HARD to believe Madonna is 58, but that’s the milestone the Queen of Pop is celebrating today. She’s also entering the fourth decade of her phenomenal career, and off the back of her recent 82-show global tour, is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Millions of fans all over the world have been following Madonna’s every move for years — but here’s some details about the Material Girl that you probably don’t know.
9. MADONNA WAS A VERY GOOD GIRL
She’s made a name for herself as a rebel, but that certainly wasn’t her attitude at school. Turns out she was a straight-A student and cheerleader.
8. MADONNA STARTED OUT PLAYING DRUMS IN A BAND
Before she was an international solo act, she played drums in a band called The Breakfast Club.
7. MADONNA WAS PAID MILLIONS TO APPEAR IN A PEPSI AD THAT NEVER ACTUALLY AIRED
While the Pepsi vs. Coke was raging, the Hung Up singer was paid a whopping $5 million to appear in a series of Pepsi commercials. The two-minute TV ad was set to air in the late 1980s and feature her single Like A Prayer — but thanks to the controversial music video, it couldn’t actually be shown on TV.
6. MADONNA DATED TUPAC
It was only last year that she finally admitted that the longstanding rumour of her fling with Tupac Shakur was true. The pair apparently met for the first time in 1993 in LA, and dated for nearly two years. The rapper was shot dead in 1996.
5. MADONNA BASICALLY GREW UP WITHOUT A MUM
Her mother — also named Madonna — died from breast cancer when she was just five years old. The Holiday singer later opened up about the tragedy, revealing that months before her death, she began to notice changes in her mother’s behaviour and personality.
4. MADONNA AND MICHAEL JACKSON NEARLY TEAMED UP
Just imagine what might have been if these two pop legends had followed through on collaboration plans. Michael was originally working on his hit In The Closet with Madonna, but reportedly she was removed from the project over artistic differences (word is, her ideas were “too provocative”. Princess Stephanie of Monaco ended up being the female voice).
3. MADONNA ARRIVED IN NEW YORK WITH JUST $35 IN HER POCKET
She’s worth millions now, but she had some very humble beginnings. In 1978, after Madonna dropped out of college, she relocated to New York City with barely any money to her name. She managed to make ends meet while working as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts and with modern dance troupes. Madonna later described how terrified she’d been: “It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”
2. MADONNA SUFFERS FROM BRONTOPHOBIA
Hard to imagine this fearless woman is afraid of anything, but turns out Madonna actually suffers from brontophobia — meaning she’s terrified of thunder and storms that bring the booming sound.
1. MADONNA HAS AN ANIMAL NAMED AFTER HER
This is what happens when you get some scientists who are also Madonna superfans. In 2006, some keen researchers named a new species of tardigrade (aka water bear — a microscopic water-dwelling animal) after her, to honour her as a cultural icon. Hence, the world was given “Echiniscus madonnae”.