Madonna Louise Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. Her parents were Louise and Silvio, a design engineer for General Motors.
One of 6 children, the family lived in Pontiac, Michigan before moving to Rochester Hills. Madonna’s mother died when she was barely six years old. Her father married their housekeeper 3 years later, which sent Madonna on her rebellious path.
Though she was a straight A student during her Catholic school career, she was also known for doing cartwheels down the hallway and not shaving her armpits.
During her formative years she studied piano and ballet. She was also a cheerleader on her high school squad.
Upon graduation, she received a dance scholarship from the University of Michigan. In 1978, she dropped out and headed to New York City with $35 in her pocket.
While working jobs at Dunkin’ Doughnuts and The Russian Tea Room, Madonna attended classes at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.
Ciccone, went on to study with world-known dance instructor Martha Graham and perform with the Pearl Lang Dance Company. During this time, she was also the lead singer and drummer for the band, Breakfast Club.
By 1981, she would release a 4 song demo tape that caught the attention of Gotham records. The company signed her and released the single “Everybody.” After appearing on the television show Dancing On Air, the single “Burning Up” was released.
This is when Madonna’s lucky star and net worth would both start to rise.
Madonna Net Worth
Madonna has a net worth of $850 million. She has been on the Forbes list of top earning female artists 11 times over the past 4 decades. Her tours remain some of the top grossing of any artist in history.
To date, she is the top grossing female touring artist of all time. Collectively, her tours have grossed close to $1.5 billion. So let’s break down how the material girl has amassed her fortune.
In 1983, Madonna released her first album, entitled Madonna. It reached number 8 on the Billboard charts and yielded the top 10 hits; Borderline, Holiday, and Lucky Star.
Though Borderline failed to reach number 1 on the charts, the video was a different story. MTV was still in its infancy and videos were pretty basic. Borderline, however, told a story.
Madonna was grungy and gorgeous. Her style and allure had a generation of X kids hooked, and they would make her rich. Over the years, many more best selling, groundbreaking albums would follow, including:
Like A Virgin (1984) – debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts and was the first album by a female artist to sell over 5 million copies. It sold over 21 million copies and was certified diamond.
True Blue (1986) – Dedicated to her first husband, Sean Penn, True Blue sold over 25 million copies and was the best selling album of the year. As of that year, it was also the best selling album ever by a female. It produced the singles “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Open Your Heart” (with a video that featured a very young Leonardo DiCaprio), and “Live To Tell” (the theme song for Penn’s film At Close Range).
Like A Prayer (1989) – Madonna’s most controversial album up to that time, still sold over 15 million copies. The singles “Express Yourself ” and ” Cherish” were not an issue.
However, it was the video for “Like A Prayer”, that caused a commotion. Madonna was depicted platonically kissing a saint. Conservative religious groups protested and Pepsi cancelled their brand deal with her.
Other albums that certainly increased her net worth include:
- I’m Breathless (the soundtrack to Dick Tracy)
- Immaculate Collection (compilation)
- Ray Of Light (which won her 4 Grammys)
There’s little argument that Madonna has been one of the hardest working humans in show business when it comes to touring. She is known for her elaborate, perfection-driven shows for close to 40 years. She tops the list of money-making touring artists with close to $2 billion in ticket sales. The massive endeavors included:
- Like A Virgin Tour (1985) $5.8 million
- Who’s That Girl Tour (1987) $32.3 million
- Blond Ambition Tour (1990) $58 million
- The Girlie Tour (1993) $78 million
- The Drown Tour (2001) $74 million
- Re-Invention Tour (2003) $120 million
- Confessions Tour (2006) $193 million
- Rebel Heart Tour (2015) $169 million
- Madame X Tour (2019) $51 million
Over the years, Madonna has made an impression (good and bad) on the big screen as well. She has proven herself a more than capable actress, but the roles she chooses don’t always reflect that. Some of the films she’s appeared in are:
- Vision Quest (where she appeared as the club singer and performed the theme song – Crazy For You)
- Desparately Seeking Susan (sang the theme song – Get Into The Groove)
- Shanhai Surprise (with then husband Sean Penn)
- Who’s That Girl?
- Dick Tracy
- A League Of Their Own
- Evita (for which she won a Golden Globe for best Actress)
In addition to these roles, Madonna filmed the documentary “Truth or Dare”, while on the Blond Ambition tour. It was the first of its kind ( and arguably the best) to combine performance footage, backstage prep, and personal moments in her life.
The movie was also the highest grossing documentary of all time up to that point. It would hold that title for the next 11 years. She has also produced and directed several documentaries about the issues that affect African children.
Business Ventures And Brand Deals
In 1992, Madonna started Maverick Entertainment. It was a combination record label, film production company, and book publisher.The joint venture with Time Warner got her a $60 million paycheck and 20% of all royalties.
Madonna also signed with Calloway Arts to write 5 children’s books. The first, entitled “The English Roses”, debuted at the top of the New York Times best seller list. She donated all proceeds to charity.
Children’s books were not Madonna’s only literary endeavor. She published a coffee table book to coincide with the release of her album “Erotica”. The book, simply called “Sex”, sold over 1.5 million copies at $50 each.
Brand Deals and Sponsorships
Aside from her cancelled sponsorship with Pepsi, Madame X has repped quite a few brands including:
- Dolce and Gabanna
- MDNA skincare
- Truth or Dare Perfume
Madonna has spent a lot of money on luxuries over her career, but she’s also made some very wise investments. One of them is her $100 million art collection, which includes original pieces by Picasso and Frieda Kahlo.
Years ago, she paid $500,000 for an extremely rare Maybach 628. The car is now worth over $1.4 million.
Recently, she bought a $19 million estate in Hidden Hills, California to join her other properties in New York, London, and Lisbon.
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