How often does the press get you personally?
I suppose it depends on the subject. I pretty much can let most stuff off. One thing I read that really, really, really irked me, where I did have to take a couple of deep breaths, was a little blurb during the minute there when everybody was making a big deal about the Clintons and their maybe wanting to adopt a baby. It said something like: “Hillary wants to adopt a baby; Madonna has one available.” You know, implying that I was completely and utterly disconnected from my pregnancy and could care less about my baby. I really got upset.
Did you see the piece by Jonathan Alter in ‘Newsweek’?
No, but I heard about it. Was that where they were saying I was a bad role model for kinds, or something, because I wasn’t married? He must have been talking to Camille Paglia, who thinks that the reason I’m not married is that I can’t bond with a man.
Really? What happened to all that stuff you guys had in common? You didn’t used to be able to turn on “Charlie Rose” without seeing Camille Paglia explain that you and she were soul mates in every way.
I think I never paid her any mind, so she decided we didn’t have anything in common after all. But about the press, you do obviously get better and better at accepting it over the years.
It’d odd bow the cycle of bashing and building up works with you. Was the turning point the “Sex” book?
Probably in the couple of years after, where my skin grew at least 6 inches thicker. I do think that society tends to root for you to win or lose. It’s kind of tragic, in a way, because what goes up must come down. Anyone who attains an enormous popularity is about to see what the bottom of a boot looks like.
You seem very serene about it.
I think it’s probably the hormones.
Oh, I thought they were supposed to work the other way.
They do. They work both ways. They give you an incredible sense of calmness and serenity and the ability to wait peacefully, because you have no other choice, and then the tiniest things can set you off. It’s the most unbelievable thing to go through. I went to a concert the other night and this stranger came up to me and said, um, please let me touch your stomach, I know you’re Madonna and everything, but I really believe that it will bring me good luck, and I’m going to racetrack tomorrow. And he just looked really sincere, so I let him.
The thing being that with you, what whole story could have happened even without pregnancy.
Yes. Though I’m not sure it’s my stomach they want to touch.
Were you trying to get pregnant?
No. I certainly entertained the idea, but I was offered the movie and it kept going from being six months away to seven months away to seven and a half months away, but never a feasible time; and when I actually did get pregnant, I wasn’t trying.
You did it the old-fashioned way?
By mistake? Basically, yeah.