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Madonna Interview : Rolling Stone

Madonna - Rolling Stone / March 23 1989

Have you seen La Toya? Perhaps you could share any spontaneous observations.
[She lunges for the magazine] Give me that! No shit! [She pores over the pages, amused.] She had a tit job, for sure! This isn’t bad. They’re funny. But you see only tits? Major tit job! Well, La Toya, this is a shocker. Oooh! The Jackson family must be outraged. This is desperation. Well, maybe she’ll get a job out of it.

Jumping from one kind of exposure to another, I suppose there’s no tactful way to ask you about the dissolution of your marriage.
[She smiles coyly] Inquiring minds want to know? Now you’re gonna get all nosy, huh? Well, this is something incredibly close to me right now, and very painful. I have a difficult time talking about it. You can ask, but I can refuse to answer you.

Fair enough. You’ve said in the past, “I’d rather walk through a fire than walk away from one.” Are you attracted to flame?
Am I attracted to pain? Is that what you’re trying to say? I’m attracted to obstacles I need to overcome. I’m interested in facing challenges, things that are going to be harder rather than easier.

The song on your album “Till Death Do Us Part” portrays a tormented, volatile and dangerous marriage. The implication is autobiographical. How honest are the lyrics?
Like most of the songs on my album, it’s very much drawn from my life, factually speaking, but it’s fictionalized, too. “Till Death Do Us Part” is about a destructive relationship that is powerful and painful. In this song, however, it’s a cycle that you can’t get out of until you die. It’s futile. I wanted the song to be very shocking, and I think it was. It’s about a dysfunctional relationship, a sadomasochistic relationship that can’t end. Now that’s where the truth stops, because I would never want to continue a terrible relationship forever and ever and ever until I die.

Has Sean heard the song?
Yes. And he loves it, strangely enough [laugh]. But Sean is very, very keen on being brutally frank in his work. He’s attracted to writers and artists who don’t mince words.

Do you ever think you married too young?
No.

Do you think the odds were stacked against this marriage from the start? It seemed people defied it to succeed.
Oh, yes. I felt that no one wanted us to be together. They celebrated our union, and then they wanted us to be apart. There were rumors about us getting a divorce a week after the wedding. We fought that. And, yes, that is difficult. I don’t know if anyone can do it [under those circumstances]. You have to be really, really strong and immune. Very sure of yourself.

In terms of your chemistry, you are two strong-willed individuals, volatile in your own ways.
Both passionate people. Way over the top [laughs].

Did your marriage thrive on fiction?
Yes. I have an incredible fascination and attraction to it. Like I said about walking into the fire. Well, he’s fire, that’s for sure.

Do you regret you ever got married?
No. Ultimately, I have twinges of regret, but I feel more sadness than anything. Feeling regret is really destructive. I have learned a great deal from my marriage, so much. About everything – mostly about myself. Please don’t ask me what. I just couldn’t say.

You almost seemed an old-fashioned girl in your enthusiasm for marriage.
I’m a very old-fashioned girl. Marriage is a great thing when it’s right. And I did celebrate it and embrace it, and I wanted the whole world to know that this is the man I loved more than anything. But there’s a price to pay for that, which is something I now realize. Ever since I was in high school, when I was madly in love with someone, I was so proud of this person, I wanted the world to know that I loved him. But once you reveal it to the world – and you’re in the public eye – you give it up, and it’s not your own anymore. I began to realize how important it is to hold on to privacy and keeping things to yourself as much as possible. It’s like a runaway train afterward. So if you ask, Did I complicate things by being very public about [my feelings]? Yes. I did.