Life and career
1958–1981: Early life and career beginnings
Madonna's stepmother and father, Joan and Tony Ciccone (2009)
Madonna was born to Catholic parents Silvio Anthony "Tony" Ciccone and Madonna Louise Fortin
Bay City, Michigan, on August 16, 1958.
 Her father's parents were immigrants from
Pacentro, Italy, while her mother was of French-Canadian ancestry.
 Tony worked as an engineer designer for
General Motors. Since Madonna had the same name as her mother, family members called her "Little Nonni". She has two elder brothers, Anthony and Martin, and three younger siblings, Paula, Christopher, and Melanie.
confirmed in the
Catholic Church in 1966, she adopted
Veronica as a
 She was raised in the Detroit suburbs of
Pontiac and Avon Township (now
Rochester Hills). Months before her mother died of
breast cancer at age 30 on December 1, 1963, Madonna noticed changes in her behavior and personality, although she did not understand the reason.
 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.
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. 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." Terrified that her father Tony could be taken from her as well, Madonna was often unable to sleep unless she was near him.
In 1966, Tony married the family's housekeeper Joan Gustafson. They had two children, Jennifer and Mario.
 Madonna resented her father for getting remarried, and began rebelling against him. They would have a strained relationship for many years afterward.
 She attended St. Frederick's and St. Andrew's Catholic Elementary Schools, and West Middle School. Madonna was known for her high
grade point average, and achieved notoriety for her unconventional behavior. 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.
Madonna later attended
Rochester Adams High School where she became a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad.
 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.
 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.
In 1978, she dropped out of college and relocated to New York City.
 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.
 Madonna said of her move to New York, "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."
 She started to work as a backup dancer for other established artists. 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."
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
 Together, they formed her first rock band, the
 for which Madonna sang and played drums and guitar. In 1980
 or 1981
 she left Breakfast Club and, with her former boyfriend
Stephen Bray as drummer, formed the band Emmy. The two began writing songs together, but Madonna later decided to market herself as a solo act.
 Her music impressed DJ and record producer
Mark Kamins who arranged a meeting between Madonna and
Sire Records founder
1982–1985: Career breakthrough and first marriage
After Madonna signed a
singles deal with Sire, her debut single, "
Everybody", was released in October 1982, and the second, "
Burning Up", in March 1983. Both became big club hits in the United States, reaching number three on
Hot Dance Club Songs chart compiled by
 After this success, she started developing her
eponymous debut album,
Madonna, which was primarily produced by
Reggie Lucas of Warner Bros. However, she was not happy with the completed tracks and disagreed with Lucas' production techniques, so decided to seek additional help.
Madonna moved in with boyfriend
John "Jellybean" Benitez, asking his help for finishing the album's production.
 Benitez remixed most of the tracks and produced "
Holiday", which was her third single and her first international top-ten hit. The overall sound of Madonna was dissonant and in the form of upbeat synthetic disco, using some of the new technology of the time, like the
Linn drum machine,
Moog bass and the
 The album was released in July 1983 and peaked at number eight on the
Billboard 200 six months later, in 1984. It yielded two top-ten singles on the
Billboard Hot 100, "
Borderline" and "
Madonna with her personnel on
The Virgin Tour
, which promoted Like a Virgin
and her debut album, Madonna
Madonna's look and style of dressing, her performances, and her music videos influenced young girls and women. Her style became one of the female
fashion trends of the 1980s. Created by stylist and jewelry designer
Maripol, the look consisted of lace tops, skirts over
fishnet stockings, jewelry bearing the
crucifix, bracelets, and bleached hair.
 Madonna's popularity continued to rise globally with the release of her second studio album,
Like a Virgin, in November 1984. It became her first number-one album in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the US.
 Like a Virgin was certified
diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and sold more than 21 million copies worldwide.
title track served as its first single, and topped the Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks.
 It attracted the attention of conservative organizations who complained that the song and its accompanying video promoted premarital sex and undermined family values,
 and moralists sought to have the song and video banned.
 Madonna received a huge media coverage for her performance of "Like a Virgin" at the first
1984 MTV Video Music Awards. Wearing a wedding dress and white gloves, Madonna appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake and then rolled around suggestively on the floor. MTV retrospectively considered it one of the "most iconic" pop performances of all time.
 The second single, "
Material Girl", reached number two on the Hot 100 and was promoted by a music video recreating
Marilyn Monroe's performance of "
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the 1953 film
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. While filming this video, Madonna started dating actor
Sean Penn. They married on her birthday in 1985.
