Interviewer: But don’t you sometimes miss the good old USA?
Madonna: I kind of like that I’m a Yank in England – I like being a fish out of water. They’re not really interested in spoiling you here if you’re a celebrity. I feel like I get left alone here. I ride my bike, I put my hat on, and I feel more free here. I go to Hyde Park, I ride to the recording studio, I ride to my friend’s house.
Interviewer: Do you remember first meeting Guy? What was your initial attraction to him?
Madonna: He has a great wit – that’s the first thing I noticed when I met him, his incredible sense of humor and his use of language – I found that very attractive. He made me laugh, but he was funny in a clever way, not in an obvious way. He made me think. He’s very well read, very curious, inquisitive.
Interviewer: You once said that marriage is both harder and better than you’d ever expected. What did you mean by that?
Madonna: Marriage is hard. No one can prepare you – maybe they can, but I didn’t grow up with a mother, you know, someone to give me her insight about what married life was going to be. When you’re married, you can’t run away. I mean, you can run way, but that’s not my style. I’m not a quitter. It’s taken me a long time to realize what the whole point of marriage is, and I don’t think it has anything to do with our romantic notions – like walks together, and sending flowers to one another, and bringing up children together. Those are all manifestations, but the whole point of marriage is for each and every one of us to learn how to get along with one person, and to learn to love that person unconditionally. And if you can do it with one person, then your whole attitude toward the world and humanity can change. It’s easier to have unconditional love for your children. They’re young and they’re cute, and they get away with it. Somehow, when a grown-up behaves badly or immaturely, you immediately find yourself making little lists – okay, I’m writing that down, I’m going to remember you did that. “The list where you irritated me is getting longer!” That’s what I do.
Interviewer: So you’re the type who will confront your husband when something is wrong?
Madonna: Yes. If I have a problem, I want to work it out, right now. My husband is like, “I don’t want to talk about it right now. I need to think about it. Let’s talk about it in two days.” Two days? No! I have to be right now! I have to prove that you’re wrong now! Sometimes I need to learn to bite my tongue. And that’s the whole give-and-take about marriage – you don’t always get your way. And let’s face it – until you get married, you get your way. Once you get married, you suddenly have to think of somebody else before you make decisions, before you speak. That’s about putting your ego in check, about growing up and about putting somebody else in front of you. Marriage is a tool for each and every one of us to ultimately make the world a better place. Because if you can get along with your husband or wife, and work toward loving them unconditionally, chances are you’re going to be a lot more compassionate and a lot less judgmental toward your fellow man.
Interviewer: Do you feel that this time you married for the right reason, whereas you didn’t with your first marriage, to Sean Penn?
Madonna: Oh, yeah. I wasn’t even thinking when I got married last time, I was just thinking, Oh, you’re so talented, you’re so cute! It was all excitement. I’d just become famous, the whole thing was crazy. He’s a brilliant man and all, but I wasn’t thinking past my nose. I was 26. We were both forces to be reckoned with. I wasn’t interested in making compromises – I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. And he wanted to do what he wanted to do. When I got married this time, I’d already had two children, and I was very clear what my priorities were. Making my marriage and my children and my spiritual life work are my priorities.
Interviewer: Can you talk about your early days of motherhood and how it changed you?
Madonna: Motherhood was the beginning of my own journey asking the question, Why am I here? I had to stop and think: What am I going to teach my daughter? What do I believe in? I don’t even know what I believe in, and if I don’t know, how am I going to teach my daughter anything? What have I been put on this earth for? What’s the whole point of life? What’s important, what isn’t important? Is there life beyond this physical world we live in? Everything. When I started asking, a teacher appeared, and my husband appeared. Everything kind of came at the same time, when I decided to pull my head out of my ass – forgive my vulgarity. But I decided to think beyond my career, beyond what I did for myself as an artist. I was into freedom of speech, freedom of expression, women’s rights, and that’s all great. But that’s one tiny little percentage of the world out there that needs to be explored, and I wasn’t really dealing with the big picture. Motherhood was my triggering point for trying to understand the meaning of life.