Madonna is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV.
Madonna is known for reinventing both her music and image, and for maintaining her autonomy within the recording industry. Music critics have acclaimed her musical productions, which have generated some controversy.
Find out more interesting facts about her, here!
1. Madonna Louise Ciccone was born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan.
2. Madonna was born to Catholic parents Silvio Anthony “Tony” Ciccone and Madonna Louise Fortin.
3. Her father’s parents were immigrants from Pacentro, Italy, while her mother was of French-Canadian ancestry.
4. Tony worked as an engineer designer for Chrysler and General Motors. Since Madonna had the same name as her mother, family members called her “Little Nonni”.
5. She has two elder brothers, Anthony (born 1956) and Martin (born 1957), and three younger siblings, Paula (born 1959), Christopher (born 1960), and Melanie (born 1962).
6. Upon being confirmed in the Catholic Church in 1966, she adopted Veronica as a confirmation name. She was raised in the Detroit suburbs of Pontiac and Avon Township (now Rochester Hills).
7. Months before her mother died of breast cancer, Madonna noticed changes in her behavior and personality, although she did not understand the reason.
8. Her mother was at a loss to explain her medical condition, and often began to cry when Madonna questioned her about it. Madonna later acknowledged that she had not grasped the concept of her mother dying.
9. Madonna turned to her paternal grandmother for solace. The Ciccone siblings resented housekeepers and invariably rebelled against anyone brought into their home ostensibly to take the place of their beloved mother.
10. Madonna later told Vanity Fair that she saw herself in her youth as a “lonely girl who was searching for something. I wasn’t rebellious in a certain way. I cared about being good at something. I didn’t shave my underarms and I didn’t wear make-up like normal girls do. But I studied and I got good grades…. I wanted to be somebody.”
11. Terrified that her father Tony could be taken from her as well, Madonna was often unable to sleep unless she was near him.
12. In 1966, Tony married the family’s housekeeper Joan Gustafson, they had two children, Jennifer (born 1967) and Mario (born 1968).
13. At this point, Madonna started to resent him for decades, and developed a rebellious attitude.
14. She attended St. Frederick’s and St. Andrew’s Catholic Elementary Schools, and West Middle School.
15. Madonna was known for her high grade point average, and achieved notoriety for her unconventional behavior.
16. She would perform cartwheels and handstands in the hallways between classes, dangle by her knees from the monkey bars during recess, and pull up her skirt during class—all so that the boys could see her underwear.
17. Madonna later attended Rochester Adams High School where she became a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad.
18. After graduating, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and attended the American Dance Festival over the summer.
19. She convinced her father to allow her to take ballet lessons and was persuaded by Christopher Flynn, her ballet teacher, to pursue a career in dance.
20. In 1978, she dropped out of college and relocated to New York City.
21. She had little money and worked as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts and with modern dance troupes, taking classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and eventually performing with Pear Lang Dance Theater.
22. She started to work as a backup dancer for other established artists.
23. Madonna claimed that during a late night she was returning from a rehearsal, when a pair of men held her at knifepoint and forced her to perform fellatio. Madonna later commented that “the episode was a taste of my weakness, it showed me that I still could not save myself in spite of all the strong-girl show. I could never forget it.”
24. While performing as a backup singer and dancer for the French disco artist Patrick Hernandez on his 1979 world tour, Madonna became romantically involved with musician Dan Gilroy and they lived in an abandoned synagogue in Corona, Queens.
25. Together, they formed her first rock band, the Breakfast Club, for which Madonna sang and played drums and guitar.
26. In 1980 or 1981 she left Breakfast Club and, with her former boyfriend Stephen Bray as drummer, formed the band Emmy.
27. The two began writing songs together, and Madonna later decided to market herself as a solo act.
28. Their music impressed DJ and record producer Mark Kamins who arranged a meeting between Madonna and Sire Records founder Seymour Stein.