—Madonna on the backlash for "Like a Virgin"
"I was surprised by how people reacted to 'Like a Virgin' because when I did that song, to me, I was singing about how something made me feel a certain way—brand-new and fresh—and everyone interpreted it as 'I don't want to be a virgin anymore. Fuck my brains out!' That's not what I sang at all. 'Like a Virgin' was always absolutely ambiguous."
Madonna entered mainstream films in February 1985, beginning with a brief appearance as a club singer in
Vision Quest, a romantic drama film. Its soundtrack contained two new singles, her U.S.
number-one single, "
Crazy for You" and "
 She also played the title role in the 1985 comedy
Desperately Seeking Susan, a film which introduced the song "
Into the Groove", her first number-one single in the UK.
 Although Madonna was not the lead actress for the film, her profile was such that the movie widely became considered (and marketed) as a Madonna vehicle.
 The New York Times film critic
Vincent Canby named it one of the ten best films of 1985.
Beginning in April 1985, Madonna embarked on her first concert tour in North America,
The Virgin Tour, with the
Beastie Boys as her opening act. She progressed from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing large sporting arenas. The tour saw the peak of
Madonna wannabe phenomenon, with lots of female attendance dressing like the singer.
 At that time, she released two more hits, "
Angel" and "
Dress You Up", making all four singles from the album peak inside the top five on the Hot 100 chart.
 In July,
Playboy magazines published a number of nude photos of Madonna, taken in New York in 1978. She had posed for the photographs as she needed money at the time, and was paid as little as $25 a session.
 The publication of the photos caused a media uproar, but Madonna remained "unapologetic and defiant".
 The photographs were ultimately sold for up to $100,000.
 She referred to these events at the 1985 outdoor
Live Aid charity concert, saying that she would not take her jacket off because "[the media] might hold it against me ten years from now."
1986–1991: True Blue, Who's That Girl, and Like a Prayer
In June 1986, Madonna released her third studio album,
True Blue, which was inspired by and dedicated to Sean Penn.
Rolling Stone magazine was generally impressed with the effort, writing that the album "sound[s] as if it comes from the heart".
 It resulted in three singles making it to number-one on the Billboard Hot 100: "
Live to Tell", "
Papa Don't Preach" and "
Open Your Heart", and two more top-five singles: "
True Blue" and "
La Isla Bonita".
 The album topped the charts in over 28 countries worldwide, an unprecedented achievement at the time, and became her best-selling studio album of her career with sales of 25 million.
 In the same year, Madonna starred in the critically panned film
Shanghai Surprise, for which she received her first
Golden Raspberry Award for
 She made her theatrical debut in a production of
David Rabe's Goose and Tom-Tom; the film and play both co-starred Penn.
 The next year, Madonna was featured in the film
Who's That Girl. She contributed four songs to its soundtrack, including the
title track and "
Causing a Commotion".
Madonna embarked on the
Who's That Girl World Tour in July 1987, which continued until September.
 It broke several attendance records, including over 130,000 audience in a concert near Paris, which remains her biggest concert attendance ever.
 Later that year, she released a remix album of past hits, titled
You Can Dance, which reached number 14 on the Billboard 200.
 After an annulment in December 1987, Madonna filed for divorce from Penn in January 1989, citing irreconcilable differences.
—Madonna talking about the inspiration behind Like a Prayer.
"In Like a Prayer I've been dealing with more specific issues that mean a lot to me. They're about an assimilation of experiences I've had in my life and in relationships. They're about my mother, my father and my bonds with my family about the pain of dying, or growing up and letting go. [The album] was a real coming-of-age record for me emotionally..... I had to do a lot of soul-searching and I think it is a reflection of that."
In January 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with soft-drink manufacturer,
Pepsi. In one of her Pepsi commercials, she debuted her song "
Like a Prayer". The corresponding music video featured many
Catholic symbols such as
cross burning, and a dream of making love to a saint, leading the
Vatican to condemn the video. Religious groups sought to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Pepsi revoked the commercial and canceled her sponsorship contract.
 The song was included on Madonna's fourth studio album,
Like a Prayer, which was co-written and co-produced by
Patrick Leonard and
 Madonna received positive feedback for the album, with Rolling Stone writing that it was "as close to art as pop music gets".
 Like a Prayer peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and sold 15 million copies worldwide, with 4 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.
 Six singles were released from the album, including "Like a Prayer", which reached number one, and "
Express Yourself" and "
Cherish", both peaking at number two.
 By the end of the 1980s, Madonna was named as the "Artist of the Decade" by MTV, Billboard and
Madonna starred as
Breathless Mahoney in the film
Dick Tracy (1990), with
Warren Beatty playing the title role.
 Her performance led to a
Saturn Award nomination for
 To accompany the film, she released the soundtrack album,
I'm Breathless, which included songs inspired by the film's 1930s setting. It also featured the U.S. number-one song "
 and "
Sooner or Later", which earned songwriter
Stephen Sondheim an
Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991.
