When Madonna was only five years old, her mother passed away. She lost her battle with breast cancer on December 1, 1963. It was a huge loss for the whole family, especially because Madonna and her siblings were still very young. The loss of her mother hit Madonna hard, and it changed her outlook on life forever.
She told “Time,” that she thinks that made her grow up fast. Naturally, her mother’s death also deeply hurt her father. Even though Madonna was very young, she still noticed his grief. She saw her father going through changes also. He was obviously devastated and Madonna recalls how awful it was to see her father cry.
Although many of us consider Madonna’s name to be quite unique, she was actually named after someone very close to her: her mom. Her mother’s name was Madonna Louise Ciccone, too. That’s right, Madonna’s mom pulled a “Lorelei Gilmore” before it was cool. Madonna was her mother’s first-born daughter, so she naturally wanted to pass down her name.
Madonna’s mom was French-Canadian and worked as a dancer in early adulthood. After she settled down with Madonna’s father, Tony, she began working as an X-ray technician to support their growing family. Madonna has many fond memories of her mother, but their relationship was unfortunately cut short.
Madonna’s Many Nicknames
Throughout her career, Madonna has had many nicknames attached to her. From the “Queen of Pop” to the original “Material Girl,” Madonna is known by many different monikers that other people, often the media, have given her. However, her very first nickname was given to her when she was just a toddler.
Because she had the same exact name as her mother, her family began calling her “Little Nonnie.” This adorable nickname undoubtedly prevented a lot of confusion, especially considering that Madonna grew up in such a big family. Her “Little Nonnie” nickname wouldn’t last for very long because she lost her mother when she was just five years old.
She Resented Her Stepmother
Madonna’s dad remarried pretty shortly after her mother died. Madonna and her siblings were not huge fans of their new stepmom, Joan. She worked for the family as a housekeeper before tying the knot with Tony Ciccone. In reality, this marriage was more likely one of convenience than “true love.”
Tony had a hard time taking care of his kids without his first wife by his side, so Madonna spent a few years shuffling back and forth between the homes of other family members. Tony was probably partially motivated to marry Joan as a way to help him out with raising his six kids, which is no easy feat.
Joan Ciccone, Evil Stepmother?
Madonna and her siblings missed their mother terribly. However, it seems that Madonna developed a particular distaste for their dad’s new wife, Joan. According to Madonna, she bore the brunt of the housekeeping after her mother passed away. She and Joan did not get along.
She told “Time” in 1985 that she often felt like a real-life Cinderella because of the amount of work she had to do around the house. To this day, Madonna doesn’t really like to speak about her stepmother. When she does, though, she’s pretty vocal about how much she hated her as a kid and teenager. We guess there’s no love lost in that relationship.