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Madonna Interview : Harper’s Bazaar

Madonna - Harper's Bazaar / March 2006

I’m To Going to Tell You a Secret is an eclectic melange of Madonna moments. Through all the wild juxtapositions-the on-the-road reportage, the sweetly domestic Ritchie family video diary, the soft-focus consciousness-raising ads for spirituality in general and Kabbalah in particular-the one thing that consistently floats to the surface is her humor, sometimes bawdy, often surprisingly self-deprecating. Madonna is hilarious kvetching with her glam squad that Guy is more intimate with his jiu-jitsu partners (often members of her security staff, whom he usurps for his own purposes) than he is with her. Jump-cut to Madonna all dressed up in her Lacroix stage corset: “What’s the difference between a pop star and a terrorist?” she vamps. “You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

Madonna is pleased with the film, but she’s pretty sanguine that not all her creative efforts will be welcomed with open arms. “It’s not good for you to always be well received,” she shrugs, referring to the response to her last album, American Life, and its overtly antiwar message. “It makes you try harder and gives you a strength and conviction to go against the grain and stand up for what you believe in-and it’s fuel for my fire because I like being a rebel.”

Of all her incendiary incarnations, what does she regard as the most risky? “The one that freaks people out the most? Having a spiritual life. That freaks people out way more than taking my clothes off and having pictures of myself taken and put into a book.” Droll pause. “Ironically.”

Whether or not she consciously sought it out, Madonna has become a potent role model for contemporary womanhood. “I just love women who are strong and tough. I like Christiane Amanpour-she’s cool, and also a friend of mine. Hillary Clinton…” She falters, clearly racking her mental search engine. “In the world that I’m in, the entertainment world, I don’t find a lot of women to look up to. There are loads of great actresses and singers, but I don’t find a lot of women visionaries, people who take risks, who are revolutionary in some way. Those are the kinds of women I am inspired by.”

What does she think of Kate Moss, another conspicuous female agent provocateur but one who chooses to say very little? “She’s very beautiful. I don’t know her that well, I know she’s taken a lot of crap lately and had a lot of bad press. I’d like to think she’s going to come back and surprise us. We can’t all be beautiful and have a champagne glass in our hand for the rest of our life. We have to come up with other things,” Madonna says, very calm and sage. “She’s got a lot of spunk and a rebellious spirit in her, and it would be great if she could channel that into something a bit more creative. She’s always been very sweet and lovely when I’ve run into her. I haven’t got anything bad to say about her.”

Madonna-she’s come a long way, baby. Thank motherhood: She cites the birth of her daughter, Lourdes (by onetime fitness trainer Carlos Leon), nearly 10 years ago as the catalyst for her spiritual quest. Also thank marriage to Guy (10 years her junior and father of their five-and-a-half-year-old son, Rocco), a union that has categorically changed her. “You become less impulsive, less reckless, less careless, less selfish. In chose respects I’ve changed a lot.”

Madonna and Guy celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in December by getting “very drunk in a pub,” a regular Ritchie haunt in the middle of Dorset, where they don’t mind Madonna bringing in her own Krug Rose. “It was really sweet and intimate,” she says, almost shyly. “I usually have rather grand affairs: I insist that all my friends put on shows in my country house, or I have a big party in the city, or we go back to Scotland, where we got married. But this time I decided to do it very low-key because it’s been a really hectic year.”

Madonna - Harper's Bazaar / March 2006

And how is matrimony five years in? “I must admit, I have to pat myself on the back. Its not easy to be married, to have a successful career, to have children, to be with someone who is as strong-willed and ambitious as I am. Guys not a househusband, and I’m not a typical wife. So you can imagine, we have our clashes. But I think we always keep our eye on the ball; that is, our marriage- the union of us, the things that we create together-is bigger than the petty fights we have.”