CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Shania Twain, Madonna
Aired May 17, 2003 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, she's a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, and a whole lot superstar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her first video, it's so obvious, you know, to be wow, who is she?
ANNOUNCER: She grew up poor in Canada.
SHANIA TWAIN, MUSICIAN: We didn't always have enough money to eat properly or keep heating on.
ANNOUNCER: And tragedy in her 20s almost made her leave performing forever.
TWAIN: I thought, OK, they are not here to care whether I carry on with music or not.
ANNOUNCER: She managed to carry on and hit it big, but the country music scene wasn't quite ready for her seductive sound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nashville assumes that the reason it was selling because she was sexy, and sex sells.
ANNOUNCER: After a brief break that sparked rumors, she is back with a new album -- and a new baby boy. We go one-on-one with Shania Twain.
Then, a music legend who's created controversy, again, with a provocative video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really believe it would have been bong fires had that video run.
ANNOUNCER: From boy toy to material mom, and all the steps in between.
MADONNA, MUSICIAN: I feel like I've had many revelations over the last few years.
ANNOUNCER: Through television, tabloids and controversy, we have watched her grow and mature over the last 20 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's living her life (UNINTELLIGIBLE) now.
ANNOUNCER: The American life of Madonna. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. She is one of the most successful female artists in country and now in pop, and now Shania Twain is back. Back from two years of seclusion. Back with a new album and a new addition to her life. It is a life that has seen equal parts of great joy, unbearable sorrow and unimaginable fame. Sharon Collins has more.
SHARON COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With an explosive mix of sass and sex, she shimmied her way into pop music history. More Mariah than Minnie Hurle (ph) and offering a bold invitation to come on over, Shania Twain decimated the wall which divided the worlds of country and pop.
JOE LEVY, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, ROLLING STONE: Her country records are made like opera records. It's one little melody piled on top of another piled on top of another. It's catchier than a cold.
COLLINS: With six hit singles, 1997's "Come on Over" was a success beyond her wildest dreams, and as Nashville scratched its head, man, did she sell records.
VINCE GILL, COUNTRY SINGER: Thirty-five million records. I have been working for 30 years and haven't done that good.
COLLINS: But the road to riches has been anything but smooth.
LEVY: Nashville has been hostile to Shania. They don't like the fact that she doesn't wear denim shirt and cowboy boots. They don't like the fact that she is Canadian. They don't like the fact that her model was more Barbra Streisand or Madonna than it is Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynne.
COLLINS: Disappearing from the public eye in 2000, she returned this past November with a baby boy and her first studio album in five years.
And she's already breaking records. The first week alone, "Up!" sold 874,000 copies, the largest female debut of all time. But it's been a long, rough ride for this 37-year-old superstar, from poverty, death and scandal to a successful career rooted in her parent's dream.
TWAIN: I really am sincere when I say that my intentions were never to be a star. Music was all I had, that's what I knew, and that's what my parents told me I was best at, so that's what I did.
COLLINS: Shania Twain's story begins on August 28, 1965, in Windsor, Canada. She was born Eileen Regina Edwards, and following her parents' divorce, relocated with her mother and two sisters to the mining town of Timmins.
TWAIN: I love the smell, and I grew up building (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and shoveling tunnels through snowbanks my whole childhood. COLLINS: In June of 1970, Shania's mother Sharon remarried. His name was Jerry Twain, a full-blooded Ojabwe (ph) Indian.
CARRIE ANN BROWN, SISTER: My dad was a comedian, always funny, and my mom was very prim and proper, or tried to come across that way. She always had a lot to say.
COLLINS: But times were tough at #44 Montgomery. When he could find employment, Jerry Twain logged timber. He worked hard, dreamed big, but made little money.
TWAIN: Not a lot of normalcy and not a lot of stability either all of the time growing up. We didn't always have enough money to eat properly or to keep the heating on through the winter.
BROWN: We ate something called goulash a lot. Everything mixed in your fridge, you put macaroni, hamburger and it's a mixture, right? But our goulash was warm milk and bread.
COLLINS: Keeping the family afloat weighed heavily on Shania's mother, who often sank into deep depression.
BROWN: You know, she would stand in bed for a lot of hours in the day. We would sometimes not even see her, unless we would go in and say, you know, "hi, mom."
COLLINS: Music became the family's only solace. Free and abundant in a home where even school lunch was a luxury.
