I could probably bring up a child as normal as I can live my life. I surround myself with people who don’t treat me like a celebrity or a freak or whatever, and I would do the same with my child.
A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.
A lot of people are just really confused by me; they don’t know what to think of me, so they try to compartmentalize me or diminish me. Maybe they just feel unsafe. But any time you have an overtly emotional or irrational, negative reaction to something, you’re fearing something that it’s bringing up in you.
A lot of places I go are dangerous, like Tel Aviv or Rio, but that never stops me from going there and putting on a show. I have good security. I don’t worry about that.
As an artist myself, I know what it’s like to put your heart and soul into something. You can feel the presence of another person.
Be strong, believe in freedom and in God, love yourself, understand your sexuality, have a sense of humor, masturbate, don’t judge people by their religion, color or sexual habits, love life and your family.
Because I’ve taken my clothes off in public doesn’t mean that I’ve revealed every inch of my soul.
Being blonde is definitely a different state of mind. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the artifice of being blonde has some incredible sort of sexual connotation. Men really respond to it. I love blonde hair but it really does something different to you. I feel more grounded when I have dark hair, and I feel more ethereal when I have light hair. It’s unexplainable. I also feel more Italian when my hair is dark.
Better to live one year as a tiger, than a hundred as a sheep.
But I love the idea – whether it’s in my work or where I live – exploring new frontier, and I like putting myself in strange places and trying to survive and figure things out and gather up an infrastructure. I like knowing that I could figure out a way to live anywhere.
Catholicism is not a soothing religion. It’s a painful religion. We’re all gluttons for punishment.
Children always understand. They have open minds. They have built-in shit detectors.
David Bowie has a huge influence on me because his was his first concert I went to see. I remember watching him and thinking I didn’t know what sex he was, and it didn’t matter. Because one minute he was wearing body stockings – the whole Ziggy Stardust thing – and the next minute he was the Thin White Duke in white double-breasted suits, and there’s something so androgynous about him. And I think androgyny, whether it’s David Bowie or Helmut Berger, that has really really influenced my work more than anything.
Effeminate men intrigue me more than anything in the world. I see them as my alter egos. I feel very drawn to them. I think like a guy, but I’m feminine. So I relate to feminine men.
Ever since my daughter was born I feel the fleetingness of time. And I don’t want to waste it on getting the perfect lip color.
Everybody in our family studied a musical instrument. My father was really big on that. Somehow I only took a year or two of piano lessons and I convinced my father to let me take dancing lessons.
Everybody loves you when they are about to cum.
Everyone probably thinks that I’m a raving nymphomaniac, that I have an insatiable sexual appetite, when the truth is I’d rather read a book.
Fame is a by-product. Fame is something that should happen because you do work that speaks to people and people want to know about your work. Unfortunately the personality of people has taken over from the work and the artistry and it’s this thing now that stands on its own. I don’t think one should ever aspire to being famous.
Family is everything. Family comes first. It’s not what I expected it to be, but nothing ever is.
Gay men are perfect men for girls who are tough. They’re not threatened by strong women, and they’re usually very in touch with their feelings and pay attention to details. I’ve always had an affinity with gay men.
I always felt like I was a freak when I was growing up and that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t fit in anywhere.
I always thought I should be treated like a star.
I always thought of losing my virginity as a career move.
I am a survivor. I am like a cockroach, you just can’t get rid of me.
I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.
I am rich and famous. I have a talented and gorgeous husband and two beautiful children. I could go on.
I am the result of the good choices I’ve made and the bad choices.
I became an overachiever to get approval from the world.
I could probably bring up a child as normal as I can live my life. I surround myself with people who don’t treat me like a celebrity or a freak or whatever, and I would do the same with my child.
I do get depressed but not about the press. I’d have to be on the tablets not to be depressed. It’s not so much that people are being anti-Madonna, but the fact that they are dwelling on something negative when they could be doing something positive with their lives.
I don’t care anymore if people dress like me, now I want them to think like me.
I don’t care if you have a small dick, as long as you know how to use that stick.
I don’t go to the sale rack. But I wouldn’t say I am decadent in my spending. I am careful.
I don’t like rooms you never use or that are wasted space but I also like a sparseness and a cleanness.
I don’t take drugs: I never did. All the feelings that drugs are supposed to produce in you – confidence or energy – I can produce naturally. The only problem is going to sleep. But I never take pills… I drink herbal teas.
I don’t trust any man who hasn’t kissed another man.
I feel just as hungry today as I did the day I left home.
I get strength from my art – all the paintings I own are powerful.
