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Interview 1999 CNN 1



http://www.madonnalicious.com/images/1999/nrm_video_ns2.jpgLARRY KING, host of CNN's "Larry King Live": How did you get that name? Why are you a one-name person?

MADONNA, entertainer: Well, I was born with that name. I was named after my mother. And I guess when I started making records, Madonna Ciccone seemed too long and complicated, and I just got stuck with Madonna.

KING: What age did that start?

MADONNA: The one-name deal? I guess when I was about 23. So I had two names until the age of 23.

KING: But it took a lot of guts, right, to call yourself one name making your first record?

vtp4.jpgMADONNA: No. It seemed completely natural. It means so many things. But I just felt like it was a very good stage name. And everybody actually thought it was a theatrical name that I took on, so.

KING: It works, obviously.

MADONNA: Yes, it's a name to live up to.

KING: Were you a singing kid? Were you in the glee club?

MADONNA: I was more of a dancing kid than a singing kid. I mean, I sang in school choirs and I sang in school musicals, but I was much more interested in dancing than singing.

KING: What happened? You still dance, right? Dance is part of the act.

MADONNA: Absolutely. But when I left Michigan and I came to New York, that was my goal, to be a professional dancer. And I sort of fell into singing by accident in a way.

KING: How?

MADONNA: Well, I danced in a lot of companies in New York for years, and realized that I was going to be living a hand-to-mouth existence for the rest of my life.

KING: Companies meaning Broadway shows.

MADONNA: Oh, no. Modern dance.

KING: Oh, troupes.

MADONNA: Yes, modern dance. And you know, it was really hard living, and so then I decided to start going to, like, off-Broadway auditions and Broadway auditions, mostly as a dancer. And I started singing -- I had to sing for the auditions, and then, you know, people would hear me sing. And they'd say, Hey, your voice isn't bad. And I'd say, Oh, really?

I mean, I never had any training. I never wanted to be a singer. That's not how I started out.

KING: Would you rather have been...

MADONNA: A dancer?

KING: Yes.

MADONNA: No. I am quite happy with the way things have turned out. I mean, I incorporate...

KING: Supposing dance paid as well.

MADONNA: I'm glad that it turned out this way, because as a singer I can use all of my dance training. And I think that singing is much more of an emotional expression.

KING: Are you a singer who dances and acts or are you an actor who sings and dances? Who are you?

MADONNA: I don't know.

KING: What are you? (LAUGHTER) How do you think of yourself first?

MADONNA: That's hard to say. I mean, I think of myself as a performance artist. I hate being called a pop star. I hate that. And -- I don't know. I mean, I guess since my original training was dancing .. I think of myself primarily as a dancer.

KING: But performance artist is pretty good. It covers a wide...

MADONNA: Yes, I like that because it covers everything.

KING: Covers acting, certainly.

MADONNA: Covers everything. And we have to act all the time, don't we?

KING: Yes. Don't we? Have you enjoyed all the fame you have gotten? Obviously you wanted it, right? You don't choose this business without wanting to be well-known, one would think. I don't want to presume that. Did you?

MADONNA: That's true. You don't. But on the other hand, before you're famous, you don't know what you're getting yourself into and you don't know until you're in the middle of it what you have sort of asked for.

KING: What's the worst thing about it?

MADONNA: The worst thing about being famous? I think it's what everybody says -- the lack of privacy and the idea that you're not really allowed to make mistakes and everything that you do is viewed under a microscope.

KING: So therefore, do you hide?

MADONNA: Well...

KING: As, say, Mr. Presley did.

MADONNA: He hid?

KING: Well, he hid. Jackie Gleason told him don't hide or you're going to be lonely. Go out.

MADONNA: No. I don't hide. I definitely don't hide. I mean, I go out. I go for walks. I go to the theater. No. I just...

KING: Do you like or not like being recognized?

MADONNA: If I have a pimple, I don't want to be recognized. I mean, really, it depends on the mood I am in. Sometimes you want to go for a walk and you don't want to be watched. You just want to be anonymous and blend in. Especially when I travel, I feel that way, because I can't really go out and see a city the way other people can and I miss out on a lot.

KING: You can't be a tourist?

MADONNA: Yes. I like to be the watcher and not the watchee.

KING: What's the best thing about it?

MADONNA: Free clothes.

KING: You get free clothes?

MADONNA: Yes, it's great.

KING: Designers give you clothes so that you'll wear it to the...

MADONNA: To everything -- to this interview.

KING: They gave you this?

MADONNA: Yes. I'm wearing, you know, free Gucci leather jacket.

