Oprah Winfrey kicked off one of her last-ever national talk shows on Tuesday with hugs from Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and Madonna in a packed Chicago arena.
“She’s a self-made woman who’s been at the top of her game for over 25 years — and she’s still kicking a**,” Madonna told a delighted audience of about 13,000 as a stunned-looking Winfrey stood beside her onstage.
The show, being taped on Tuesday for airing on May 23 and 24, is billed as “Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular” because not even the talk show queen was said to have known who would be appearing.
Winfrey’s final original “Oprah Winfrey Show”, whose contents are still under wraps, will air on May 25, bringing to a close 25 years of the most-watched daytime talk show on U.S. television.
“Your show has turned surprise into an art form,” Hanks told Winfrey on Tuesday. “Oprah Winfrey, today you are surrounded by nothing but love. Your studio was not big enough to hold it all, so here we are,” Hanks said, gesturing around the glittering basketball arena and concert venue.
Shortly after, Madonna walked onstage and praised Winfrey for her courage. “It’s no secret that millions of people are inspired by Oprah,” she said. “I am one of those people … She fights for things she believes in, even if it makes her unpopular … I have learned so much from her.”
A beaming Cruise told Winfrey it was an honor to have been on her show 12 times since 1988. Referring to his first appearance on the show 23 years ago, Winfrey quipped, “You looked like you were 10.”
R&B singer Beyonce prefaced a song and dance performance by declaring, “Oprah Winfrey, because of you, women everywhere have graduated to a new level of understanding of what we are, who we are, and who we can be … We can run the world!”
The show also featured Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry and singer-actress Queen Latifah. Josh Groban and Patti LaBelle sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and comedy stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell sent in video-taped tributes.
Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, is wrapping the final season of her syndicated Chicago-based show to devote more energy to her fledgling OWN cable network, which launched in January.
Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her talk show, which airs five days a week on Walt Disney Co’s ABC and in some 140 countries.
According to Perez Hilton… Madonna and Beyonce are in Chicago for the tapping of the final episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show!
from Harper’s Bazaar Interview:
Laura Brown: It’s been eight years since you kissed Madonna onstage at the MTV awards. What have you learned from her?
Britney Spears: I actually saw her a couple of weeks ago at a party. I guess she’s really taught me to stay true to myself. That seems like a simple thing to say, but she taught me through action, not just by saying it. There are so many people around you that have opinions, but you just have to listen to your instincts.
Madonna is listening to potential tracks and ideas for the new album.. she is eager to get started… this will happen soon…
…the movie should be done in next month or so…
There was a notable absence on the Croisette this year – Madonna.
The superstar had hoped to premiere her eagerly awaited movie W.E at the film festival this week, but screenings have been put on ice because the project is still not finished.
Madonna, 52, had wanted to showcase her film, about King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, but she is still making finishing touches to the soundtrack and there are three weeks more of post production to complete before the film is ready to be screened to an international audience.
‘It was hoped that Madonna would be the star of this year’s Cannes,’ says a source at the festival.
‘But the film isn’t ready. While the movie’s distributors will attend the festival, they will preview select cuts to buyers at private screenings instead of showing the entire feature.’
The movie is the singer’s first big-budget directorial role.
Madonna has hired pop star Rihanna as the face of her coconut water drinks company.
The pop legend is a leading investor in the Vita Coco brand, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, and she has now asked the Umbrella hitmaker to be the face of the drink.
A statement from Madonna reads, “Rihanna is a natural fit for the Vita Coco brand and I’m so happy to have her on the team, ” while Rihanna adds, “I love Vita Coco. It’s real coconut water from hand-picked coconuts. It’s delicious and so good for you!?
LA Times: A lot of her visual aesthetics have been compared to Madonna. As her creative director what are your thoughts on that?
Laurieann Gibson: Listen, [Madonna] should be bitter because I did it on purpose, and you can quote me. I did it on purpose because for all those kids who believe that you can’t, I wanted to let them feel that you can. And that’s what I represent, that’s what Gags represents. That’s what this movement represents.
Madonna has reportedly split from her boyfriend Brahim Zaibat after repeatedly clashing over their religious beliefs.
According to the Daily Mail, the 52-year-old music icon ended her nine-month relationship with the 24-year-old dancer after his devout Muslim family warned him against becoming entangled in her devotion to Kabbalah.
A friend of Zaibat is quoted as saying: “Brahim has been home and he’s a single guy. He’s no longer an item with Madonna. He’s very happy. There’s nothing more to say.”
Another source close to him elaborated: “Brahim’s family had told him they did not want him going to Kabbalah meetings and wanted him to stick to his Muslim beliefs, which caused some rows… Things started to turn sour and they were hardly seeing each other.”
When asked about the reports, a spokesperson for the ‘Celebration’ singer stated: “We never comment on Madonna’s private life.”