 While shooting the film, Madonna began a relationship with Beatty, which dissolved by the end of 1990.
 In April 1990, Madonna began her
Blond Ambition World Tour, which was held until August.
 Rolling Stone called it an "elaborately choreographed, sexually provocative extravaganza" and proclaimed it "the best tour of 1990".
 The tour generated strong negative reaction from religious groups for her performance of "Like a Virgin", during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation.
 In response, Madonna said, "The tour in no way hurts anybody's sentiments. It's for open minds and gets them to see sexuality in a different way. Their own and others".
The Laserdisc release of the tour won Madonna a
Grammy Award in 1992 for
Best Long Form Music Video.
The Immaculate Collection, Madonna's first greatest-hits
compilation album, was released in November 1990. It included two new songs, "
Justify My Love" and "
 The album was certified diamond by RIAA and sold over 30 million copies worldwide, becoming the
best-selling compilation album by a solo artist in history.
 "Justify My Love" reached number one in the U.S. and the top ten worldwide.
 Its music video featured scenes of
bondage, same-sex kissing, and brief nudity.
 The video was deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network.
 Madonna responded to the banning: "Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?"
In December 1990 Madonna decided to leave
Jennifer Lynch's film,
Boxing Helena, which she had previously agreed to star in, without any explanation to the producers.
 Around this time, Madonna had an eight-month relationship with rapper
Vanilla Ice; he ended their relationship because of Madonna's
 Her first documentary film
Truth or Dare (known as In Bed with Madonna outside North America)
 was released in May 1991. Chronicled her Blond Ambition World Tour, it became the highest-grossing documentary of all time (surpassed eleven years later by
Bowling for Columbine).
1992–1997: Maverick, Erotica, Sex, Bedtime Stories, Evita, motherhood
In 1992, Madonna starred in
A League of Their Own as Mae Mordabito, a baseball player on an all-women's team. It reached
number one on the box-office and became the tenth highest-grossing film of the year in the U.S.
 She recorded the film's theme song, "
This Used to Be My Playground", which became her tenth Hot 100 number-one hit, the most by any female artist at the time.
 The same year, she founded her own entertainment company,
Maverick, consisting of a record company (Maverick Records), a film production company (Maverick Films), and associated music publishing, television broadcasting, book publishing and merchandising divisions. The deal was a joint venture with
Time Warner and paid Madonna an advance of $60 million. It gave her 20% royalties from the music proceedings, the highest rate in the industry at the time, equaled only by
Michael Jackson's royalty rate established a year earlier with
 The first release from the venture was Madonna's book, titled
Sex. It consisted of sexually provocative and explicit images, photographed by
Steven Meisel. The book received strong negative reaction from the media and the general public, but sold 1.5 million copies at $50 each in a matter of days.
 The backlash overshadowed Madonna's fifth studio album,
Erotica, which was released at the same time.
 Despite positive reviews, it became her first studio album since her debut album not to score any chart-topper in the U.S. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number two and yielded the Hot 100 top-ten hits "
Erotica" and "
Deeper and Deeper".
Madonna continued her provocative imagery in the 1993
Body of Evidence, a film which contained scenes of
bondage. It was poorly received by critics.
 She also starred in the film
Dangerous Game, which was released straight to video in North America. The New York Times described the film as "angry and painful, and the pain feels real."
 In September 1993, Madonna embarked on
The Girlie Show World Tour, in which she dressed as a whip-cracking
dominatrix surrounded by topless dancers. In
Puerto Rico she rubbed the island's flag between her legs on stage, resulting in outrage among the audience.
 In March 1994,
she appeared as a guest on the
Late Show with David Letterman, using profanity that required censorship on television, and handing Letterman a pair of her panties and asking him to smell it.
 The releases of her sexually explicit book, album and film, and the aggressive appearance on Letterman all made critics question Madonna as a sexual renegade. Critics and fans reacted negatively, who commented that "she had gone too far" and that her career was over.
J. Randy Taraborrelli described her ballad "
I'll Remember" (1994) as an attempt to tone down her provocative image. The song was recorded for
Alek Keshishian's film
 She made a subdued appearance with Letterman at an awards show and appeared on
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after realizing that she needed to change her musical direction in order to sustain her popularity.
 With her sixth studio album,
Bedtime Stories (1994), Madonna employed a softer image to try to improve the public perception.
 The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and generated two U.S. top-five hits, "
Secret" and "
Take a Bow", the latter topping the Hot 100 for seven weeks, the longest period of any Madonna single.
Something to Remember, a collection of ballads, was released in November 1995. The album featured three new songs: "
You'll See", "
One More Chance", and a cover of
Marvin Gaye's "
I Want You".
