Madonna’s Now Adult Children Are Her Spitting Image
Feb 19, 2021 by apost team
Pop icon Madonna is a mother to six children: Lourdes "Lola" Maria Ciccone Leon, Rocco Ritchie, David Banda Mwale Ciccone Ritchie, Chifundo Mercy James, and twins Stella and Estere Ciccone. With a mix of biological and adopted children, Madonna has a diverse and talented family.
We all know Madonna as a singer, performer, and cultural icon. Throughout the '80s and all the way through to the 2000s, Madonna brought us hits such as 1986's Papa Don't Preach, 1990's Vogue, and 2003's Nothing Fails. In this photo, Madonna is seen in her iconic red kimono look while she performed Nothing Really Matters at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards in 1999. With so many live performances under her belt, it's no surprise that Madonna continued to flourish on stage even after her prime eras, well into the 2010s.
After reaching international stardom, Madonna did a world tour in 2012 called MDNA. Here she is pictured performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California to kick-off the start of her tour in North America. Across multiple decades, Madonna has proven that she is a top-quality performer. However, great music and iconic looks are not the only cultural contributions that Madonna has given us.Madonna (2012), (Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)
Now in her 60s, Madonna has not only a rich and fruitful discography, but she also has a large family of six kids. The singer's family consists of both biological and adopted children, making for a unique group. However, Madonna's choice to adopt left her with many challenges. In a 2017 interview with People, the world-renowned pop star opened up on the difficulties of adopting her four younger children from Malawi, Africa, and the criticism she faced.
Madonna said in reference to her first adopted son, David Banda:
“Every newspaper said I kidnapped him. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Wait a minute. I’m trying to save somebody’s life....' I did everything by the book. That was a real low point for me. I would cry myself to sleep.”
Despite the variety of struggles adoption posed, Madonna adopted four kids in total.Madonna (2016), (Jeff Kravitz/BBMA2016/FilmMagic)
According to The Guardian, Madonna adopted David back in 2006 when he was 13 months old. David was born in the village of Lipunga, which is located in Western Malawi, Africa. His biological father, Yohane Banda, felt that he needed to give David up to an orphanage as he didn't think he could take care of the boy on his own.
The adoption came under the spotlight when Madonna and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie did not adhere to adoption rules, which, according to The Guardian, "require that foreigners be resident in the country for 18 months before adopting a child to ensure welfare officials have time to monitor their suitability."
Madonna (2017), (John Shearer/Getty Images)
"What he has more than anything is focus and determination. I'm pretty sure he got that from me," the singer said of David in 2019."He's the one I have the most in common with. I feel like he gets me; he has more of my DNA than any of my children so far. Let's see what happens—it's still early days for everyone."
Mercy James is Madonna's lesser-known child. According to thethings.com, Madonna told The Guardian magazine in an interview that she opened the first intensive care hospital in 2009, in Malawi, and named it after Mercy James. She said, "I wanted to celebrate the beautiful spirit of Malawi. The hospital is called The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care." According to People, Mercy was adopted in 2007.Madonna (2019), (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Back in 2017, Madonna announced on Instagram that she successfully adopted her twin daughters, Stella and Estere Ciccone. She wrote:
"I can officially confirm I have completed the process of adopting twin sisters from Malawi and am overjoyed that they are now part of our family. I am deeply grateful to all those in Malawi who helped make this possible, and I ask the media please to respect our privacy during this transitional time. Thank you also to my friends, family and my very large team for all your support and Love!"
According to the Daily Mail, the Grammy winner threw a lavish party for their eighth birthday in Jamaica in August of 2020. Aside from her adopted children, Madonna has two biological children.David Banda Mwale, Madonna (2014), (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Madonna's eldest—and first biological child—is 23-year-old Lourdes "Lola" Maria Ciccone Leon. Madonna had Lola with her ex Carlos Leon, who is a Cuban actor. The pair met in 1994 when Carlos worked as the star's personal trainer and welcomed their daughter two years later on October 14, 1996.