KING: And to Gucci, that's worth it?

MADONNA: Yes. But you know, it's a privilege. It's a perk. It comes with the territory. But you know, it's like we work the clothes, right?

KING: What's the best thing about it?

MADONNA: Free clothes.

KING: You get free clothes?

MADONNA: Yes, it's great.

KING: Designers give you clothes so that you'll wear it to the...

MADONNA: To everything -- to this interview.

KING: They gave you this?

MADONNA: Yes. I'm wearing, you know, free Gucci leather jacket.

KING: And to Gucci, that's worth it?

MADONNA: Yes. But you know, it's a privilege. It's a perk. It comes with the territory. But you know, it's like we work the clothes, right?

MADONNA: Yes. I kind of forget that I have money sometimes.

KING: You have had an unusual life.

MADONNA: I've had an incredible life. I am truly blessed.

KING: On the base of it, it's much more pluses than minuses?

MADONNA: Absolutely. I mean, we were talking about fame earlier and there are bad things about it, but I wouldn't trade my life for anyone's.

KING: The marriage to Sean Penn -- it got so much attention and knowing him, he didn't like that.sean_ponytail7.jpg


KING: Did you like it? You were in the tabloids every other day.

MADONNA: No, I didn't like the attention, the focus on the state of the our marriage. I like attention when it's about the work, but not about relationships.

KING: And he didn't like it either?

MADONNA: No, he hated it -- no.

KING: Are you friends?

MADONNA: Yes, we are.

KING: Are you happy for how his career has gone?

MADONNA: Oh, yes I think he's an incredible actor and I think he's done very well. I'm, you know, I'm honored to know him.

KING: So that part of your life while it may have not ended the way you like, was it a plus, when you look back and say, I am glad I had that experience? Some people would; some people wouldn't.

MADONNA: No, I learned a lot. The thing is he's an -- I learned a lot. He's an incredible human being. He's intelligent; he's talented. Even though things didn't work out for us in terms of our marriage, I don't regret marrying him for a moment.

KING: How about being a mother?

MADONNA: I certainly don't regret that.

KING: I mean is it all you thought it would be?

MADONNA: It's more than what I thought it would be.

KING: The press, they all refer to it as you were out looking for someone. You deliberately wanted to pick a father. Was any of that true?

MADONNA: Absolutely not. I had a relationship for two years with Carlos before I got pregnant and I was madly in love with him, and it's a ludicrous accusation. I don't know where it came from. It's not fair. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to him.

KING: Is he a good father?

MADONNA: He's an excellent father.

KING: Sees the child.

MADONNA: Oh, yes.

KING: What do you like best about motherhood? You had it late, right? You were 37.

MADONNA: Thirty-eight, actually, when I gave birth, yes. What do I like best about it? Every day I am in complete wonderment of her and I love being woken up in the morning. I love her coming in the room and kissing me and waking me up. I love looking into her eyes. I love watching her grow. I love watching her absorb life around her.

KING: As you see her, she's rather pretty.

MADONNA: Oh, yes, she's gorgeous, if I do say so.

KING: But you also have a life of flying here, flying there, being on stage.

MADONNA: Yes. So far she goes everywhere I go.

KING: What are you going do when she goes to school?

MADONNA: Well, I am going to stay in one place when she's in school. Starting at the age of four I am not going to travel while she's in school. Say I have to go somewhere for the weekend or something like that, I would leave her, but I don't want to take her out of school and I don't want to be away from her for any extended period of time.

KING: Is she going through terrible twos?

MADONNA: Yes, lots of tantrums. She's got -- yes. She has two things that she sort of, like, if she can't have, she throws herself on the floor and starts...

KING: And so we give it to her or don't...

MADONNA: No, no we don't give it to her.

KING: Oh, that's Midwest, we don't give it to her. Jews, we give it to her.

MADONNA: Really?

KING: What else? Why would you...

MADONNA: You can't, that's not good.

KING: I know, my wife tells me that's not good. But how do you not? How do you not? How do you not -- a child is pleading for something.

MADONNA: Because you have to -- I mean you have to have discipline. You have to teach them discipline. You have to show them who's in charge. If you give in to them every time they're going to run your life. Come on, Larry.

lourdes_red1.jpgKING: Isn't it hard not to, though? Truth? Especially when you get a little older -- I don't mean that 38 is old.

MADONNA: I'll give in when she says she wants a piece of sugarless gum. Then I'll say yes, but she can't watch TV.

KING: She can't watch TV?