 Around this time Madonna started dating rapper
Tupac Shakur, but it ended in 1994. Next year, the rapper revealed in a letter to the singer that he ended the relationship because she was white.
 She later became romantically involved with fitness trainer Carlos Leon.
In the 1996 musical,
Evita, Madonna played the title role of
 For a long time, Madonna had desired to play Perón and wrote to director
Alan Parker to explain why she would be perfect for the part. She said later, "This is the role I was born to play. I put everything of me into this because it was much more than a role in a movie. It was exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. And I am prouder of Evita than anything else I have done."
 After securing the role, she had vocal training and learned about the history of Argentina and Perón. During shooting she became ill several times due to the intense emotional effort required.
 However, as she told
Oprah Winfrey, she was also pregnant during the filming: "I was winded after every take. I had to lie on the couch every ten minutes so I could recover from dizzy spells, I was worried that I was shaking the baby around too much and that would injure it in some way."
 Madonna wrote in her personal diary at the time: "Ironically, this feeling of vulnerability and weakness is helping me in the movie. I'm sure Evita felt this way every day of her life once she discovered she was ill."
After its release, Evita garnered critical appreciation. Zach Conner from
Time magazine commented, "It's a relief to say that Evita is pretty damn fine, well cast and handsomely visualized. Madonna once again confounds our expectations. She plays Evita with a poignant weariness and has more than just a bit of star quality. Love or hate Madonna-Eva, she is a magnet for all eyes."
Golden Globe Award for
Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for the role.
 She released three singles from the
Evita soundtrack album, including "
You Must Love Me" (which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997) and "
Don't Cry for Me Argentina".
 Madonna was later presented with the Artist Achievement Award by
Tony Bennett at the 1996
Billboard Music Awards.
 On October 14, 1996, Madonna gave birth to Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, her daughter with Leon.
 Biographer Mary Cross writes that although Madonna was often ill during the filming and worried that her pregnancy would harm the film, she reached some important personal goals: "Now 38 years old, Madonna had at last triumphed on screen and achieved her dream of having a child, both in the same year. She had reached another turning point in her career, reinventing herself and her image with the public."
 Her relationship with Carlos Leon ended in May 1997;
 she declared that they were "better off as best friends."
1998–2002: Ray of Light, Music, and second marriage
After Lourdes's birth, Madonna became involved in Eastern mysticism and
Kabbalah, introduced to her by actress
 Her seventh studio album,
Ray of Light, (1998) reflected this change in her perception and image.
 She collaborated with electronica producer
William Orbit and wanted to create a sound that could blend dance music with pop and British rock.
 American music critic
Ann Powers explained that what Madonna searched for with Orbit "was a kind of a lushness that she wanted for this record.
rave was happening in the 90s and had a lot of different forms. There was very experimental, more hard stuff like
Aphex Twin. There was party stuff like
Fatboy Slim. That's not what Madonna wanted for this. She wanted something more like a singer-songwriter, really. And William Orbit provided her with that."
The album garnered critical acclaim, with
Slant Magazine calling it "one of the great pop masterpieces of the '90s"
 Ray of Light was honored with four
Best Pop Album and
Best Dance Recording—and was nominated for both
Album of the Year and
Record of the Year.
 Rolling Stone listed it among "
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
 Commercially, the album peaked at number-one in numerous countries and sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.
 The album's first single, "
Frozen", became Madonna's first single to debut at number one in the UK, while in the U.S. it became her sixth number-two single, setting another record for Madonna as the artist with the most number two hits.
 The second single, "
Ray of Light", debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
 The 1998 edition of
Guinness Book of World Records documented that "no female artist has sold more records than Madonna around the world".
In 1999, Madonna signed on to play a violin teacher in the film
Music of the Heart but left the project, citing "creative differences" with director
 She recorded the single "
Beautiful Stranger" for the 1999 film
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which earned her a Grammy Award for
Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
 Madonna starred in the 2000 film
The Next Best Thing, and contributed two songs to the film's soundtrack; "Time Stood Still" and a cover of
Don McLean's 1971 song "
Madonna released her eighth studio album,
Music, in September 2000. It featured elements from the
electronica-inspired Ray of Light era, and like its predecessor, received acclaim from critics. Collaborating with French producer
Mirwais Ahmadzaï, Madonna commented: "I love to work with the weirdos that no one knows about—the people who have raw talent and who are making music unlike anyone else out there. Music is the future of sound."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from
AllMusic felt that "Music blows by in a kaleidoscopic rush of color, technique, style and substance. It has so many depth and layers that it's easily as self-aware and earnest as Ray of Light."
