Madonna has had many rumored romances, but the most publicized has been her relationship with actor Sean Penn. The two met on the set of Madonna’s “Material Girl” music video and instantly felt a connection. They got married on Madonna’s birthday, six months after meeting each other.
Although the pair were married between 1985 and 1989, they had a tumultuous relationship. Sean Penn was allegedly very jealous and insecure in their relationship, repeatedly accusing Madonna of cheating. There was even an incident that resulted in Sean doing some time in jail. The two finally divorced in 1989, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
A Beastie Boys Connection
The 80s certainly had some strange musical collaborations and pairings. Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” tour is a perfect example. A little rap group called the Beastie Boys opened for the megastar on a few tour stops. Ever heard of them? If you know their music, you know that this is a strange pairing.
Madonna and the Beastie Boys are completely different musical genres, so we can’t imagine that many of Madonna’s fans also listened to 80s hip-hop and rap. “I don't know why she thought it would be a good idea though. It was a terrible idea. But it was great for her in a way because we were so awful that by the time she came onstage, the audience had to be happy,” Ad-Rock recalled.
Lauper Vs. Madonna
Any 80s music fan knows that Cyndi Lauper was a big pop star around the same time as Madonna in the 80s. Cyndi’s hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” came out in 1983, around the same time that Madonna’s star was rising. As the music industry so often does, it immediately pitted the two female singers against each other.
Despite what the media said back then, the two didn’t actually have a rivalry. The two never became close friends, but they didn’t hate each other, either. In the early 80s, the two women would get mistaken for each other all the time, but it never bothered Cyndi. Eventually, the fake rivalry died down because their careers took different paths.
Sean and Madonna, BFFs?
Despite their very public and dramatic divorce, Sean Penn and Madonna still seem to be friends. In fact, they hold each other very dear and might even still be in love. The two have nothing but respect for each other all these years later. Madonna even came to Sean’s defense in 2017 by setting the record straight about domestic mistreatment rumors that have always swirled around their past relationship.
In Madonna’s 1991 documentary, “In Bed with Madonna,” the singer admitted that Sean was the “love of her life.” Many years later, Sean would confess in a “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” interview that he still had a lot of love for Madonna. He’s even been seen at several of Madonna’s concerts over the years. It seems their romantic relationship was a victim of bad timing.
The Reason Behind the Crosses
Madonna has been wearing crosses and utilizing Catholic imagery since the very beginning of her popstar career. Despite this causing a lot of controversy among religious groups, Madonna has never backed down. She openly admits to wearing crucifixes and crosses in order to be provocative. But she also drew inspiration from her strict Catholic upbringing.
Madonna’s own mother was a very strict Catholic, so her use of Catholic imagery in her provocative music videos and songs was a way for Madonna to reclaim a part of her past. She has a complicated relationship with religion, so leaning into the crucifix imagery was one way she chose to express her feelings about it.