Madonna is one of the most studied and beloved musical artists of all time. This pop queen and cultural icon built a legacy in entertainment that is sure to stand the test of time. Madonna is only 5′ 5″ tall, but her alter ego is larger than life.
Although most fans are well acquainted with her hit songs, impressive career in film, and status as a fashion legend, there are still more things than you can learn about Madonna if you dig a little deeper into her life.
Here are 35 of the most interesting facts about this global entertainment stalwart.
1. Madonna Was a Cheerleader: Madonna most likely learned a lot of her patented dance moves performing on the cheer team at Rochester Adams High School.
2. Fired from Dunkin’ Donuts: Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts while trying to make ends meet as a dancer in New York City, however, she reportedly lost her job after she squirted jelly at a customer.
3. Children’s Book Author: Madonna has stretched her creativity beyond entertainment, writing over 20 children’s books since her first publication in 2003.
4. Fear of Thunder: Madonna said that she suffers from brontophobia, the fear of thunder and lightning.
5. Famous Distant Relatives: According to a recent ancestry study, Madonna’s list of famous distant relatives includes Celine Dion, Mark Wahlberg, and Gwen Stefani.
6. Missed Role on Bodyguard: While it is hard to imagine anyone but Whitney Houston starring opposite Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard,” Madonna actually had a failed bid to win the role.
7. Close Relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow: While the relationship between Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow has been well documented, most people do not know that Paltrow was actually the Maid of Honor at Madonna’s 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie.
8. Ice Ice Baby: Madonna has had a famously wide array of romantic relationships, including an eight-month stint with rapper Vanilla Ice.
9. Little Nonnie: Madonna’s childhood nickname was Little Nonnie, to differentiate her from her mother, bearing the same name of Madonna Louise.
10. Signature Look: Madonna’s iconic look from the 1980s was created by jewelry designer and popular stylist Maripol.
11. Fitness Routine: Madonna claims to stay in shape thanks to her strict vegetarian diet and her commitment to working out every day.
12. No Star for Her: Madonna turned down her chance to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, after receiving a nomination in 1990.
13. Founded Two Bands: When trying to make her name as a musical artist, Madonna founded two separate bands while living in New York City.
14. Practices Kabbalah: Madonna has been a follower of the Kabbalah way of life since 2004 when she dedicated herself to the ancient Jewish tradition.
15. Opened a Children’s Hospital: The philanthropist opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care in Blantyre, Malawi in 2017, naming the center after her daughter.
16. College Dropout: Despite earning a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, Madonna dropped out of school in 1977, moving from Ann Arbor to New York City to pursue her career goals in the entertainment industry.
17. Wine in Her Honor: Madonna’s father, Tony Ciccone, launched a winery in Suttons Bay, Michigan, selling a line of vintages named after his famous daughter.
18. Daughter’s Name Origins: Madonna’s eldest daughter Lourdes is named after the city in France, a location in which the Virgin Mary once appeared.
19. OCD Tendencies: Madonna has often said that she has OCD tendencies, preferring things to be a certain way, particularly while on tour.
20. The Godfather: Madonna appointed musical artist Sting to be the godfather of her son Rocco, a child she shares with her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie.
21. Love Affair with Malawi: Madonna has a love affair with the African country Malawi, adopting four children from there: David, Mercy, Stelle, and Estere.
22. Clothing Designer: While everyone knows that Madonna is a true fashionista, she took this love for style another step further, designing her own clothing line for British retailer H&M.
23. Child of Immigrants: Madonna is the child of immigrants from Pacentro, Italy, with her mother also boasting a diverse French-Canadian ancestry.
24. Veronica Confirmation Name: Upon being confirmed in the Catholic Church in 1966, Madonna adopted the name Veronica as her confirmation moniker.
25. Making it in New York City: After moving to New York City as a young adult, Madonna took classes at the famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater before landing a gig at the Pearl Lang Dance Theater.
26. Lived in a Synagogue: Madonna has had some interesting living arrangements over the years, including camping out with her boyfriend Dan Gilroy in an abandoned synagogue in Corona, Queens.
27. Beauty and Brains: Madonna is more than just a beautiful face, reportedly boasting an IQ of 140.
28. Said No to Catwoman: Madonna was offered the role of Catwoman in the 1992 hit film Batman Returns, making way for Michelle Pfeiffer to star in the movie instead.
29. Halftime Super Power: Madonna’s legendary Super Bowl halftime performance in 2012 garnered 114 million total viewers, more than the actual game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
30. Not Known for Culinary Skills: Madonna’s brother Christoper jokes that the only thing that his sister can cook up in the kitchen is Rice Krispie treats.
31. Feud with Kevin Costner: After calling one of her performances “neat,” Madonna publicly criticized Kevin Costner for his choice of words.
32. Guinness World Record Holder: One of Madonna’s most interesting achievements is her Guinness World Record for the most costume changes in a movie for her role as Eva Perón in Evita, clocking in at 85 changes.
33. Not Stopping Anytime Soon: Even after hitting age 60, Madonna has no plans of slowing down, saying that she will only retire when she runs out of ideas to stay creative.
34. Birth Complications: Madonna suffered from the dangerous prenatal condition of placenta previa when pregnant with her son Rocco.
35. Species Named After Her: The Echiniscus Madonnae species, commonly known as the Water Bear, is named in honor of Madonna.