 The album took the number-one position in more than 20 countries worldwide and sold four million copies in the first ten days.
 In the U.S., Music debuted at the top, and became her first number-one album in eleven years since Like a Prayer.
 It produced three singles: the Hot 100 number-one "
Don't Tell Me", and "
What It Feels Like for a Girl".
 The music video of "What It Feels Like for a Girl" depicted Madonna committing acts of crime and vandalism, and was banned by MTV and
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. 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. Madonna married Ritchie the following day at nearby
 Her fifth concert tour, titled
Drowned World Tour, started in June 2001.
 The tour visited cities in the U.S. and Europe and was the highest-grossing concert tour of the year by a solo artist, earning $75 million from 47 sold-out shows.
 She also released her second greatest-hits collection, titled
GHV2, to coincide with the
home video release of the tour. GHV2 debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200.
Madonna starred in the film
Swept Away, directed by Ritchie. Released
direct-to-video in the UK, the film was a commercial and critical failure.
 In May 2002 she appeared in London in the West End play
Up For Grabs at the
Wyndhams Theatre (billed as 'Madonna Ritchie'), to universally bad reviews and was described as "the evening's biggest disappointment" by one.
 That October, she released "
Die Another Day", the title song of the
James Bond film
Die Another Day, in which she had a
cameo role, described by
The Guardian film reviewer as "incredibly wooden".
 The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for both a
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and a
Golden Raspberry for Worst Song.
2003–2006: American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor
Following Die Another Day, Madonna collaborated with fashion photographer
Steven Klein in 2003 for an exhibition installation named
X-STaTIC Pro=CeSS. It included photography from a photo shoot in
W magazine, and seven video segments. The installation ran from March to May in New York's
Deitch Projects gallery. It traveled the world in an edited form.
 The same year, Madonna released her ninth studio album,
American Life, which was based on her observations of American society; it received mixed reviews.
 She commented, "[American Life] was like a trip down memory lane, looking back at everything I've accomplished and all the things I once valued and all the things that were important to me."
 Larry Flick from
The Advocate felt that "American Life is an album that is among her most adventurous and lyrically intelligent" while condemning it as "a lazy, half-arsed effort to sound and take her seriously."
title song peaked at number 37 on the Hot 100.
 Its original music video was canceled as Madonna thought that the video, featuring violence and war imagery, would be deemed unpatriotic since America was then at
war with Iraq.
 With four million copies sold worldwide, American Life was the lowest-selling album of her career at that point.
Madonna gave another provocative performance later that year at the
2003 MTV Video Music Awards, while singing "
Christina Aguilera, and
Missy Elliott. Madonna sparked controversy for kissing Spears and Aguilera suggestively during the performance.
 In October 2003, Madonna provided guest vocals on Spears' single "
Me Against the Music".
 It was followed with the release of
Remixed & Revisited. The EP contained remixed versions of songs from American Life and included "Your Honesty", a previously unreleased track from the Bedtime Stories recording sessions.
 Madonna also signed a contract with
Callaway Arts & Entertainment to be the author of five children's books. The first of these books, titled
The English Roses, was published in September 2003. The story was about four English schoolgirls and their envy and jealousy of each other.
 Kate Kellway from
The Guardian commented, "[Madonna] is an actress playing at what she can never be—a
JK Rowling, an English rose."
 The book debuted at the top of
The New York Times Best Seller list and became the fastest-selling children's picture book of all time.
Madonna performing at the
benefit concert (2005)
The next year Madonna and Maverick sued
Warner Music Group and its former parent company
Time Warner, claiming that mismanagement of resources and poor bookkeeping had cost the company millions of dollars. In return, Warner filed a countersuit alleging that Maverick had lost tens of millions of dollars on its own.
 The dispute was resolved when the Maverick shares, owned by Madonna and Ronnie Dashev, were purchased by Warner. Madonna and Dashev's company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music, but Madonna was still signed to Warner under a separate recording contract.
In mid-2004 Madonna embarked on the
Re-Invention World Tour in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It became the highest-grossing tour of 2004, earning around $120 million and became the subject of her documentary
I'm Going to Tell You a Secret.
 In November 2004, she was inducted into the
UK Music Hall of Fame as one of its five founding members, along with
Bob Marley, and
 Rolling Stone ranked her at number 36 on its special issue of the
100 Greatest Artists of All Time, featuring an article about her written by Britney Spears.
 In January 2005, Madonna performed a cover version of the
John Lennon song "
 She also performed at the
Live 8 benefit concert in London in July 2005.
Her tenth studio album,
Confessions on a Dance Floor, was released in November 2005. Musically the album was structured like a club set composed by a DJ. It was acclaimed by critics, with Keith Caulfield from
Billboard commenting that the album was a "welcome return to form for the Queen of Pop."
