Madonna deserves to stay in son’s life
IHAVE been aboard the late, lamented Big Breakfast bed with Madonna and it was a far from pleasant experience. She was irritable, pretentious, bristling with imagined slights and surrounded by sycophants. It took every ounce of charm, unctuousness and flattery in my repertoire to pierce her rock- hard carapace and prise a faintly human interview out of her.
She was different from other female stars I’ve interviewed – the list includes Goldie Hawn, Glenn Close, Andie MacDowell, Miss Piggy and Diana Ross – in that she didn’t give a damn if anyone liked her or not. Most showbusiness legends are what therapists call “people pleasers”. They want you to love them. They care about making an impression. Mega stars from Charlton Heston to Danny DeVito, Wesley Snipes to Kurt Russell would climb off the bed and ask: “Was I OK? Did that go well?”
Only Madonna stormed in and out, trampling over feelings, egos and cables without worrying a jot about whether she had won over her audience. She was so caught up in her own confidence bubble other people’s feelings didn’t register.
At the time I sympathised with her staff. It must, I thought, be ghastly to be railroaded by a narcissistic super- ego. As they fussed around her with salads and shoeshiners, electric fans and obscure brands of bottled water I pitied them. Imagine having a period, bereavement or broken heart while working for Madonna. She would be far too absorbed in her own requirements to extend even a drop of the milk of human kindness.
OCCASIONALLY over the years as she gave emphatic interviews about not allowing her children to watch television, or insisting on their adhering to macrobiotic diets, I wondered what it must be like to have Madonna for a mum?
I bumped into her at the London club Home House three days after she adopted baby David Banda and she was leaving the gym. Was she singleminded and enviably disciplined to stick to her exercise routine so soon after bringing a new child into the family or unbelievably self- absorbed to leave a surely disorientated infant so soon?
Adoption experts said they advocate constant body- to- body contact to help the mother- baby bonding process. How did going to the gym fit with that?
Today, however, my heart goes out to Madonna. It looks as if she has lost the custody battle for her 15- year- old son Rocco who has elected to remain in the UK with his father Guy Ritchie, step- mum Jacqui and half- siblings. Madonna has brought money, might, main and maternal passion to bear upon the situation but Rocco will not hear of going back to live with her.
I never thought I would write this but poor, poor Madonna. There is no doubt she loves her children deeply and believed they benefit- ted from life lived under her exacting regime. She was the best parent she knew how to be and even the most exemplary mums and dads know how easy it is to provoke the wrath of a teenager.
Let us hope Guy insists his son makes room in his life for his mother. She does not deserve to be excised.