TWAIN: I would just pack up my guitar and walk five minutes up the road, and I would be in a bush somewhere, and I would start a little camp fire, and I'd sit out there all day and just write music, sing songs.
BROWN: She was always listening to the radio, always writing songs and always singing. And I remember, when we used to go to town, she would just be singing, and I used to say, "Eileen, shh, you are singing outloud. I was embarrassed, but she didn't care.
COLLINS: With the need to make money and a child who loved to sing, Sharon Twain booked 8-year-old Shania at every open mike she could find. Soon, newspapers took notice, and a local telethon put her on the air.
TWAIN: My mother the performing bug. She wanted me to get up on stage. I was really the type of kid who just wanted to stay in my bedroom and sing with the door closed, and write songs and never tell anybody about them.
COLLINS: A blurry-eyed grade schooler by day, pint-sized lounge singer by night, note-booking was off-limits.
NATASHA STOYNOFF, CORRESPONDENT, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: They would drive her around, wake her up in the middle of the night to go play after last call at the local bars, because she was not allowed into the bars until there was no alcohol being served. BROWN: I remember my dad coming up. She'd be rubbing her eyes, you know, because she would be sleeping. She just knew that that's what she had to do.
COLLINS: In 1978, the late nights paid off. Thirteen-year-old Shania made her Canadian TV debut.
Billed as Ally Twain, the appearance only fueled her passion for music, but getting Shania to these performances was becoming expensive.
BROWN: Getting Eileen to the gigs and doing these things always -- was always a struggle. But they just found a way to do it, because my mom was very, very determined that something was going to happen with Eileen.
COLLINS: In the spring of 1983, the 17-year-old got her first break, hired as a lead singer for a rock band in Toronto. With a blessing of her parents, she headed out on her own.
TWAIN: Everybody was planning on -- you know, making college plans and off to university, and I was basically just going to be a singer.
COLLINS: Coming up, Shania raises eyebrows, going toe to toe with the good old boys of country music.
LEVY: Famously, Shania exposed her belly button. This is not a very Nashville thing to do, apparently.
COLLINS: But first, late night news shatters the Twain family.
BROWN: I don't think there could have been a worse day for any of us.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COLLINS: For Shania Twain, the journey to music icon has been anything but easy. Her impoverished childhood, just the first of many hurdles. The next and by far the greatest would come in November of 1987.
TWAIN: My parents (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to always sing country music, and that was what I considered more of the music of my childhood. And as a teenager, I moved on to these, whatever the bars were hiring, that's what I did.
COLLINS: And by 1982, 17-year-old Shania had moved on to rock 'n' roll in the city of Toronto, fronting the band Longshot. Ironically, it was. The group flopped.
Back in Timmins, the Twains were doing well. Having received a small business loan, they now oversaw a tree replanting business, and every summer, Shania returned home to work alongside her parents in the Canadian bush.
Times were good, but they would not last.
BROWN: Well, I didn't find out until 10:00. Our friend came to pick me up and told me, so I don't think there could be have been a worse day for any of us.
COLLINS: In the cold afternoon of November 1, 1987, Shania's parents were heading to a work site on a remote logging road in northern Ontario. The last they heard was a horn.
BROWN: It was a head-on collision with a loaded log truck. They didn't have much of a chance. The sun was in my dad's eyes, and he just couldn't see. Couldn't see where he was going, I guess.
COLLINS: Jerry and Sharon Twain died instantly. Carry Ann made the call to Shania in Toronto.
BROWN: She just screamed and cried and you know, screamed and cried, because you just don't want to believe it.
TWAIN: Now that my parents were gone, I thought, OK, they're not here to care whether I carry on with music or not. All these years, I'd spent doing music and working as a songwriter, and now very people whose wish and dream it really was, is gone. It was a very strange, strange feeling. And very strange time in my life life.
STOYNOFF: Shania was thrust into this world of being an adult and being a mother and father to her siblings, so she took care of the mortgage, she paid the bills, she did the laundry, she got the kids to the school.
BROWN: It wasn't never, you know, why couldn't you just do you this? I've got my own thing going on. It was never anything, anything like that. She just knew what she had to do.
COLLINS: But eight months later, money was running out. A friend pulled a deeply depressed Shania aside.
TWAIN: She just said, "look, you can't just quit, please don't, don't throw your talent away, don't quit." She said there is a place called Deerhurst. If you can get in there, then you can live in one town and bring in a weekly paycheck. So I went and auditioned.