 The album won a
Grammy Award for
Best Electronic/Dance Album.
 Confessions on a Dance Floor and its lead single, "
Hung Up", went on to reach number one in 40 and 41 countries respectively, earning a place in Guinness World Records.
 The song contained a sample of
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", only the second time that ABBA has allowed their work to be used. ABBA songwriter
Björn Ulvaeus remarked "It is a wonderful track—100 per cent solid pop music."
Sorry", the second single, became Madonna's twelfth number-one single in the UK.
Madonna embarked on the
Confessions Tour in May 2006, which had a global audience of 1.2 million and grossed over $193.7 million, becoming the highest-grossing tour to that date for a female artist.
 Madonna used religious symbols, such as the
Crown of Thorns, in the performance of "Live to Tell". It caused the
Russian Orthodox Church and the
Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia to urge all their members to boycott her concert.
 At the same time, the
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced officially that Madonna had sold over 200 million copies for her albums alone worldwide.
While on tour Madonna participated in the
Raising Malawi initiative by partially funding an orphanage in and traveling to that country. While there, she decided to adopt a boy named David Banda in October 2006.
 The adoption raised strong public reaction, because Malawian law requires would-be parents to reside in Malawi for one year before adopting, which Madonna did not do.
 She addressed this on
The Oprah Winfrey Show, saying that there were no written adoption laws in Malawi that regulated foreign adoption. She described how Banda had been suffering from
pneumonia after surviving
tuberculosis when she first met him.
 Banda's biological father, Yohane, commented, "These so-called human rights activists are harassing me every day, threatening me that I am not aware of what I am doing ... They want me to support their court case, a thing I cannot do for I know what I agreed with Madonna and her husband." The adoption was finalized in May 2008.
A clothing line titled
M by Madonna, in collaboration with Swedish clothing retailer
H&M, was launched internationally in 2006. The collection consisted of leather trench coats, sequined shift dresses, cream-colored calf-length pants, and matching cropped jackets. H&M said the collection reflected Madonna's "timeless, unique and always glamorous style."
2007–2010: Filmmaking, Hard Candy, and business ventures
Madonna released the song "
Hey You" for the
Live Earth series of concerts. The song was available as a free download during its first week of release. She also performed it at the
London Live Earth concert.
 Madonna announced her departure from Warner Bros. Records, and a new $120 million, ten-year
360 deal with
 She produced and wrote
I Am Because We Are, a documentary on the problems faced by Malawians. The documentary was directed by Nathan Rissman, who worked as Madonna's gardener.
 She also directed her first film
Filth and Wisdom. The plot of the film revolved around three friends and their aspirations. The Times said she had "done herself proud" while The Daily Telegraph described the film as "not an entirely unpromising first effort [but] Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job."
 On March 10, 2008, Madonna was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.
 Madonna did not sing at the ceremony but asked fellow Hall of Fame inductees and Michigan natives
The Stooges to perform her songs "Burning Up" and "Ray of Light". She thanked Christopher Flynn, her dance teacher from 35 years earlier, for his encouragement to follow her dreams.
Madonna released her eleventh studio album,
Hard Candy, in April 2008. Containing R&B and
urban pop influences, the songs on Hard Candy were autobiographical in nature and saw Madonna collaborating with
Pharrell Williams and
Nate "Danja" Hills.
 The album debuted at number one in 37 countries and on the Billboard 200.
 Caryn Ganz from Rolling Stone complimented it as an "impressive taste of her upcoming tour."
 It received generally positive reviews worldwide but was met with criticism.
 BBC correspondent Mark Savage panned it as "an attempt to harness the urban market."
— Madonna talking about the inspiration behind Hard Candy
"Probably in many respects most of the songs [on Hard Candy] are [autobiographical]. But in more of an unconscious way. I don't really think about telling personal stories when I'm writing music. It just comes. And then a lot of times, six months later, eight months later, I go, 'Oh, that's what I wrote that song about.' But that's when I play the song for lots of people and they all go, 'Oh, I can totally relate to that.'"
4 Minutes" was released as the album's lead single and peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Madonna's 37th top-ten hit on the chart—it pushed Madonna past
Elvis Presley as the artist with the most top-ten hits.
 In the UK she retained her record for the most number-one singles for a female artist; "4 Minutes" becoming her thirteenth.
 At the 23rd
Japan Gold Disc Awards, Madonna received her fifth Artist of the Year trophy from
Recording Industry Association of Japan, the most for any artist.
 To further promote the album, Madonna embarked on the
Sticky & Sweet Tour; her first major venture with Live Nation. With a total gross of $408 million, it ended up as the second highest-grossing tour of all time, behind
The Rolling Stones's
A Bigger Bang Tour.
