Madonna turns 60 after groundbreaking career of controversies
Madonna will celebrate her 60th birthday on Thursday, following a long career of reinvention and controversy.
The prolific provocateur continues to make a mark on music, fashion, film and pop culture but will celebrate her milestone birthday in a different role – as a supportive mother.
She recently moved to Portugal so her youngest son David, 12, who she adopted from Malawi, can attend a football academy.
It is likely she will celebrate the occasion there with her children, including twins Estere and Stella, who she also adopted from Malawi, and daughter Mercy James.
She is also mother to daughter Lourdes, with her ex Carlos Leon, and son Rocco John, whose father is her former husband Guy Ritchie.
She recently told Vogue Italia: “Any woman who is a soccer mum could say it kind of requires you to have no life in a way, because things change from week to week and games change from weekend to weekend.”
She has been anticipating her birthday on Instagram, where she has been posting photos counting down to the big day.
On Tuesday she wrote: “Today I am wearing C A K E on my head!! 2 More days…………….”
After bursting into the public consciousness with her first international top 10 hit Holiday in 1983, Madonna became one of the most influential women in the world and her music videos, and appearance in the film Desperately Seeking Susan, spawned many of the fashion trends of the 1980s.
Like A Virgin, released in 1984, was the first album by a woman to sell more than five million copies in the US. Its controversial title track and accompanying video spawned the kind of scandal Madonna would become famous for.
Conservative groups complained the song promoted pre-marital sex – which was also the criticism levied at her song Papa Don’t Preach – but her performance of the song at the MTV Music Video Awards, in which she wore a wedding dress and writhed suggestively on the floor, went down in MTV history.
It would not be the last time she left audiences aghast at her antics on an awards show stage.
In 1998 she returned to the VMAs stage to perform Ray Of Light with a Hindu-themed rendition complete with holy markings on her face, but angered the World Vaishnava Association, which objected to the explicit routine.
At the same ceremony in 2003, she caused scandal again when she kissed both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage.
By this time controversy was the cornerstone of Madonna’s brand.
Her Like A Prayer music video featured burning crosses and a black Jesus and it sparked outrage from religious groups, while the Justify My Love video, which was considered to be close to pornographic, was banned by most TV networks including MTV.
But her controversies also heralded change in popular culture. In 1990 she performed in a pink cone bra by Jean-Paul Gaultier and birthed a major fashion moment, introducing lingerie as outerwear.
Her Sex coffee table book, released in 1991, which was packed with erotic photos and full-frontal nudity, destigmatised the subject of sex in the public forum for many people of her generation.
Even her relationships have brought with them gossip and criticism.
In 1991 she took Michael Jackson as her date to the Oscars, and the two biggest stars in the world easily upstaged the Hollywood glitterati.
Her marriage to Sean Penn in 1985 was a regular fixture in the tabloids but lasted just four years.
He later admitted he had not been sober for much of their relationship.
In 2000 she married British director Ritchie and briefly adopted an English accent, which also sparked much merriment in the popular press.
Last year she told Harper’s Bazaar: “I refuse to live a conventional life. I’ve created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable.”