LYNN HILL, FRIEND: I remember her audition here when she first came to Deerhurst, and the producer had brought her over there, and there was a whole huge room full of guests, and what better place to audition someone than in front of an audience? So she went up there, and everybody just went -- OK, we'll hire her now. It was just a whole different experience. I'd never sung in high heels. I don't think I had ever won high heels. Girls were dancing in bikinis, and I never got the confidence to do that, but I certainly learned how to wear fishnets and wear gowns, and just get more in touch with the feminine side.
LEVY: She was a show girl. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our lead vocalist, Eileen.
LEVY: She did two, three shows a day, singing the same songs time after time after time, and she learns a work ethnic that nothing else, that she sticks to to this day. The woman works hard.
COLLINS: And that's exactly what Richard Frank, a famous Nashville attorney thought, when he caught the 11:00 p.m. Deerhurst show in August of 1990. Having represented everyone from the Everly Brothers to Patsy Cline, he couldn't believe his ears or eyes.
BROWN: When she walked out, you couldn't see her first. You could just hear this voice.
HILL: And she wore this green dress, and that is what knocked out the audience. She came out and sang this song and blew everybody away.
BROWN: I think that was the turning point for me when I thought, you know, I am just getting goose bumps just thinking about it. You know what? This is it! I mean, listen to that, look at that. Then that is pretty much when things started to move.
COLLINS: With siblings now grown and with the backing of Richard Frank, the 25-year-old headed to Nashville. Just as her parents had dreamed, she was going country!
First order of business? A name change. Eileen became Shania, an Indian word meaning "on my way." And within two years, she was.
TWAIN: I thought, well, I'd better go out and get myself a recording contract, and that happened very quickly for me.
COLLINS: The debut album "Shania Twain" hit the stores in April 1993. It sold a disappointing 100,000 copies, a virtual dud in the record industry.
LUKE LEWIS, CHAIRMAN, DMG, NASHVILLE: We missed a hit. We think there was a big hit on that record, called "What Made You Say That?" It was a hit video, as it turned out, but we just couldn't get it to work at the radio station.
COLLINS: That's because Nashville didn't know what to think. The midriff-bearing Canadian was almost too hot to handle, and CMT, Country Music Television, initially banned the debut video.
LEVY: Famously, Shania exposed her belly button. This is not a very Nashville thing to do, apparently. But you know, everyone in Nashville has a belly button. Maybe they don't show it, but they've got one.
COLLINS: Coming up, Shania survives her first taste of the tabloids.
TWAIN: I have never lied about who I am and where I come from.
COLLINS: And later, the phenomenon of "Come on Over" breaks the boundaries of country and pop.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COLLINS: By 1993, a Canadian breeze had blown south, and with sassy style and killer curves, Shania Twain was about to tip the scale on hee-haw and honky tonk.
GILL: Her first video, it's so obvious, you know, to be, wow, who is she? I'm a guy.
COLLINS: Unfortunately, the sexy beach video was the only thing catching people's eye. With lackluster sales, her debut album was a flop. But in London, a reclusive rock producer by the name of Mutt Lange had caught the sultry video and he saw more than just eye candy.
TWAIN: Mutt and I first met over the phone. I had no idea that he was some big-time producer.
BROWN: She didn't know he was. And it was kind of funny, because we were at fanfare, and she was giving him a photograph. And she didn't even know how to spell Mutt, m-u-t -- I didn't know who this is.
TWAIN: It was all very sweet and beautiful, really.
BROWN: And of course, those who knew who he was, were like, Eileen, he's a god. What do you mean you don't know who he is?
COLLINS: Turns out Mutt Lange was one of rock's most legendary producers, and it was hardly a shock she didn't recognize him. As brilliant as he was private, he never gave interviews. He never took photographs. And with a net worth estimated at half a billion, that faceless name was synonymous with success.
LEVY: Mutt is famous as a man who produced AC/DC, the Cars, Billy Ocean, Celine Dion, the Backstreet Boys, Britney. What do these people have in common? Well, when Mutt Lange produced their record, they sold a lot of records.
COLLINS: And in January of 1995, that's exactly what "The Woman in Me" did. Produced by Lange, Shania's second album was pure cash register gold.
LEWIS: When we finally got to the end of it and realized that we sold more than 10 million records, we were kind of going, everybody did a pretty good job here, you know? And she and Mutt had created magic.
