France: Mayor of Amiens requests Madonna to lend art work to city
Madonna’s life remains one of the most talked about on the planet, the music superstar’s career spanning an incredible six decades and spawning a sensational back catalogue of tracks that have topped charts across the globe. But what is often buried among the headlines about her personal life and music is her sombre upbringing ], including an adorable nickname her family gave her while growing up.
Born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958, the now 64-year-old went on to achieve critical acclaim through the entertainment industry, her talents hitting the world of music and Hollywood.
Among the dozens of accolades presented to her during her illustrious career include two Golden Globe awards and seven Grammy Awards. But her life growing up in Bay City, Michigan, was much different to the one the world of celebrity has created for her.
The singer was born to Catholic parents, Madonna Louise Fortin, who had French-Canadian descent, and Silvio Anthony ‘Tony’ Ciccone, whose parents were Italian emigrants from Pacentro.
As she shared the same name as her mother, according to Mary Cross, writing in her 2007 book Madonna: A Biography, the entertainer was given the adorable nickname of Little Nonnie by family members.
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Madonna’s name was a poignant tribute to her mother, and she was left heartbroken when aged just five she passed away as a result of breast cancer on December 1, 1963.
She would change her name in later life, according to Georges-Claude Guilbert’s 2002 book Madonna as Postmodern Myth, the legend adopting the name Veronica as a confirmation name when joining the Catholic church three years after her mother’s death.
Her life at school was chaotic, and her unconventional behaviour attracted the attention of boys and classmates, distracting herself and everyone else by doing cartwheels and handstands in class.
According to Randy Taraborrelli’s 2002 publication Madonna: An Intimate Biography, the star was deeply unhappy while at school, describing herself as a “lonely girl who was searching for something”.
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Madonna in 1978, when she moved to New York
Madonna continued: “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.”
Another factor in her difficult upbringing was Tony’s decision to get remarried, leading to a strained father-daughter relationship for years.
They would eventually reconcile, but before Tony moved on to a new wife, he convinced Madonna to take up classical piano lessons, though his daughter would eventually tell him she wanted to take ballet lessons.
Such were her talents, Christopher Flynn, her ballet teacher, pushed Madonna to pursue a career in dance, with her later attending Rochester Adams High School, where she enjoyed a glittering academic time, gaining straight As, and also becoming a member of its cheerleading squad.
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Madonna being interviewed in 2022
By 1978, though, her academic fascination had dropped off, and she soon relocated to New York City, to pursue her dream of becoming a star.
According to Matthew Rettenmund’s 1995 book, Madonnica: The Woman and The Icon From A To Z, Madonna had said: “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 (£28.20) in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”
More recently, Madonna was the subject of a desperate plea from Amiens mayor Brigitte Foure, who asked the singer to help her city’s bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2028.
The mayor believes the painting Diana and Endymion by Jermone-Martin Langlois was once on display in the city’s museum until it was lost during the 1918 World War 1 bombings by Germany.
By 1989, the missing picture, or at least an identical one, was found and placed on sale at a New York auction, where the singer snapped it up for $1.3million (£1.05million).
In a video, Ms Foure said directly to Madonna: “We do not dispute in any way the legal acquisition that you have made but we are candidates to be European Capital of Culture in 2028. So I would like that on this occasion, this year, you could lend us your painting.”