“Before I had a child, I would have considered it more,” Madonna says. “But now that I have a child and am a single parent, I know how difficult it is. I want to have another child, but now my whole attitude is, 1 want to really be sure I could envision myself being with this person for a very long time and raising this child together.” Here she alludes to her former boyfriend Carlos Leon, with whom she conceived Lourdes in 1996. “I was in love with the father of my daughter the whole time, but I wasn’t really thinking, you know? I was thinking in a passionate way: Oh, well, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be all right. And I am all right. But, you know, it’s hard work, and I don’t have any fantasies about it now.”
The conversation turns, as it inevitably must, to sexuality-Everett’s, in particular, and that represents something of a watershed: a celebrity whose sexuality inspires more conversation than Madonna’s. “Talking about being gay suddenly, at age 40, feels very strange,”‘ he says. “It’s not anything you normally talk about. You don’t go to dinner parties and have people ask you, ‘How does it feel to be a gay man?'” He laughs. “It’s difficult to make it sound interesting and not boring, because there’s nothing very interesting about being a gay man.”
Despite his own moral victory, he’s not the type to urge other gay actors to come out. Neither he nor Madonna takes kindly to a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, in which writer Andrew Sullivan pressured certain public figures, such as former New York City mayor Ed Koch, Ricky Martin, and Rosie O’Donnell, to define their sexuality. “I hate that type of person,” Everett says, referring to outers of all stripes.
“I don’t think you should be defined by your sexual preference,”‘ Madonna says.
“I can’t stand those hideous people, trying to call people out.”
“That’s really fascist behavior. Horrible.” “Right.”
Madonna puts down her fork. “Ed Koch is gay?” she asks.
The new millennium finds Hollywood’s favorite noncouple in constant motion. Madonna is working on the film’s soundtrack and enjoying the company of her current love interest, Guy Ritchie, the 31-year-old Englishman who directed 1998’s hyper-stylized cult hit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. “I’m an Anglophile,” she explains with so-shoot-me candor. “Who knew? I’m from the Midwest. It’s the weirdest thing. It crept up on me.” And then there’s the full-time job of raising three-year-old Lourdes, whom Madonna is slowly acclimating to the paparazzi universe. Madonna, who learned how to handle the media vulgarians “when my ex-husband kept beating up on them,” is refreshingly candid when asked how she is preparing Lourdes for the life of a superstar’s daughter. “Fortunately,” Madonna says, “most people I know are celebrities, so she just thinks everyone in the universe is famous.”
Everett, who admits to severe pre-moviepremiere jitters, will star in P. J. Hogan’s forthcoming comedy, Unconditional Love-in which Everett helps Kathy Bates find the murderer of a slain pop idol. In the meantime, Everett and Madonna banter.
“He gets on my nerves all the time,” Madonna says gamely, eyeing Everett. “He did during the movie.”
“She’s very, very-if you have to fight with her, good luck to you.”
“Rupert, you know what? Don’t try to paint that kind of picture. You have just as strong a personality as I.”
“Almost. Not quite.” She gives Everett a look.
“The thing about Rupert and me is that I get mad really quickly, but I don’t stay mad. There’s no way. I can’t bear to-it’s too boring. I don’t want to stay mad at him.”
“How could you?”
“He gets in a snit every once in a while,” Madonna says a bit later. She mayor may not be referring to the time years ago when Everett, appearing in The Vortex on the London stage, responded to a theatergoer’s nasty letter by mailing her a pubic hair. (“The letter arrived on a matinee day,” says Everett, relishing the memory. “Matinee day in the theater-you can’t imagine how depressing it is, because it’s when you do two shows. And the matinee’s full of old people. It’s very exhausting, and so I was in a bit of a mood.”)
“Yes,” Everett says, nodding. “I do snit.
Just because, you know-” “Because he’s Rupert.”
“And because she’s unable to process the word ‘no.’ She’s never learned it.”
Madonna, nearly vibrating with one-upmanship, is asked if she disagrees with Everett’s assessment. “Of course I do,” she says, and, as always, that’s that.
© Vanity Fair