There’s one woman Madonna is really going to miss when she takes to the stage at Live 8: Kylie Minogue, her biggest fan in pop. The shocking news of Kylie’s battle with breast cancer has Madonna admits hit her hard.
Live 8 may not be quite the same without the Aussie pop star, but Madonna’s certain things will turn out well fot her.’Aside from being tremendously talented, Kylie’s a fighter and I know this is a battle she’ll win,’ she says.
The two stars formed a mutual appreciation society five years ago after Madonna wore a Kylie Minogue T-shirt for a concert. At the time, Kyiie admitted that she was ‘completely and utterly stunned’ by the message and she later returned the compliment by wearing a Madonna vest. ‘I’m her absolute biggest fan,’ she added.
Madonna clearly thinks the world of her, too. ‘I was so very sad when I heard about Kylie,’ she says. ‘I’m praying for her recovery and sending her love and light. She’s an incredible woman and so loved by so many people.’ Such generosity and genuine concern for a rival would once again have been unheard of for the queen of pop. But in the past few years the 46-year-old star has become something of a friend and mentor to many of the women who’ve sought to usurp her crown.
For one thing, it was she who introduced Britney Spears to the teachings of Kabbalah. The ancient doctrine, a mystical branch of Judaism, is credited with turning Madonna into the highly spiritual person she is today. Britney, who’s attended prayer meetings and studied Kabbalah literature, says it’s also brought her happiness and a sense of peace.
Madonna says: ‘Britney was interested to find out about Kabbalah and I’m very pleased that it has enriched her life. It’s certainly enriched mine. If people want to talk to me about it I’m very happy to do so, but I also have loads of friends who don’t want to know anything about it and that’s fine, too’
Madonna, who performed at live Aid’s US concert at the JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, 20 years ago, says she was thrilled to be asked to be on the hill for live 8, too. ‘I think it’s an amazing event and I was really flattered to he asked to be part of it. Bob Geldof is the most dedicated. inspiring man and this really is his achievement.
‘People have to remember what this is all about. It’s so important that it’s not just seen as a series of pop concerts. If it can effect change, make sure that laws are changed, infrastructure put into countries and money into the right hands, then that’s something major that had been done.
‘To me, this is all about thinking of other people. If Live 8 makes you think even for just a few minutes, then that can’t be a bad thing.’
Interestingly she says that she much prefers the person she is today to who she was in 1985. Back then, she was the Material Girl – an ambitious pop princess who was just becoming a global superstar following the release of her second album like A Virgin.
She laughs. ‘I’m definitely not a Material Girl any more. As a performer and as a person you grow over the years and I like to think that I’ve made some improvements. My life is very different now. I have a husband and I have children. Material things don’t have much value for me any more. The truly important things in life have nothing to do with material things or money.’
Married to British film director Guy Ritchie for the past four and a half years, Madonna has achieved what many once thought would be impossible for her – she’s finally settled down.
She’s also become the author of a series of Kabbalah-theme morality stories for children. The recently published fifth book Lotsa De Casha tells the tale of a selfish rich man who learns that the most important thing in life is to share his fortune and look after others.
Of all her achievements, though, Madonna says she’s most proud of being a wife and hands-on mother to Lourdes, eight, and Rocco, four. ‘Once you get married, you suddenly have someone else to think of before you make decisions, before you speak,’ she says.
‘Marriage is a tool for each and every one of us to ultimately make the world a better place. Because if you can get along with your husband or wife and work towards loving them unconditionally, chances are you’re going to be a lot more compassionate and a lot less judgmental towards you fellow man.’
True to form, She insists she has high standards when it comes to raising her kids. ‘I try to instil in my children a sense of responsibility – and when I say responsibility, I mean more than: “OK’ you’ve got to make your bed and pick up the toys in the playroom.”
‘I tell my daughter, because she’s older, that she’s responsible for her brother – he’s going to mimic her behaviour, but she’s also going to learn from him. Her job as an older sister is to teach him and to guide him.
‘The other value that I try to teach my children is appreciation. I tell them that they’re very lucky and that they should maintain a sense of gratitude for everything they have.’
At the Live 8 London concert, the chameleon of pop is rumoured to be showing off her greatest image change yet. She laughs, but for now she’s saying nothing – not even which songs she’ll be singing. I’m looking fonvard to it. It’ll he a great day, but you’ll just have to wait and see what I do.’