Menu

all about Madonna

15 years online

Madonna Interview : People

That could describe Leon’s attributes as a father, according to Madonna. When she is staying in her duplex apartment near Central Park, “Carlos, ” she says, “sees Lola at least three or four rimes a week, taking her out, doing things. They talk on the phone every night.” When Madonna flew to New York recently, Carlos stayed with Lourdes in London. In New York he takes his daughter to the park, to kid flicks like Mulan or to visit her Cuban-American grandparents Armando and Maria, both 54, in their Manhattan apartment. Carlos’s brother Armando Jr., a doorman, often brings over his two children Anthony, 4, and Allesandra, 2, when Lourdes visits. “My son adores Lola,” says Armando Sr., a supervisor in a check-cashing business. “You can imagine it’s not the same as living with your daughter all the time. It’s hard. He really wants to be with her.”

One Madonna friend describes Leon as a “mushball” who melts around Lola. “He’s the pushover, I’m the disciplinarian,” confirms Madonna. “I’m okay with that. Carlos feels he can’t say no to her.” But with her mother, whatever Lola wants, Lola doesn’t necessarily get. Though Madonna’s art collection includes Picasso, Leger and Frida Kahlo, she sometimes won’t spring for a Barbie–doing her best not to spoil her child. “If she doesn’t need another dress right now and wants one, the answer is no! She’s always asking for more. More dessert. More jelly beans.” “Lola is definitely feisty and strong-willed,” observes Everett. “The two of them are going to be a fantastic drama unfolding over the next 20 years.”

Madonna - PEOPLE Magazine / March 13 2000

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone’s life has been an unfolding, fantastic drama since Aug. 16, 1958, when she was born in Bay City, Mich. , a Detroit suburb about 35 miles from the Motor City. Silvio and Madonna Ciccone had six kids: Martin, Anthony, Madonna, Paula, Christopher and Melanie. Madonna, the oldest sister, lost her mother, then 36, to breast cancer when she was 5, and that has haunted her ever since. Her father, then a Chrysler design engineer, remarried
Joan Gustafson, the housekeeper (also mother of Madonna’s half-siblings Jennifer and Mario), after his wife died in 1963. Silvio, now 66, was a stickler for the rigid house rules he had established. “I grew up feeling incredibly repressed,” Madonna recalls. “I was a really good girl.” She earned a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, but in 1978, at age 20, she
dropped out and headed for New York City, where she lived the life of a poor artist. There she danced with Alvin Ailey, cut some dance tracks for the disco underground, signed a Sire Records
deal and began her assault on global fame with 1984’s Like a Virgin. Her infectious array of
provocative lyrics and videos made her pop music’s poster girl for post-feminist empowerment . “I was a late bloomer,” says Madonna, who shocked the world in 1992 with her graphically illustrated Sex book. “My rebellion happened, instead of in my teens, when 1 was 30. I just wanted to go, ‘Don’t tell me what to do just ’cause I’m a girl. Don’t tell me I can’t be sexual and intelligent at the same time.’ I’m proud of the way I acted because it set a precedent and gave women the freedom to be expressive. I’m happy to have been a pioneer.”

As an actress, though, she wasn’t always a trailblazer. Despite her promising 1985 debut in Desperately Seeking Susan, her film career faltered with stinkers such as 1986’s Shanghai Surprise, costarring her ex, Penn, 1987’s Who’s That Girl and 1993’s Body of Evidence. “I look back and think, ‘Well, I invited it. I made some really stupid choices.’ So while I don’t deserve to have the s kicked out of me, it taught me to be more scrupulous about the choices you make. I’m still fearful and insecure. ‘Am I good enough?’ That’s what fuels me creatively.”

Her reputation and faith in films were restored by her performance in Evita, which earned Madonna a Golden Globe. But during filming in London, Budapest and Buenos Aires, Madonna learned she was pregnant. The baby’s name, inspired by the French town associated with miracle cures, was a tribute to the star’s mother. “She always wanted to go to Lourdes,” recalls Madonna. “She never
made it. So for sentimental reasons, I named my daughter that.”