COLLINS: They had also fallen in love, marrying just months after their first encounter at the Nashville fanfare. TWAIN: From that day on, we just got closer and closer. Within six months, we were married. It was very fast. Very wonderful and beautiful.
COLLINS: And very successful. Less than three years after her recording debut, Shania Twain surpassed Patsy Cline as the best selling female country artist of all time.
TWAIN: It has been a hell of a ride.
COLLINS: The ride was about to get bumpy.
LEVY: Nashville was pissed off. Nashville assumes that the reason it was selling was because she was sexy, and sex sells.
COLLINS: Matters got worse when she chose to market the album with music videos, rather than a tour.
LEWIS: For some reason, people thought maybe she couldn't perform.
QUESTION: And when are you going to tour now?
TWAIN: '97. We'll put a tour together in the fall.
QUESTION: What's taking so long?
COLLINS: But the hardest blow came in April 1996. Her hometown newspaper accused the singer of lying about her Indian heritage. The fact that she had talked about being Native, and then when they found out that her father was actually her stepfather, they thought that she was overstating it for publicity's sake, which to Shania, is not true.
COLLINS: She responded days later in this handout video.
TWAIN: I have never lied about who I am and where I come from.
COLLINS: Badly stung by the past year and a half, Shania returned to the studio, and 12 months later, in 1997, audiences got their first glimpse of Shania Twain. On the road, on tour, with an explosive new album.
LEVY: "Come on Over" is a career-making record. It's an icon- making record. It's the record where she went from a country performer who sold a lot of records to a pop performer who had a massive public image.
COLLINS: It was a country/pop crossover unlike anything ever seen, selling 34 million copies. To this day, it's the biggest selling female album of all time. A feat even Nashville couldn't dispute.
And at the 1999 CMA Awards, Shania rocked the house and took home the big one, "Entertainer of the Year."
GILL: I was hosting the show, she won, I went back out, and I said, well, that ought to shut everybody up.
COLLINS: And then in January 2000, at the top of her game, Shania said good-bye to the spotlight and disappeared. Rumors circulated that her marriage to Lange was on the rocks.
LEWIS: I have never understood where rumors about their sort of breakup ever came from. Certainly didn't come out of any facts that I know of.
COLLINS: Retreating to their 46-room chateau in Switzerland, it seems the exhausted star just needed a break. And on August 12, 2001, the couple welcomed their first child, a baby boy, Eja DeAngelo.
TWAIN: He's beautiful and sweet and loving. All my emotions are heightened somehow. More love, so much more love in my life.
COLLINS: In November 2002, Shania emerged from her self-imposed exile with another new arrival. Her fourth album, "Up!" Complete with not one but three disks, "Up!" is going, well, up. And with 3.5 million sold to date, the industry is abuzz.
LEWIS: Our hopes are that "Up!" outsells "Come on Over" and she can be the biggest seller for music ever, never mind having to put woman in front of it.
BROWN: I am sure my mom knew it all along, that Eileen wasn't just going to be a star. She was going to be a superstar.
COLLINS: A superstar who wrote the single "From This Moment On," dedicating the words to two very important people.
BROWN: I cry every time I hear that song, because it was a song for my parents. Because of Eileen, my mom's dreams came true. I can just imagine my mom saying, I told you, Jerry. I can imagine that that's what they are feeling.
COLLINS: Beyond the fame and fortune, at the core it seems, she will always remain Eileen. Born with a musical gift and a parent's dream that drove her to where she stands today.
ZAHN: Shania Twain is in the process of gearing up for her next world tour. It's slated to begin in late September. You can also catch her on May 21 at the Academy of Country Music Awards, where she'll be performing her latest single, "Forever and for Always."
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Madonna's new video, not nearly as hot as the original she yanked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she had released that video, the reaction that the Dixie Chicks got would have paled in comparison.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: A look at what caused all the controversy, that's next.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. She grabbed our attention two decades ago as the boy toy, the material girl who loved to shock and awe. Now in her mid-40s, Madonna is the married mother of two. The middle age hasn't mellowed her too much. Madonna's latest album, "American Life," was as we have come to expect, wrought with controversy. Here again is Sharon Collins.
COLLINS (voice-over): For 20 years, she's dazzled us. For 20 years, she's puzzled us. And just when you thought this 44-year-old was trying to settle down, "American Life," Madonna's 10th album hit the stores and the headlines this past April. Controversy surrounded "American Life's" debut video, scheduled for release on April 4. The four and a half minute clip featured explicit war imagery, and a fatigued-clad superstar tossing grenades. It was perceived as an anti-war message, just as the country was going to war.
PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: If she had released that video, the reaction that the Dixie Chicks got would have paled in comparison.
COLLINS: The material girl was once again pushing our buttons.
MADONNA: I really put a lot of thought and effort into it, and I want people to view it and make their own decisions.
COLLINS: But days after this interview, amid concerns the message would be misunderstood, Madonna herself pulled the plug. She released a statement on March 31, just four days before the video was set to debut, quote -- " I have decided not to release my new video, due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for. I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video."
CASTRO: Thank God it didn't run. I really believe there would have been bong fires, had that video run.
COLLINS: Seemingly it was a wise decision. The re-cut version is now a constant on MTV. And the album, no surprise, a hit. It rocketed to number one upon release.
MADONNA: I mean, at the end of the day, I don't really mean for the record to be provocative and controversial, but I feel like I've had many revelations over the last few years, and that I feel the need to express that, in song.
COLLINS: Through scandal, reinvention and redemption, she's kept fans and critics alike interested for more than two decades.
NILE RODGERS, PRODUCER, "LIKE A VIRGIN": She's what I call a true star. Even after all of these years, I still am curious as to -- I wonder what she eats for breakfast now, and that's because she's inherently interesting.
COLLINS: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born to a homemaker and an automotive engineer on August 16, 1958. The family lived in an unremarkable suburb of Detroit.
MADONNA: I won't say that we were poor, but we definitely -- I would say we were lower middle class, and I come from a really big family.
COLLINS: Named after her mother, a young Madonna worked hard to stand out in a family of six kids. Legend has it she would dance and sing on tabletops when the mood struck here. But tragedy rocked the world of this bubbly girl at a young age.
J. RANDY TARABORRELLI, AUTHOR, "MADONNA: AN INTIMATE BIOGRAPHY": Many people know that her mother died when she was 5 years old. But what people don't know is just how terrible that last year of Madonna's mother's life was for Madonna.
COLLINS: At Adam's High School in Rochester, Michigan, Madonna lost herself in theater and dance.
MADONNA: I was more of a dancing kid than a singing kid. I mean I was -- I sang in school choirs and I sang in school musicals, but I was much more interested in dancing than singing.
COLLINS: Even as teenager, Madonna Ciccone made sure she wasn't overlooked.
TARABORRELLI: She would do stunts as a cheerleader that would, you know, by design, show her panties or she would wear flesh colored panties while she was doing cheers so that you would think she didn't have any on.
COLLINS: In high school, Madonna as a straight A student. Even then, driven to succeed.
KAREN CRAVEN, MADONNA'S CHEERLEADING COACH: She was willing to practice a lot, study a lot. She wasn't a goof off. And she didn't sluff off. She always worked hard.
COLLINS: That hard work landed her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. But one year of college was enough for Madonna. She was in a hurry to get on to bigger things. So in 1978, she arrived in the heart of New York's CD Times Square with little money and no place to live.
MADONNA: I danced in a lot of companies in New York for years and realized that I was going to be living a hand-to-mouth existence for the rest of my life. COLLINS: As a fixture on the New York club scene, Madonna got an influential DJ to record a demo tape for her that featured a dance track called "Everybody."
MADONNA: People would hear me sing and they'd say, "Hey, your, you know, your voice isn't bad." And I'd say, "Oh really?" I mean, I never had any training. I never wanted to be a singer. That's not how I started out.
COLLINS: The demo tape eventually landed in the hands of Seymour Stein...
SEYMOUR STEIN, CHAIRMAN, SIRE RECORDS, INC.: Terrific!
COLLINS: ... chairman of London's Sire Records.
STEIN: She was singing with a lot of heart and that's what came across. I was in the hospital, so I played it over and over again and I really, really liked it. I wanted to sign her it immediately.
COLLINS: "Everybody" became a hit on dance floors and in 1983; Madonna's self-titled debut was released. The single, "Holiday" earned Madonna an appearance on "American Bandstand" and an infamous post performance interview with host, Dick Clark.
DICK CLARK, CEO, DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS: What are your dreams? What's left?
MADONNA: To rule the world.
CLARK: There you go. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Madonna.
