She is one of the world's best-selling female recording artists, and she is listed by Billboard Magazine as the second most successful artist, behind the Beatles. Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Madonna has starred in numerous films including Desperately Seeking Susan, Evita, Dick Tracy, Swept Away and Shanghai Surprise. Overall, her film success has not equaled the success of her singing career. In 2006, she announced she would not be starring in any more movies, because she didn't want her poor acting reputation to ruin the movie. However, she has started to direct movies, the first example being W.E., about the relationship between King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
She has been married twice. Madonna married actor Sean Penn in 1985. Their marriage was rife with violence, and the couple divorced in 1989, shortly after Penn was charged with felony domestic abuse. She was married for seven years to British film director Guy Ritchie. They divorced in 2008. She has since dated several men younger than herself.
Madonna has reputedly had extensive plastic surgery including a full facelift, cheekbone implants and Botox.
Ciccone often claims to be a trailblazer for the liberal Women's movement.
In the USA, conservatives (especially Christians) have objected to Ciccone's "immoral" or "immodest" garb and extremely sacrilegious material such as videos featuring her simulating immoral acts with statues and public vulgarity. Pope John Paul II was especially critical of Madonna, urging Catholics to boycott her music and concerts.
Early in her career, she became known for her "risqué" attitudes towards religion and sexuality. These attitudes was perhaps best exemplified in the music videos for her songs "Erotica," featuring implied homosexuality and other abhorrent sexual practices, and "Like a Prayer" which implies a sexual relationship between Madonna and a sculpture of a black Jesus Christ which comes to life during the course of the video. Her Truth or Dare "documentary" and an accompanying book provocatively titled "Sex" both were explicit displays of her deviant sexual exploits and were harshly criticized by pro-family groups. Many critics have called her actions as "manipulative" and "deliberately controversial" simply to stay famous. Madonna has negatively influenced many younger females, such as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, singlehandedly spawning "raunch" or "pornochic culture."
Involvement in Africa
For over a decade, Madonna has also been religiously following a mystical cult rooted in bogus Judaism called Kabbalah which she has also used as a means to exploit the impoverished country of Malawi via her Raising Malawi Foundation. Her "work" to create orphanages and schools in Malawi has come with a thinly veiled "Kabbalah only clause", meaning the children must be indoctrinated into this cult to at least some extent if they want to partake in the services. A 2008 fundraiser for Raising Malawi on the lawn of the UN saw many government and entertainment figures, including Oprah Winfrey, distancing themselves from Madonna. Many international human rights and children’s rights organizations have fought or spoken out regarding her illegal adoptions of two Malawian children which were only successful after documented payoffs to corrupt government officials. Upon the recent "adoption" of her newest Malawian child, Mercy James, Madonna embarked on a six-month concert tour of Europe and the child was given over to nannies and full-time staff in clear view of the media. The "schools for Malawi" that Madonna had vowed to build "so many of" have yet to exist.