MADONNA: No, she won't be watching this interview.

KING: Why can't she watch?

MADONNA: Because I don't want her to get addicted to it. Kids get addicted to it. They become mesmerized.

KING: Barney?

MADONNA: No, no there's no Barney in her life.

KING: No Barney.


KING: That's like mean.

MADONNA: No, it's not. I didn't watch TV when I grew up. She likes to read. She uses her imagination. She's very verbal. She has an incredible memory. All of those things I don't think she would have if she watched TV all the time.

KING: Do you ever feel when you see Barney or hear about him that you're depriving her? I'm only kidding.

MADONNA: No, I don't get it -- that big purple thing -- I don't get it.

KING: Neither do I. It's a big purple thing.

MADONNA: Is it a purple thing -- right I can't remember -- or is it a yellow thing?

KING: Purple.

MADONNA: No, that's Big Bird -- OK. (LAUGHTER)

KING: When people think of Madonna, they think of lots of things: singer, actress, talent. And they also think sex. And that was something you promoted, didn't you? I mean, you wrote a book about it. sb_105.jpg

MADONNA: Well, I didn't write a book about sex. I wrote a book that -- I mean I published a book that basically was sort of a -- an ironic tongue-in-cheek, sticking-my-tongue-out-at-society photo essay...

KING: Take that.

MADONNA: So there.

KING: Yes, well it worked, obviously. It sold and people reacted to it.

MADONNA: It pissed off a lot of people, too.

KING: Yes. What did it do -- did it affect your career at all?

MADONNA: Well, probably. I mean, I would think everything I've done has affected my career.

KING: I mean negatively. You think people said, "Boy, she shouldn't have done that."

MADONNA: Yes, I think that there were a lot of people that were freaked out about it, yes.

KING: What about your daughter when she grows up and gets to see it?

MADONNA: Well, she sees my naked body almost every day. I don't think she's going to be freaked out about it. I...

KING: You don't think it will bother her.

MADONNA: No, not at all. And besides, if you really read and you know me and you know my sense of humor, it's not meant to be -- it was never meant to be this, like: "Oh, this is the hottest book of the most incredible sexual fantasies." That's not what it's meant to be.

KING: It was a parody in a sense?

MADONNA: Yes, it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and, you know, I think she'll understand it. I'll explain it to her.

KING: The thing that you're always linked with many: Do you like that? Like famous men? People think of you and they think of Dennis Rodman and Warren Beatty and...

MADONNA: I've gone out with as many not-famous men as famous men.

KING: But do you like that linking? You're very involved in making it. Is that good for the career to be known that you're out with someone famous?

MADONNA: I don't need any of those people to help my career, and, quite frankly, I don't think they did. I think that everything I've done, I've done on my own. You know, sometimes you say -- you can say to yourself, Well, it's easier to be with someone who's famous, because they're not freaked out about having their picture taken..."

KING: Yes.

MADONNA: ... and they're not freaked out about being written about and stuff like that. But at the end of the day, it's hard for everybody, and, you know, famous or not, it's difficult to be in a relationship with anyone that's in the entertainment business.

KING: Do you want to marry?

MADONNA: I don't know. I don't know how I feel about that.

KING: Why?

MADONNA: Well, because sometimes I ask myself what, you know, what does marriage mean. What is it exactly? What's the point of it? It seems like a really...

KING: Nice tradition, though, isn't it? If it were just a tradition of bonding.

MADONNA: I certainly -- I'm a romantic, and I believe in true love, and the whole, you know, finding your soul mate and all of those things, but I just don't know the whole marriage thing -- I mean, what's the point of it really?

KING: You don't see a point?

MADONNA: Well, I'm not sure. I mean, don't know how I feel about it. I'm really conflicted, because there's a part of me that thinks that it's a sacred ritual and a beautiful tradition, and then there's a part of me that thinks that it was -- it came from a time when -- when women -- when it was a contract, that a woman entered into when a woman wasn't capable of taking care of herself and she needed a man to take care of her, and so I, you know, I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

KING: The Catholic part of you probably wants to, right?

MADONNA: The Catholic part of me, and there is -- I do have an old-fashioned part of me, the romantic part of me, but...

KING: Supposing you met someone, you fell in love, and he wanted to get married.

MADONNA: Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

KING: Good answer. Are you interested in politics by the way?

MADONNA: Oh, yes, very.

KING: And do you support candidates? Are you outspoken?

MADONNA: To a certain extent. I mean, you know, when I am interviewed -- I certainly support President Clinton.

KING: Do you feel he's getting...