People would say, but how did you know when you say you knew she was a star? It wasn't from my listening, hearing or seeing anything. I watched the kids and they loved her. She had a -- some sort of a -- kind of a bizarre outfit on and she looked different and she was different and they loved her.
COLLINS: When Madonna's story continues, how she turned a steamy video banned by MTV into a marketing coup.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
COLLINS: By early 1985, Madonna's second album, "Like a Virgin," and its number one single had catapulted her to fame. It also established her as an artist out to push the public's buttons.
TARABORRELLI: At the beginning of her career, she was always one step ahead of her detractors, in the sense that she made a decision to present herself with a tongue-in-cheek sort of a wink and a nod sense of irony.
COLLINS: In her critically acclaimed film debut, "Desperately Seeking Susan," Madonna essentially played herself. MADONNA: Why don't I get some pizza and I'll meet you at home?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got a place?
MADONNA: Not exactly, but I'm working on it.
TARABORRELLI: You knew it was real. You knew that she really was this sort of boy-toy material girl.
COLLINS: On the set of her "Material Girl" video, Madonna met the man she once called the love of her life. Sean Penn was an interesting choice for a woman who loved the spotlight.
TARABORRELLI: During this time in her life, she was constantly surrounded by the media and by paparazzi. She loved it. She had worked very hard to get this kind of attention. Sean, on the other hand, as he explained to me, felt that it was a real intrusion.
COLLINS: So much so that more than once, Penn's fists landed on a photographer's face. But love won out, and on her 27th birthday in Malibu, California, Madonna became Mrs. Sean Penn in a ceremony off limits to the media.
MADONNA: I didn't like the attention that, you know, the focus on the state of our marriage. I like attention when it's about the work, but not about relationships.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": And he didn't like it either.
MADONNA: No, he hated it.
COLLINS: And the critics hated them in the movie they did together, "Shanghai Surprise." Their off-screen relationship wasn't faring much better. Four years into the marriage, things fell apart. Madonna filed for divorce on January 5, 1989, amid rumors of physical abuse. The breakup left Madonna emotionally scarred.
TARABORRELLI: She wasn't used to failures. So that was a bitter pill to swallow. It was very difficult for her.
COLLINS: In March of 1989, Madonna released a fourth album; her most artistically mature to date. It spawned three number one singles, including the self-penned "Like a Prayer."
The song's video came complete with burning crosses and sexual innuendo, awakening the ire of religious groups.
TARABORRELLI: Well, Madonna's always had sort of a love-hate relationship with the Catholic faith. You know, a lot of what she was doing back in those years was to get attention and also, to make a certain statement that these really are just symbols and that perhaps the Catholic faith is really about more than that.
COLLINS: The hype only added fuel to the fire of Madonna's stardom, a lesson the business savvy performer would not forget. Her 1991 video, "Justify My Love," was even too steamy for MTV. The channel refused to air the video, and Madonna refused to re-edit it. Instead, she made the video available in stores, where it went on to sell more than half a million copies. Her detractors saw the successful turn of events as a thinly veiled exercise in shrewd marketing.
ALEK KESHISHIAN, DIRECTOR, "TRUTH OR DARE": I got the phone call the day that MTV banned the video. And it was not Madonna gleefully jumping up and down, saying, yes, yes, yes, they fell right into it, at all. It was a woman saying, I've just spent three weeks of my life on this video, you know, and now it might not get seen at all. And then she figures out what to do, and that's what makes her a great businesswoman.
COLLINS: In the fall of 1994, Madonna released the romantic ballad "Take a Bow," appearing soft and vulnerable in the video.
It was her most successful single ever, staying at number one for nine weeks. At the same time, a transformation was beginning to take place in Madonna's personal life.
During the filming of "Evita," a role Madonna had lobbied after for years, she discovered she was pregnant. Her personal trainer, Carlos Leon, was the father. In October of 1996, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, affectionately known as Lola, was born. At the age of 38, Madonna became a mother.
MADONNA: Every day, I'm in complete wonderment of her.
COLLINS: Shortly after Lourdes was born, "Evita" was released.
Madonna's work on her voice and her acting paid off. In January of 1997, she was rewarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press with a Golden Globe.
NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: And the winner is Madonna, "Evita."
MADONNA: I just feel that what's happening to me is a perfect example that, of, you know, if you just keep on going and you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything.
COLLINS: Coming up, Madonna gets swept away by a new husband, and scorching reviews.
COLLINS: After more than 15 years in the public eye and almost as many incarnations, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone emerged in the late '90s as a woman and mother in search of the deeper meanings in life.