29. She signed with Sire Records (an auxiliary label of Warner Bros. Records) in 1982 and released her eponymous debut album the following year.
30. She followed it with a series of commercially and critically successful albums, including the Grammy Award winners Ray of Light (1998) and Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005).
31. Throughout her career, Madonna has written and produced most of her songs, with many of them reaching number one on the record charts, including “Like a Virgin”, “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Like a Prayer”, “Vogue”, “Take a Bow”, “Frozen”, “Music”, “Hung Up”, and “4 Minutes”.
32. Madonna’s popularity was further enhanced by her film roles, including Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), and Evita (1996); the latter earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. However, most of her other films have been panned by critics.
33. Her other ventures include fashion design, writing children’s books, and filmmaking. She has been acclaimed as a businesswoman, particularly after she founded entertainment company Maverick (including the label Maverick Records).
34. In 2007 she signed an unprecedented US $120 million 360 deal with Live Nation, which led to a record deal with Interscope Records.
35. Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna is recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records.
36. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed her as the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second highest-certified female artist in the United States, with 64.5 million album units.
37. Madonna is the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time, earning US $1.31 billion from her concerts since 1990. Madonna became one of the five founding members of the UK Music Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.
38. She was ranked at number one on VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Women in Music and number two (behind only The Beatles) on Billboard’s list of Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time.
39. Madonna’s video in “Like a Prayer” attracted a bit of criticism from certain factions because people saw it in connection with religious beliefs. This outlook made Pespi-Cola cancel their sponsorship with her.
40. Madonna’s often-copied signature ’80s look was created by stylist and jewelry designer Maripol.
41. Madonna lost her virginity in the back of a Cadillac. It was revealed by her brother Christopher Ciccone in his book, Life With My Sister Madonna.
42. She is 5 feet, 44 inches (1.64 metres) tall.
43. Madonna started dating Sean Penn while working on the video for “Material Girl,” and they were married on her 27th birthday in 1985.
44. Madonna dedicated her album “True Blue” to then-husband Sean Penn who she called “the coolest guy in the universe”.
45. In 1992 Madonna and rapper Vanilla Ice enjoyed an eight month relationship, during which time she reportedly would phone him in the middle of the night and demand to know if he was with another woman.
46. She also dated Tupac, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Antonio Banderas, Lenny Kravitz, Dennis Rodman, and the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
47. Believe it or not but Madonna does not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was selected in 1990 to have a star, but turned down the offer. Walk of Fame spokeswoman Ana Martinez-Holler states that in order to receive a star, Madonna would have to be “resubmitted for a nomination,” adding, “Since she is not interested, I highly doubt she will give a nominator the permission to do so.”
48. Madonna said the “F” word 13 times on Late Night With David Letterman back in 1994. The episode became the most censored in American network television talk-show history, as well as some of Letterman’s highest ratings in his late-night career.
49. The color she hates the most is orange.
50. On October 14, 1996, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, her daughter with fitness trainer Leon Carlos.
51. Her favorite Britney Spears’ songs is “….Baby One More Time.”
52. Madonna has been a vegetarian since she was 15.
53. Madonna is not only a pretty face, but she has an IQ of 140.
54. She bought mansion in the Hollywood Hills originally built for Rudolph Valentino.
55. Madonna and Céline Dion share the same French-Canadian heritage through a common ancestor named Zacharie Cloutier. Also related to Camilla Parker-Bowles and Ellen DeGeneres.
56. She met director Guy Ritchie, who would become her second husband, in November 1998 and gave birth to their son Rocco John Ritchie on August 11, 2000 in Los Angeles.
57. Rocco and Madonna suffered complications from the birth due to her experiencing placenta praevia. He was christened at Dornoch Cathedral in Dornoch, Scotland, on December 21, 2000.
58. Madonna married Ritchie the following day at nearby Skibo Castle.
59. Madonna filed for divorce from Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences, which was finalized in December 2008.