 It remained the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist until
The Wall Live surpassed it in 2013.
Life with My Sister Madonna, a book by Madonna's brother Christopher, debuted at number two on The New York Times bestseller list.
 The book caused some friction between Madonna and her brother, because of the unsolicited publication.
 Madonna eventually filed for divorce from Ritchie, citing irreconcilable differences.
 On December 15, 2008, Madonna's spokeswoman announced that the singer had agreed to a divorce settlement with Ritchie, the terms of which grant him between £50 million and £60 million, a figure that includes the value of the couple's
London pub and residence and
Wiltshire estate in England.
 Madonna and Guy Ritchie's marriage was dissolved by District Judge Reid by
decree nisi at the clinical Principal Registry of the Family Division in High Holborn, London. Madonna and Ritchie entered into a compromise agreement for Rocco and David, then ages eight and three respectively, and divided the children's time between Ritchie's London home and Madonna's in New York, where the two will be joined by her daughter, Lourdes, from a previous relationship.
She decided to adopt from Malawi. The country's High Court initially approved the adoption of Chifundo "Mercy" James; however, the application was rejected because Madonna was not a resident of the country.
 Madonna appealed, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted Madonna the right to adopt Mercy James.
Madonna concluded her contract with Warner by releasing her third greatest-hits album,
Celebration, in September 2009. It contained the new songs "
Celebration" and "
Revolver" along with 34 hits spanning her career with the label.
 Celebration reached number one in several countries, including Canada, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
 She appeared at the
2009 MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009, to speak in tribute to deceased pop star
 Madonna ended the 2000s as the best-selling single artist of the decade in the U.S. and the most-played artist of the decade in the UK.
 Billboard also announced her as the third top-touring artist of the decade—behind only
The Rolling Stones and
U2—with a gross of over $801 million, 6.3 million attendance and 244 sell-outs of 248 shows.
Madonna performed at the
Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief concert in January 2010.
 Her third live album,
Sticky & Sweet Tour, was released in April, debuting at number ten on the Billboard 200.
 It also became her 20th top-ten album on the
Oricon Albums Chart, breaking
The Beatles' record for the most top-ten album by an international act in Japan.
 Madonna granted American television show
Glee the rights to her entire catalogue of music, and the producers planned an episode featuring Madonna songs exclusively.
Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, an EP containing eight cover versions of Madonna songs featured in the episode, was released afterward and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
 Madonna released the
Material Girl clothing line, which she designed with her daughter, Lourdes.
 The 1980s inspired clothing line, borrowed from Madonna's punk-girl style when she rose to fame in the 1980s, was released under the
Macy's label. In October, Madonna opened a series of
fitness centers around the world named
Hard Candy Fitness.
 Madonna and MG Icon also released the second fashion brand called
Truth or Dare by Madonna to include footwear, underclothing, and accessories.
2011–2013: W.E., Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, and MDNA
Madonna directed her second feature film,
biographical film about the affair between
King Edward VIII and
Wallis Simpson. Co-written with
Alek Keshishian, the film was premiered at the
68th Venice International Film Festival in September 2011.
 Critical and commercial response to the film was negative.
 Madonna contributed the ballad "
Masterpiece" for the film's soundtrack, which won her a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
 In February 2012, Madonna performed at
Super Bowl XLVI halftime show,
 visualized by
Cirque Du Soleil and
Jamie King and featured special guests
Cee Lo Green. It became the then most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in history with 114 million viewers, higher than the game itself.
 Following her
360 deal with Live Nation, Madonna signed a three-album deal with
Interscope Records, since Live Nation was not a record company.
Her twelfth studio album,
MDNA, was released in March 2012 and saw collaboration with various producers, including William Orbit and
 The album was well received by music critics,
 with Priya Elan from
NME calling it "a ridiculously enjoyable romp", citing its "psychotic, soul-bearing stuff" as "some of the most visceral stuff she's ever done."
 MDNA became Madonna's fifth consecutive studio album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.
 She also became the solo artist with the most number-one albums in the UK and Australia, breaking the record previously held by
Elvis Presley in the UK and
Jimmy Barnes in Australia.
 The lead single "
Give Me All Your Luvin'", featuring guest vocals from Minaj and M.I.A., became Madonna's record-extending 38th top-ten entry on the Billboard Hot 100.
The MDNA Tour, which further promoted the album, began in May 2012 in
Tel Aviv, Israel.
 The tour has received positive critical reception,
 but featured
controversial subjects such as violence, firearms, human rights, nudity and politics. Lawsuits threatened against Madonna have also been engaged from the tour. It was a box office success with a gross of $305.2 million from 88 sold-out shows, and became the highest-grossing tour of 2012 and the tenth highest-grossing tour of all time.