I go to Malawi twice a year. It’s where two of my children were adopted from, and I have a lot of projects there that I go and check up on and children who I look after. It’s sort of a commitment that I’ve made to this country and the hundreds of thousands of children there who have been orphaned by AIDS.
I grew up in a high school where it was very conservative, and I felt like people disapproved of me, and I felt like an outsider.
I guess some people are brilliant enough to be brilliant on their own and never doubt anything and come up with fabulous things. But I think it’s good to get into arguments with people and have them say, ‘That sucks’ or ‘You’re crazy’ or ‘That’s cheesy’or ‘What do you think of this?’
I hate being called a pop star. I hate that.
I hate polite conversation. I hate it when people stand around and go, ‘Hi, how are you?’ I hate words that don’t have any reason or meaning. Also I hate it when people smoke in elevators and closed in places. It’s just so rude.
I have had many challenges in my life, including some very big ones when I was young and I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. I have seen life from just about every angle you can see it from.
I have my work and my faith… If that’s boring to some people, I can’t tell you how much I don’t care.
I have the most perfect belly button. When I stick my fingers in it, I feel a nerve in the center of my body shoot up my spine.
I have the same goal I’ve had ever since I was a girl. I want to rule the world.
I just like the idea of pills. I like to collect them but not actually take them. When I fell off my horse, I got tons of stuff: Demerol and Vicodin and Xanax and Valium and Oxycontin, which is supposed to be like heroin. And I’m quite scared to take them. I’m a control freak.
I know the aspect of my personality, being the vixen, the heartbreaker and the incredibly provocative girl is a very marketable image – but it’s not insincere. You just can’t take it seriously.
I laugh at myself. I don’t take myself completely seriously. I think that’s another quality that people have to hold on to… you have to laugh, especially at yourself. I do it in most of the things I do, and most of the videos that I make and most of my performances. Even in my concerts there are so many moments when I just stood still and laughed at myself.
I like to change. A new lamp, a piece of art, can transform a room.
I liked my body growing up and I wasn’t ashamed of it. I liked boys and didn’t feel inhibited by them. Maybe it comes from having brothers and sharing a bathroom. The boys got the wrong impression of me at high school. They mistook forwardness for promiscuity. When they don’t get what they want, they turn on you. I went through this period when all the girls thought I was loose and the boys said I was a nymphomaniac. The first boy I ever slept with was my boyfriend and we’d been going out a long time.
I love horses. I think I may have been one of Henry VIII’s knights in another life, riding through a great forest.
I loved nuns when I was growing up. I thought they were beautiful. For several years I wanted to be a nun. I saw them as really pure, disciplined, above average people. They had these serene faces. Nuns are sexy
I miss New York. I still love how people talk to you on the street – just assault you and tell you what they think of your jacket.
I must have been Japanese in a previous life. I’m pretty sure I was a warrioress. I can’t explain it, I just know. I’m good at fighting – fighting with a big sword.
I never wish I had a different life. I am lucky to be in the position of power that I am in and to be intelligent.
I really saw myself as the quintessential Cinderella. I think that’s when I really thought about how I wanted to do something else and get away from all that.
I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.
I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams.
I suppose I sometimes used to act like I wasn’t a human being… Sometimes I look back at myself and remember things I used to say, or my hairstyle, and I cringe.
I think I have a dick in my brain. I don’t need to have one between my legs.
I think in the end, when you’re famous, people like to narrow you down to a few personality traits. I think I’ve just become this ambitious, say-whatever’s-on-her-mind, intimidating person. And that’s part of my personality, but it’s certainly not anywhere near the whole thing.
I think my biggest flaw is my insecurity. I’m terribly insecure. I’m plagued with insecurities 24/7.
I think passive beauties have their place in the world. It’s hard for me to relate to that.
I think that everyone should get married at least once, so you can see what a silly, outdated institution it is.
I think that life is a paradox and you have to embrace that in your work and your belief systems … you can’t be a literalist, and that’s the trouble that people always find themselves in. That’s why people always hit a wall with any of my stuff, because you can’t take it literally.
I think the biggest reason I was able to express myself and not be intimidated was by not having a mother. For example, mothers teach you manners. And I absolutely did not learn any of those rules and regulations.
I think the ultimate challenge is to have some kind of style and grace, even though you haven’t got money, or standing in society, or formal education. I had a very middle, lower-middle class sort of upbringing, but I identify with people who’ve had, at some point in their lives to struggle to survive. It adds another color to your character.
I think you can be defiant and rebellious and still be strong and positive.