MADONNA: I've studied Hinduism. I studied Buddhism, Taoism.
KING: You believe in a supreme being?
MADONNA: Absolutely, but I also believe that all paths lead to God.
COLLINS: Madonna's newfound spirituality came through on her 1998 release, "Ray of Light." Critics called the album the best of her career.
TARABORRELLI: It sort of galvanized a great fascination, and people became really interested in what she had to say, because I know -- they know that -- they knew that she was saying something personal.
COLLINS: The new Madonna was a far cry from the hard-edged sexual expressionist of the early '90s.
TARABORRELLI: The popular conception about Madonna is that she has reinvented herself over and over and over again, and it's often put out there as a pejorative notion, in the sense that this is a woman who really has no identity.
STEIN: You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time. It's 19 years, come on, give the girl credit. She's a star, she's, really -- come on.
NIKI HARIS, MADONNA BACKUP SINGER: It's just a journey. I mean I think she's just like everybody else. She's a work in progress. She just happens to be playing it out in front of cameras.
COLLINS: In 1999, Madonna finally got what she wanted.
KING: You win the Grammy. Let's say, you win the Grammy. I predict. Your lips to God.
COLLINS: "Ray of Light" won four Grammies. Her spiritual rebirth had been validated, and one year later, Madonna announced she was pregnant for the second time. Guy Ritchie, an edgy British film director, was the father. Rocco Ritchie was born in Los Angeles August 11, 2000; at the same time the title track from his mom's forthcoming album, "Music," had planted itself in the "Billboard" top 40.
MADONNA: I always want to write good music. And I always -- you know, every time I go in the studio, I always think of God, I hope I can keep coming up with the goods and somehow it just happens.
COLLINS: Madonna's private life was also flourishing. On December 21, 2000, Madonna christened Rocco and married his dad the next day at Skibo Castle in Scotland. The marriage wasn't a signal, however, that Madonna was ready to settle down entirely.
In June of 2001 at the age of 42, Madonna hit the road touring for the first time in eight years. With guitar in hand, her "Drowned" world tour hit 17 countries in four months. It grossed staggering $75 million, and drew critical acclaim.
Unfortunately, for Madonna, critics weren't so kind when it came to seeing the pop icon on the big screen.
CASTRO: "Swept Away" was probably among the top 10 big bombs in movie history. It was yanked after three weeks, which frankly was three weeks too long.
COLLINS: Acting under husband Guy Ritchie's direction, 2002's "Swept Away" grossed just $600,000.
Luckily, however, she had another career to fall back on. And on April 22, 2003, "American Life" hit the stores, and the pop diva returned. The media blitz was thunderous, a 44-page pictorial in "W" magazine, a guest spot on NBC's "Will & Grace."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a gay man, I am oddly drawn to you.
MADONNA: Yes, I get that a lot.
COLLINS: And of course, as always, there was controversy. Not only had she changed the content of "American Life's" infamous music video; her look had changed as well.
MADONNA: People seem terribly preoccupied with the color of my hair. I am terribly preoccupied with the color of my hair, obviously, or I wouldn't change it so often.
COLLINS: Ever evolving, ever changing, but most surprising is the once material girl's attitude.
MADONNA: There was a time when I was more -- thought less about the things I said, and I was rebellious. And I now feel differently about life. So just being provocative for the sake of being provocative doesn't really interest me.
COLLINS: And as "American Life" draws mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, she is hoping her message is clear.
MADONNA: I didn't just set out to make a statement about the war. It's also my point of view about our society's preoccupation and fascination with the world of superficiality, beauty, glamour, you know, all of these values that we have, you know, are they the things that will bring us happiness? And that's really what my record is questioning. It's what the single is questioning. It's what the video is questioning.
STEIN: If you just look back at all the female superstars that have come and gone in this span of her career, I think it's just not a safe bet anymore to bet against her.
MADONNA: I think I have arrived at this place in the world for a reason, and that reason is way beyond and much bigger than fame and fortune and being popular. It's about helping people, and I hope that I can do that through my work.
ZAHN: Madonna will soon add the title of author to her list of credits. She's currently at work on a five-book deal, writing contemporary children's stories. The first, "The English Roses," is expected to hit book stores sometime in December. That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, two women who have beaten the odds and broken down barriers. A look at rocker Melissa Etheridge and comedian Margaret Cho. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us.
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