“I just remember being extremely envious of her and also touched by her innocence.
“I was watching a documentary about Serge Gainsbourg, the French songwriter, and there’s a famous talk show he did that happened a while back when Whitney was just starting.
“It was funny, because I’d just watched it the week before she died, where he was making a kind of play for her on national television and he was basically saying in French that he wanted to ‘f’ her — and the look of shock on her face…
“I mean, she was so innocent and so young, and so cute, and really she blushed.
“And I was thinking, ‘We are all innocent at one stage in our life. It’s just interesting, the paths our lives take.’
“I was struck by that — how well she started and where she ended up and the tragedy of it.”
Madonna is about to release her twelfth studio album, MDNA, and kicked off the promo cycle for the release with a high-profile gig during half-time of the Super Bowl last month.
The gig, with Brit M.I.A and New York rapper Nicki Minaj, sparked huge controversy in the US when M.I.A flicked a middle finger at the camera.
If you blinked, you would have missed it. But it didn’t stop a conservative audience complaining in their thousands — with a very different finger of blame pointing at Madonna.
But the mum-of-four has mixed views about the uproar. She said: “Well, you know, the thing is we were in NFL territory.
“We were in the sacred ground of football and I think that it’s a very important and well-viewed event.
“It was accepted and understood by everyone performing that we would be — what’s the word I’m looking for — politically correct.
“I think the NFL were more worried about me than anything else, thinking that I was going to do something crazy or provocative. And I really had no intention of doing something shocking.
“I was working too hard in putting the show together to think about how I was going to do something to p*ss people off.
“They fought hard for me to get me more rehearsal time, and to give me what I wanted creatively for the show.
“I felt like I owed them to give them back what they wanted.
“So on that level, I was upset because I knew that I got some people into trouble that really went forward for me.
“And I don’t wanna do that — I don’t want anybody to get in trouble at my expense because they worked so hard to give me what I wanted, so there’s that side of it.
“On the other hand, I didn’t know M.I.A did it, and everybody was outraged about it so I viewed the footage and I kind of almost missed it.
“And I was like, ‘Oh, okay’. It didn’t seem like that big a deal at the end of the day, so there’s two sides to the story.
“You know, that’s her thing, it’s pretty punk rock and actually, in the bigger picture of things, much crazier things have happened.”
Fans around the UK and Ireland have already bought tickets to see Madonna perform this summer in London, Edinburgh and Dublin.
And she hopes the shows will cause as much of a stir with her own fans in the stadium.
She said: “Oh God, I hope somebody is going to give the middle finger at my show. It probably won’t be me because I’ve done it too many times.
“I hope I have some ideas. The creative well is dry but I just started rehearsals last week and mostly I have been focusing on music.
“I do have ideas and I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m incredibly anxiety-ridden about it.”
There is no sign of Madonna packing up her fishnets and leotard either — even though she has passed the half century.
And fans will be pleased to hear she is as motivated as ever to carry on her illustrious career.
She said: “I guess I love doing what I do. I have a voice, I have opinions, I have things I wanna say.
“I love music, I love telling stories. So I guess as long as I feel that way I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
© The Sun