I try to have thick skin, but every once in a while I read something that someone says about me, and it’s so slanderous and moralistic and it has nothing to do with my music.
I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon… but I want to stay alive.
I wanted to be a boy when I was growing up because I was in love with all of the male dancers I knew and they were all gay. And I thought, Well, if I was a boy, they’d love me. So I got into role-playing then. That’s where it began. I remember when I was still in high school, I had cut my hair off really short, and I was totally anorexic – I had no boobs – and I would dress like a boy and go to gay clubs and my goal was to trick men into thinking I was a boy.
I was more of a dancing kid than a singing kid. I mean, I sang in school choirs and I sang in school musicals, but I was much more interested in dancing than singing.
I was sacked from Dunkin’ Donuts for squirting the donuts jelly all over the customers.
I went to New York. I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star. I didn’t know anybody. I wanted to dance. I wanted to sing. I wanted to do all those things. I wanted to make people happy. I wanted to be famous. I wanted everybody to love me. I wanted to be a star. I worked really hard and my dream came true.
I won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God.
I would like to see the Pope wearing my T-shirt.
I wouldn’t have turned out the way I was if I didn’t have all those old-fashioned values to rebel against.
I wouldn’t live in Chicago cause it’s too conservative, aside for the fact that Oprah Winfrey lives there.
I’d like to be more involved in making the world a better place.
I’d like to think I am taking people on a journey; I am not just entertaining people, but giving them something to think about when they leave.
I’d love to be a memorable figure in the history of entertainment in some sexual, comic, tragic way. I’d like to leave the impression that Marilyn Monroe did, to be able to arouse so many different feelings in people.
If any of you have seen my shows, you know that I don’t skimp on them and the same is true for the gym. We spend what it takes to make a globally first-class gym.
If I was a girl again, I would like to be like my fans, I would like to be like Madonna.
If we can elect an African American as president, we can support gay marriage! Defeat prop 8! We will not give up!
I’m a very old-fashioned girl. Marriage is a great thing when it’s right. And I did celebrate it and embrace it, and I wanted the whole world to know that this was the man I loved more than anything. But there’s a price to pay for that, which is something I realize now. Ever since I was in high school, when I was madly in love with someone, I was so proud of that person. I wanted the world to know that I loved him. But once you reveal it to the world – and you’re in the public eye – you give it up, and it’s not your own anymore. I began to realize how important it is to hold on to privacy and keeping things to yourself as much as possible. It’s like a runaway train afterwards.
I’m ambitious. But if I weren’t as talented as I am ambitious, I would be a gross monstrosity.
I’m anal retentive. I’m a workaholic. I have insomnia. And I’m a control freak. That’s why I’m not married. Who could stand me?
I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.
I’m not going to compromise my artistic integrity. (Spoken in her documentary Truth or Dare.)
I’m not interested in being Wonder Woman in the delivery room. Give me drugs!
I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.
In everyday life I am quiet and reserved, not the housekeeper type but cool and relaxed. I don’t get up in the morning wearing false eyelashes and I don’t wear fancy underwear when I’m cooking popcorn. I’m a nice little ducky.
In this business, my business, I get to meet all kinds of incredible people, fascinating people, glamorous people and sexy people and highly intellectual people. And you meet them and you go ‘interesting, interesting, interesting’. They’re interesting, but not very many people stop you in your tracks.
It is difficult to believe in a religion that places such a high premium on chastity and virginity.
It takes a really big man to fill my shoes.
It’s not my nature to just kick back.
I’ve always wanted to be taller. I feel like a shrimp, but that’s the way it goes. I’m five-foot four-and-a-half-inches – that’s actually average. Everything about me is average. Everything’s normal, in the books. It’s the things inside me that make me not average.
I’ve never really lived a conventional life, so I think it’s quite foolish for me or anyone else to start thinking that I am going to start making conventional choices.
Listen, everyone is entitled to my opinion.
Lourdes really is the love of my life. I don’t want to traipse around with nannies and tutors. I think it’s important for children to stay in one place, to socialize with other children.
Maybe I’m just a gay man inside a woman’s body! (Talking to Michael Parkinson in November ’05 interview)
My father was very strong. I don’t agree with a lot of the ways he brought me up. I don’t agree with a lot of his values, but he did have a lot of integrity, and if he told us not to do something, he didn’t do it either.
My having a child is not for public consumption. It’s not a career move. It’s not a performance to be judged or rated. Nor is my role as a mother.
My priority is my family, absolutely, 100 percent.
My pussy has nine lives.
Never forget to dream.