 At the
2013 Billboard Music Awards, Madonna won three trophies for Top Touring Artist, Top Dance Artist and Top Dance Album.
 Madonna was named the top-earning celebrity of the year by
Forbes, earning an estimated $125 million, due to the success of the tour.
 Madonna's fourth live album,
MDNA World Tour, was released in September 2013. It debuted at number one on the U.S.
Top Music Videos chart, becoming her tenth release to top the chart—the most for any artist.
By 2013, Madonna's
Raising Malawi organization built ten schools to educate 4,000 children in Malawi at a value of $400,000.
 When Madonna visited the schools in April 2013,
President of Malawi
Joyce Banda expressed criticism of the star and her charity, accusing her of exaggerating her charity's contribution.
 Madonna responded by releasing a statement saying she was saddened that Banda had chosen to act negatively about her endeavors. "I have no intention of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations," she added. Later, it was confirmed that Banda had not approved the statement released written by her press team and was "incandescent with anger" over the mix-up.
Working with photographer Steven Klein, Madonna completed a 17-minute film called
BitTorrent company was selected by Madonna to release the film as part of a Madonna bundle. It was released on September 24, 2013, and consisted of the 17-minute film, its stills, a
Vice interview, and a message from Madonna.
 With the film she launched the Art for Freedom initiative, which helped to promote "art and free speech as a means to address persecution and injustice across the globe". The website for the project has had over 3,000 art related submissions since its inception, with Madonna regularly monitoring and enlisting other artists like
David Blaine and
Katy Perry as guest curators.
2014–present: Rebel Heart
Following the Art for Freedom initiative, Madonna began work on her thirteenth studio album, collaborating with
Kanye West, among others.
 In December 2014, thirteen
demos recorded for the album leaked onto the Internet. She posted in response that half of the tracks would not be used on the final release, while the other half had "changed and evolved".
Rebel Heart, the album was released in March 2015.
 Introspection was also listed as one of the foundational themes prevalent on the record, along with "genuine statements of personal and careerist reflection".
 Madonna explained to
Jon Pareles of
The New York Times that although she has never looked back at her past endeavors, reminiscing about it felt right for Rebel Heart.
 Music critics responded positively towards the album, calling it her best effort in a decade.
 Rebel Heart became Madonna's first album to miss the top position of the Billboard 200 since 1998, but it reached number one in other major music markets, including Australia, Canada, Germany and Italy.
From September 2015, she embarked on the
Rebel Heart Tour to promote the album; the tour ended in March 2016. It traveled throughout North America, Europe and Asia and was the singer's first visit to Australia in 23 years, where she also performed a
one-off show for her fans.
 The tour grossed a total of $169.8 million from the 82 shows, with over 1.045 million ticket sales.
 While on tour, Madonna became embroiled in a legal battle with Ritchie, over the custody of their son Rocco. The dispute started when Rocco decided to continue living in England with Ritchie when the Rebel Heart Tour had visited there, while Madonna wanted him to return with her. Court hearings took place in both New York and London, and after multiple deliberations, Madonna decided to withdraw her application for custody, and appealed for a mutual discussion about Rocco, between herself and Ritchie.
Madonna visited her hometown of Detroit during May 2014 and contributed funds to three of the city's organizations, to help
eliminate poverty from there. The singer released a statement saying that she was inspired by their work, adding that "it was obvious to me that I had to get involved and be part of the solution to help Detroit recover".
 Continuing to extend her business ventures, the singer premiered MDNA Skin in 2014, a range of skin care products in Tokyo, Japan.
 In October 2016, Billboard named Madonna its
Woman of the Year. Her "blunt and brutally honest" speech at the ceremony received widespread coverage in the media.
 Her upcoming projects include co-writing and directing a film adaptation of
Andrew Sean Greer's novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Tentatively titled Loved, the film would portray the protagonist's relationship with her gay twin brother Felix.
In November 2016, Madonna, who actively supported
Hillary Clinton during the
2016 U.S. presidential election, performed an impromptu acoustic concert at
Washington Square Park in support of Clinton's campaign.
 Upset that
Donald Trump won the election, Madonna spoke out against him at the
Women's March on Washington, a day after
 The singer sparked controversy when she said that she "thought a lot about blowing up the White House".
 The following day, she asserted she was "not a violent person" and that her quote had been "taken wildly out of context", adding "I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things — one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage".
 In February 2017, Madonna adopted four-year-old twin sisters from Malawi named Esther and Stella.
 In late summer 2017, Madonna moved to
Lisbon, the capital of
Portugal, with her recently-adopted twin girls.