Madonna was born on 16 August 1958 in Michigan. Her full name was Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.
Madonna married Guy Ritchie, having divorced Sean Penn.
However, in October 2008 Madonna and Guy Ritchie announced that were getting divorced.
She has a huge IQ and reportedly enjoys chess.
Madonna won a dance scholarship to Michigan University, but dropped out and went to New York. Madonna struggled for a while in various dance troupes and bands, and was briefly a backing vocalist/dancer to French disco star Patrick Hernandez.
Madonna's debut album, titled Madonna, was released in 1983, and although it sold 3 million copies it was with her next album, Like a Virgin that she made most impact.
Her music continued to be a critical and commercial success and in the past 20 years, Madonna has sold more than 250m records. Some people argue that Madonna lulled in the early part of the 2000s but there was no disputing that 2005 was a good year for Madonna (barring a horse-riding accident).
Her Live 8 performance was highly regarded as was her album, Confessions on a Dancefloor, produced by Stuart Price, which contained the Number 1 single 'Hung Up'.
Madonna has been a hugely successful singer, but she is a woman of many talents. Her photo-book, Sex was a great commercial success although panned by many critics. Madonna has also appeared in a variety of films including Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), In Bed with Madonna (1991) and Evita (1996).
Up until recently Madonna ran the record company Maverick, which (after a dispute) she sold to Warner Music.
Madonna has recently written several children's stories.
Pundits have frequently referred to her successful branding and dubbed her a chameleon. Some compliment her for this, and others criticise her.
Madonna has two children: Lourdes, fathered by personal trainer Carlos Leon, and Rocco with Guy Ritchie.
Madonna can nowadays also be referred to as Esther.
As Madonna puts it: "I don't go by the name of Esther, but yes, that is my Hebrew name. I chose it." In an interview with ABC's 20/20 Madonna said:
"I was named after my mother. My mother died when she was very young. I wanted to attach myself to another name. So I read about all the women in the old testament and I love the story of Queen Esther."
Madonna came 8th in the Forbes list of the most powerful celebrities 2005.
In February 2008, Filth and Wisdom, which was the first film directed by Madonna, was released.
Meanwhile Madonna's music continued to prove popular. In May 2008, Madonna had her tenth number one album in the UK with Hard Candy.
In September 2011, the Madonna directed film W.E, about Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
In April 2012, Madonna's album MDNA entered the UK charts at number one, making her the most successful solo artist in UK album chart history with 12 number ones.
In 2019, she was scheduled to release her 14th album, Madame X, on 14 June.
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