Not only does society suffer from racism and sexism but it also suffers from ageism. Once you reach a certain age you’re not allowed to be adventurous, you’re not allowed to be sexual. I mean, is there a rule? Are you supposed to just die?
Obviously, my tastes and my priorities have changed, Just because I’m a mother doesn’t mean I’m not still a rebel and that I don’t want to go in the face of convention and challenge the system. I never wanted to think in a robotic way, and I don’t want my children to think that way, either. I think parents should be constantly questioning society.
On the one hand, the idea of marriage and the sort of traditional family life repulses me. But on the other hand, I long for it, you know what I mean? I’m constantly in conflict with things. And it is because of my past and my upbringing and the journey that I’ve been on.
Part of the reason I sort of shot out like a cannon out of Michigan and left home at such an early age is because I had to feel independent.
People hear the soul, black influence in my voice. I grew up listening to CKLW and all the black stations like WLBS.
People think they will wake up one day and I’ll be gone. But I’m never going away.
Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.
Prince Charles is very relaxed at the table, throwing his salad around willy-nilly. I didn’t find him stiff at all.
Prince reeks of lavender. It turned me on, actually.
Publicly humiliating someone for your own gain will only come and haunt you. God’s going to have his revenge.
Romance should be spontaneous, but in my career I’m totally in control.
Sometimes I look back at myself and remember things I used to say, or my hairstyle, and I cringe.
Sometimes you have to be a bitch to get things done.
Sometimes you want to go for a walk and you don’t want to be watched. You just want to be anonymous and blend in. Especially when I travel, I feel that way, because I can’t really go out and see a city the way other people can and I miss out on a lot.
Straight men need to be emasculated. I’m sorry. They all need to be slapped around. Women have been kept down for too long. Every straight guy should have a man’s tongue in his mouth at least once.
Strong women leave big hickies.
The cross is a very powerful symbol and it symbolizes suffering, but it also is connected to a person who was loving and sharing and his message was about unconditional love. I tried to take a powerful image and use it to draw attention to a situation that needs attention. For me, we all need to be Jesus in our time. Jesus’ message was to love your neighbor as yourself and these are people in need.
The fact of the matter is that you can use your beauty and use your charm and be flirtatious, and you can get people interested in your beauty. But you cannot maintain that. In the end, talent is the only thing. My work is the only thing that’s going to change any minds.
The last thing I want is to raise a brat. We could definately go down the wrong road. I don’t want Lola to have everything she wants. I want her to appreciate things, and not to be presumptuous. I want her to have manners and social graces.
The worst thing about being famous? I think it’s what everybody says… the lack of privacy and the idea that you’re not really allowed to make mistakes and everything that you do is viewed under a microscope.
Then there are guys who say ‘I have never fantasized about being with a man.’ They are lying. And the least offensive men I’ve been with in terms of their sexual politics and how they view me as a woman, have been men who have either slept with men, or at least kissed or held a man once. It opens up your thinking. You don’t think that women are less-than you are.
There are moments when I can’t believe I’m as old as I am. But I feel better physically than I did 10 years ago. I don’t think, Oh God, I’m missing something.
Things were a lot simpler in Detroit. I didn’t care about anything but boyfriends.
To be brave is to love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. To just give. That takes courage, because we don’t want to fall on our faces or leave ourselves open to hurt.
To me, the whole process of being a brush stroke in someone else’s painting is a little difficult.
What else is there for me to conquer? Hopefully my ego. How will I know when I’ve succeeded? When I stop caring what anyone thinks.
When I experienced what was going on first hand, I just got sucked into the whole thing. Thank God I did. I met some amazing people and, hopefully, I’ve changed the lives of a lot of children. Just as important, I think it’s been an incredible growing and learning experience for me.
When I first came to New York I was a dancer, and a French record label offered me a recording contract and I had to go to Paris to do it. So I went there and that’s how I really got into the music business. But I didn’t like what I was doing when I got there, so I left, and I never did a record there.
When I get down on my knees, it is not to pray.
When I got my first paycheck, $5000 or something. I bought a Leger and I bought a Frida Kahlo self-portrait, but I don’t know which came first. But I remember buying it and I had just gotten married and it looked completely out of place in my house in Malibu.
When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it.
When in doubt act like god.
With the crucifixes I was exorcising the extremes that my upbringing dwelt on. Putting them up on the wall and throwing darts at them. And the ‘Boy Toy’ thing was a joke, a tag name given to me when I first arrived in New York because I flirted with the boys. All the graffiti artists wore their nicknames on their belt buckles.
You have to be patient. I’m not.