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Madonna Interview : Vanity Fair

“Really?” Madonna says. “Mmm-hmm. Totally.”

“I’m always shocked to hear that.” “Really?”

“Because 1 don’t feel like I’m tragically intim-” “But you have a very strong energy.”

He wags a finger at her. She shrugs. “Mmmm-hmmm,” she says.

“And that can be-if you’re not feeling your best, that can be intimidating.”

Regardless, Madonna’s demeanor, by turns steely and playful, is effective; it always keeps you off kilter. One moment, she’s dead serious: When she is asked why so many straight women fall for Everett, she says, “His sense of humor.” When it’s suggested that perhaps his physical appearance also plays a role, she says, “Well, yes. He’s gorgeous. But, 1 mean, 1 wanted to go a little bit deeper.” At another point, she’s playful, almost girlish: “There are plenty of gorgeous homos that we don’t fantasize about being with,”~ she says, speaking for all womankind and using the terms “homos” and “fags” as honorifics. “We know a lot of fags who are open about their sexuality. It’s not about that. He just has that certain something. He’s not obviously gay, and he’s got a really macho vi be about him. He seems genuinely interested in women, and on top of that he’s really smart and very funny. We like a clever boy.”

Everett, during a later conversation, is quick to explicate his friend’s strong personality. “I think she’s as tough as she needs to be,” he says. “Women in show business-either you succumb or you become as strong as men on their own terms. And that can sometimes seem extremely tough on the outside. 1 think she’s not all tough. But she certainly is a very formidable woman.” He thinks for a moment and, with a kind of charitable half-laugh, adds, “She has a lot of vulnerability, but it wouldn’t necessarily be directed at you.”

To some degree, and through no fault of their own, Madonna and Rupert are different from you and me. Whereas we might spend New Year’s Eve swilling nonvintage champagne while dozing in front of CNN, they will be at the nearby Versace mansion, sipping from jeroboams and table-dancing with Donatella, Gwyneth, and various others whose fabulousness long ago obliterated their surnames. (Indeed, the crowd that night was so fabulous that the actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, who has yet to become known only as “Jennifer,” was considered a B-list guest.) Both Madonna and Everett speak of home in the plural, given that each has residences in numerous A-list places: Miami, Manhattan, London. (Actually, Madonna recently put her London house up for sale because of security concerns.) Everett’s homes are modest by comparison with Madonna’s-“rooms,” he calls them-but he nevertheless fits seamlessly into Madonna’s universe. To wit: the subject of traveling with a young child when you are the most famous woman in the world. “I don’t really like the idea of going on a commercial airline with my daughter around,” Madonna says, contemplating the inevitable crush of gawkers and autograph hounds. “I just can’t bear the idea of it.”

Everett, finger pointed skyward, responds: “How about the Warner jet!”

He’s kidding, up to a point. But still. They speak their own language. And they don’t converse. They banter. As in:

“He drops by my house,” Madonna says. “I’ve never been invited to any of his houses.”

“You have,”~ Everett says. “Always.” “Bull!”

He tosses her one of his knowing, Rupert-y looks.

“Bull-oney!” she cries. “When is the last time that you invited me anywhere?”

“What?”

Madonna - Vanity Fair / March 2000

He had me over for dinner once in L.A., and it was horrible, and it was bad, and he burned everything.”

“Right. I didn’t see you for four years after that.” “He burned everything, and his dog was humping my leg.”

”I’m not a very proficient society host, and I thought, Oh, I’ll get it together. And I invited Sandra Bernhard, [filmmaker] Alek Keshishian, Candice Bergen, and Tony Richardson. Everything at this dinner party went completely wrong. First of all, there was a howling gale.”