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Madonna Interview : Us Weekly

After a brief visit, including a report that Rocco has gone back to sleep, he disappears. “You don’t want to blow too much smoke up their ass,” she says, smiling. “Otherwise they won’t run errands for you.”

Ever since recordinag a soundtrack to Evita in 1995 in London, Madonna has been entranced by life in that city. She befriended Princess Diana during the recording. “We met at an art gallery, and I had a little chat with her,” recalls Madonna. “She wanted to get together with me so I could tell her how she could have a thick skin and not be bothered by what everybody writes. We kept attempting to get together for tea but her schedule and mine were both too insane.” More recently, Madonna sat next to Prince Charles during a dinner in London. “He was very amusing,” she says. “He asked me about Guy and kept making self-deprecating remarks, and then joked about how stuffy everybody else was.”

Madonna had sett up house with Ritchie in Kensington, London, when she began work on her new CD last September. “Compared to when I wrote Ray of Light, I was completely unfocused, not sure of the direction or the sound I wanted,” she explains. “I just kind of threw myself into it.” Recording an album of her own outside of New York for the first time in her career, Madonna says she was “stimulated by the cool, creative vibe” of working in a studio where street life was visible outside the windows. “I felt really connected to the world,” she adds.

And to herself. The CD’s techno-pop title cut, “Music,” instantly rocketed to number one on the pop charts in both the U.K. and the U.S., and passionate, introspective songs like “I Deserve It” and “What It Feels Like for a Girl” make the album among her most personal. “Once I found my way. I wanted everything simple, direct and meaningful,” says Madonna, who discarded dozens of songs before settling on the final 10. “I’ve never written as many good songs and not used them before. But if it wasn’t new, if it wasn’t important. I wasn’t interested.”

Becoming pregnant while in the midst of recording, Madonna tried to conceal her condition for as long as possible from the Fleet Street photographers who trailed her each time she stepped outside her house. “All the people in the studio couldn’t figure out why I never took my coat off,” she says. “I used to say, ‘Oh, I’ve got the chills.’ ” By her eighth month, though, Madonna was photographed in a bikini while taking a mud bath on vacation in southern Italy. “Those pictures are disgusting,” she says. “I’m not exactly into looking obese for the entire world.”

Madonna says she “just didn’t care anymore” how she looked while pregnant. But her friend Mazar says that’s not the whole story. “OK, she was feeling rather large — and she was,” concedes the actress, who was on the trip as well. “But only from the front. I’d walk into her room, and she’d be in some amazing yoga pose, which I, who am not pregnant, can’t get into.”

Actually, Madonna’s pregnancy was routine until about her seventh month, when doctors discovered her placenta previa and told her to cease her daily yoga and exercise routines. “I hung around the house and did nothing but talk on the phone and read, which was like a death sentence to me,” she says. Now she’s getting back into exercise slowly, starting with brisk walks its the hills around her house and some bike rides. Yoga will start again in a few weeks. As for work, Madonna is considering a tour of small clubs in the fall. “I haven’t been onstage for a long time,” she says. ‘I really do miss it.”

In the meantine, Madonna has segued smoothly into the role of old-fashioned mother. She sets limits and enforces them in her way. “Rather than threaten a timeout or rationalize something to her 4-year-old. she’s one of those moms who can give her kid a look and they immediately know what’s up,” says Harris. Lourdes, who’s also called Lola, takes French, karate and art classes and isn’t allowed to watch any TV — not even a Disney video — at home. “It’s more work not to allow them so watch, believe me,” says Madonna. “But I feel like TV turns them into passive creatures. I want her to develop her imagination.”

Madonna doesn’t rule out adding at least one more to her brood, but at this point she doesn’t exactly embrace the concept, either.”Don’t talk to use about that while I’m breast-feeding,” she says. “Ask me again in about a month.”

Sometime in November, Madonna and crew will return to London for several months. “I’m sure we’ll just be going back and forth a lot,” she says. “Guy really wants his son to have an English education, so we’ll see what happens. And I intend to slowly work New York into Guy’s repertoire. But it was hard enough getting him to come to L.A. So one thing at a time.”

Now’s she time to savor the joy. “Madonna has worked very hard for this life she has,” says Mazar. “At the same time, she knows it’s like a fairy tale.” Yes, and there’s even a Prince Charming. Only one chapter is missing, and Lourdes picked up on this just the other day. Aware that in many stories she’s been read the heroine meets the love of her life and gets married, Lourdes asked, “Mom, are you going to get married before I get married?”

Madonna recounts this tale just before going to Rocco for his 3 o’clock feeding. As she heads off to her son, she flashes a smile. “Cute, isn’t it?”

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