MADONNA: The short end of the stick? Yes.

KING: But he caused it, though.

MADONNA: Well -- he caused it? How -- I mean...

KING: Well, I mean, no act, no follow-up.

MADONNA: Well, that's true to a certain extent. But I mean, you know, he's not the first president to have an adulterous relationship. So I think it's a combination of his behavior, and you know, the lynch mob mentality of the Republican Party.

KING: Are you surprised that the public is in his corner?

MADONNA: No, not at all.

KING: Because we're supposed to be very puritanical about sex.

MADONNA: Well, we're not, are we? And thank God. I mean, at the end of the day, I think whether you think he did the right thing or the wrong thing or whatever, I think most people just want to get on with things. And you know, let's get back to the important issues, and I think people are really sick of it.

KING: The movies -- enjoy doing films?

MADONNA: Yes. I do.

KING: Like stage -- I saw you do -- have you done other stage other than...

MADONNA: I did two plays. I did a David Mamet play and I did David Ray play. And I loved doing both of them. And I would love to do another play. I think performing live is far superior to filming -- absolutely.

KING: So you would rather be in a theater?

MADONNA: Yes, I would actually.

evita_film34.jpgKING: Was "Evita" difficult?

MADONNA: Oh, yes. That's an understatement.

KING: Because?

MADONNA: Well...

KING: Crowd scenes?

MADONNA: It was difficult -- it was difficult on every level. It was difficult because we were, you know, filming in Argentina. And we were making a movie about a person that was a very controversial political figure. So there were mob scenes about people who didn't want us to make the movie and mob scenes about people who wanted us to make the movie. And then, you know, the heat and the thousands of extras, and you know, we were moving around the world to different continents. And I was pregnant. And you know, it was a long shoot. And we were making a musical. I mean...

KING: Was it tougher? It was kind of an opera.


KING: There was no spoken word in it.

MADONNA: Not really, no. And it was -- I think, you know -- I think that Alan really was -- you know, we were all doing something, and we weren't sure what we were doing in a way.

KING: Alan...

MADONNA: Alan Parker, yes. I mean, I think everyone believed in what we were doing and everyone was really passionate about it, but no one's ever done a movie like that before, so it was a risk.

KING: Were you surprised at how well Antonio Banderas sang?

MADONNA: I was. I was very surprised. He has a lovely voice.

KING: Did you like working with him?

MADONNA: I loved working with him. He's great. He really is.

KING: Good friend?

MADONNA: Yes. Great actor, great singer, charming man, very generous. Yes. He was great.

KING: You did another movie everybody that I know liked that didn't do well.

MADONNA: Which one?

KING: The murder -- where you were the murderess.

MADONNA: The what?

KING: You were a murderer.

MADONNA: Oh, I think I have been a murderess in a couple of movies.

KING: With...

MADONNA: Oh, yes. "Body of Evidence."

KING: "Body of Evidence" with Willem Dafoe and...


KING: ... Ray...

MADONNA: No, wait a minute. My co-star in "Speed the Plow." Oh, God. Joe Mantegna.

KING: Joe Mantegna.

MADONNA: Yes, yes. He's great too.

KING: So films would be secondary to theater, though, I just wondered...

MADONNA: Well, just in terms of the enjoyment factor of doing it. But I would love to make another great film. I haven't made a movie since I did "Evita" because I haven't really found something that I was as passionate about. But I am going to make a movie in a couple of months.

KING: "Dick Tracy" fun?film1.jpg

MADONNA: That was fun. That was fun, for sure. I had a really good time on that.

KING: And you like co-star Warren Beatty?

MADONNA: I do, indeed.

KING: Me too. Not in the same way. No.

MADONNA: Maybe in the same way.

KING: Maybe in the same way. (LAUGHTER)

KING: Madonna's album "Ray of Light" has already gone triple-platinum. It's included in the "Album of the Year" and "Record of the Year" for the Grammys. She has six Grammy nominations. She will sing "Ray of Light" as the opening number at the Grammys in February. She's on the cover of the latest edition of "Harper's Bazaar" magazine with her new look, that of a geisha. Is that the way you describe this? Is this a geisha look?

1998.jpgMADONNA: Geisha.

KING: Geisha, geisha.

MADONNA: Yes, inspired by -- I read a book called "Memoirs of a Geisha," which had a...

KING: Great book.

MADONNA: Yes. Did you read it?

KING: Great book.

MADONNA: Incredible. Yes there was a character in the book called Hutsie Momo and she's been my muse for the past six months. So I don't know.



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