His life with Madonna

by Nikki Tranter

14 July 2008


Got a spare 30 minutes? Head over to the Mail Online for the most delicious read of the week: a long excerpt from Christopher Ciccone’s Life with My Sister Madonna. Just make sure those 30 minutes really are spare, because once you start, you won’t stop. This is first-class juice. And not the sort of Andrew Morton, third-party, he’s-full-of-crap juice. This is horses mouth stuff! It’s like Rupert Everett’s book all over again. Sure, it’s slanted, but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be so damned enthralling.

Chris on Guy Ritchie:

Guy’s pride in his own heterosexuality swells noticeably when he’s in the presence of a gay man like me. And in his wedding week, with these after-dinner toasts seemingly aimed at underscoring his overt masculinity, he is in his element. I, however, am far from amused when many of the speeches trumpeting Guy’s heterosexuality include the word ‘poofter’, a derogatory British expression for gay.

Chris on the Madonna Mythology:

She is a middle-class girl who propagates the story that she landed in Times Square with just a pair of ballet shoes and $35 to her name. But that’s pure mythology and the further she progresses, the more mythological her life story becomes ... Far from being this lost and friendless little waif who didn’t even have a crust of dry bread to eat, when Madonna went to New York she had money in her pocket, plenty of contacts and a support system all in place.

Chris on “Mrs. Ritchie”:

In August 2002, Madonna invites me to her birthday party at Roxbury. The invitation is from ‘Mrs Ritchie’. When she was married to Sean, she never called herself Mrs Penn. Now she has relinquished practically the most famous name in the universe—just to make Guy feel better about himself.

So, you can see, he’s not pulling any punches. He doesn’t so much out his sister as a vicious bitch, but more a confused woman who’s spent so much time trying to remain relevant through so-called re-invention that she might not really know who she is. Ciccone appears to want to let us in on just how a tough-talking all-American chick from Detroit who represented individuality and personal freedom became an English castle dweller with fancy cutlery and a bigoted husband. This is the “great tale” he has to tell, Ciccone told Good Morning America. It’s not about revenge, he reckons, but revelation.

ABC Online also has a story up about Ciccone’s book. In it a family therapist is consulted to help us understand where Ciccone is coming from with his unflattering stories. The bottom line? Envy, as if we didn’t know. Marshall is quoted: “If [Ciccone] was on the Madonna gravy train and she cut him off, he could feel like he’s going to get his no matter what, one way or the other ... When people operate at primitive levels and get their feelings hurt or nose out of joint, they always want the other person to pay for making them feel neglected or like a failure.”

Either way, it is a great story. It’s all perception, though, and until Madonna has a go at her own book, it’s the best we’ve got. I wonder, though, if Madonna’s not secretly thrilled about the book, considering I haven’t cared about anything she’s done since “Cherish” and here I am reading about her, blogging about her, pondering her life choices. She’s relevant again and she hasn’t lifted a finger!



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

READ the article