Known to her fans worldwide as the “queen of reinvention,” superstar Madonna shows no signs of stopping after more than three decades in the spotlight — and we love her for that! The multi-talented entertainer recently celebrated her 60th birthday, and in honor of this milestone, here are seven interesting facts you may not have known about her.
1. She just may be the most influential woman in history.
There’s no denying that Madonna’s impact on popular culture has been hugely significant. According to a 2015 analysis of Wikipedia searches on cultural figures, which was published in the scientific journal PLOS One, she’s actually the most influential woman of all-time, second only to Queen Elizabeth II. Talk about pop royalty!
2. She publicly apologized to Kevin Costner after dissing him.
Madonna has been implicated in her fair share of feuds over the years, many of them with other high-profile celebrities. In her 1991 documentary “Truth or Dare,” actor Kevin Costner visited the star backstage during her tour, and he called the singer’s performance “neat.” Madonna was not thrilled with the description, and after Costner left, mimed throwing up and quipped, “Anybody who says my show is ‘neat’ has to go.”
The pop star later showed contrition for the rude response. A few years later when the actor brought his daughters to one of Madonna’s concerts, she apologized for the incident onstage, saying simply, “I want to apologize to someone. I want to apologize to Kevin Costner.”
3. Her workouts are surprisingly simple.
In 2016, Madonna’s personal trainer Craig Smith told Self that The Material Girl stays in shape with just about 30 minutes of exercise, six days a week. Of course, that’s not counting the massive workout that she gets from rehearsing for her epic onstage performances!
4. She opened a pediatric cancer center in Malawi.
Last year, Madonna opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Malawi. The hospital is named after her daughter, Mercy James, whom she adopted from the country in 2009. The institute is funded by her charity, Raising Malawi, which she founded in 2006, the same year she also adopted her son, David Banda, from there.
5. She doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon.
An outspoken critic of the way society devalues women as they age, Madonna has said she plans on creating art for as long as she is alive.
“Does somebody ask Steven Spielberg why he’s still making movies?” she asked in a 2017 interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “Hasn’t he had enough success? Hasn’t he made enough money? Hasn’t he made a name for himself? Did somebody go to Pablo Picasso and say, ‘Okay, you’re 80 years old. Haven’t you painted enough paintings?’ No. I’m so tired of that question. I just don’t understand it. I’ll stop doing everything that I do when I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ll stop when I run out of ideas.”
6. Her kids are fans of her music.
Madonna is a mother to six children: Lourdes Leon, 21; Rocco Ritchie, 18; David Banda, 13; Mercy, 12; and twins Estere and Stella, 6. Although she’s been making hit music since way before any of them were even born, at least one of her kids seems to be into his mom’s work. On his birthday last September, Madonna posted a video of her son David grooving along to her 1983 hit song “Holiday”:
7. She’s a Guinness World Record-holder.
Since the release of her debut self-titled album in 1983, Madonna has gone on to have incredible commercial success, earning her a number of Guinness World Records, including Best-Selling Female Recording Artist and Highest-Grossing Music Tour (female).