back at some authority.
HDS: Who do you hate dandelions?
M: Because they’re weeds that run rampant. I like things that are cultivated. So that was my first memory of being mean to someone.
HDS: Do you remember when this hatred of dandelions started?
M: I think it was from when my father made us go out in the yard and pick all the dandelions, like they were varmints. So those are my earliest memories—nice and naughty.
HDS: Talk about your view of the world as a child.
M: When I was a child I always thought that the world was mine, that it was a stomping ground for me, full of opportunities. I always had the attitude that I was going to go out into the world and do all the things I wanted to do, whatever that was.