In a 2019 interview with Vogue, Madonna talked about how her two biological children, Rocco and Lola, took on some of her characteristics. When talking about Lola, Madonna said her daughter "is insanely talented. I’m green with envy because she’s incredible at everything she does—she’s an incredible dancer, she’s a great actress, she plays the piano beautifully, she’s way better than me in the talent department."David Banda, Madonna (2016), (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Bulgari)
Lola keeps a low-profile, but paparazzi pictures of her attending events never fail to make conversation about how much she's looking more and more like her mom. Take this one at the FDA/Vogue Fashion Fund 15th Anniversary event in Brooklyn, New York back in 2018, for instance. Anybody can see that she's inherited Madonna's gorgeous eyes and facial structure.Mercy James (2011), (Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Rocco John Ritchie is the only biological child of Madonna and Guy Ritchie. Born on August 11, 2000, Rocco is a dual citizen of both the US and the UK. After his parents had broken up, Rocco was embroiled in a bitter custody battle between Madonna and Guy in 2015. The then-teenager had allegedly abandoned his mom's Rebel Heart world tour and gone to London to be with his father, reported The Sun. And although the court declared that he should live with his mother, Rocco refused and instead lives with his father in London. As well as his siblings that are Madonna's children, Rocco also has two half-brothers and a half-sister from his father's marriage to model Jacqui Ainsley.
Living in London, Rocco has a number of friends that happen to have famous parents as well. He's close with David and Victoria Beckham's son Brooklyn Beckham, as well as Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher's daughter Anais Gallagher.
Like his older sister, according to South China Morning Post, Rocco doesn’t enjoy being in the limelight. He only did one media interview when he was 12, appearing alongside his mum on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Besides the occasional paparazzi shots of him skateboarding or hanging out with his friends, the eldest son of Madonna has stayed under the radar. According to the Queensland Times, he deleted his 138,000-follower Instagram account back in 2016.Lourdes Leon, Madonna (2011), (Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Considering Madonna's incredible success throughout the last four decades and her life as a global superstar, it might seem like her career is her sole focus and her kids are just there to go along with her. But in 2018, she made a major life decision that was actually all for her kids, or specifically David. That year, she and the rest of her family and professional entourage uprooted their lives and moved to Lisbon, Portugal, all in the hopes of furthering David's budding professional soccer career. The then 13-year-old earned a spot on the prestigious Benfica youth team.
While there, however, the soul of the city spoke to Madonna, who initially had just planned on becoming a "soccer mom," she told Vogue Italia, as reported by The Sun. She added: “After a while, I just said, ‘Well it’s not meant to be, I’ve got to do something with my time.'” That something turned out to be her true passion in life—music. She told the publication that she got inspired:
Lourdes Leon (2018), (John Lamparski/WireImage/GettyImages)
“Yeah I did because I could tell that all these people were performing and singing and playing music because they love music and it was a way for them to share. It has nothing to do with Instagram followers, or their pay cheque, or how much they were being paid.”
It turns out she has comfortably fit right into Lisbon's local music scene. Giovanni Bianco, who is Vogue Italia's creative director, spoke about the magazine's feature on Madonna and her life in Portugal to Women's Wear Daily. Speaking about the photoshoots, which took place in Lisbon's streets and at Madonna's favorite Tejo bar, where the singer enjoys listening to Portuguese and African music, Bianco said:
“She knows the musicians there, it’s like a laboratory, there’s music from Cabo Verde and she loves fado [a Lisbon-based music genre]."
Bianco confirmed that Madonna's life in Lisbon was serving as inspiration for the latest album she was working on, which was eventually released in 2019. The album, titled Madame X, is the artist's 14th studio record and received generally positive reviews. In an interview with Billboard, Madonna talked about how she immersed herself in the local Lisbon music scene. Initially thinking her time there would be "fun and adventurous," she instead found her days filled with school pickups and soccer matches. She explained:
Rocco Ritchie, Madonna (2012), (Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Image)
"I got a little bit depressed and thought, ‘I’ve got to make friends and I got to meet people.’ So I started to meet people and go out a bit—I'm not like a goer-outer per se—and most of the people I met were artists—either painters or musicians. I started getting invited to people’s homes and they have things called living room sessions. So everyone would congregate. People would bring wine, they would bring food, sit around the table. And then suddenly musicians would get up and start playing instruments and singing fado music and samba music. I was like, ‘Wait. What’s going on here? Like artists just get up and perform and you don’t get paid and they're just doing it for fun and love and passion?’"
Needless to say, Lisbon and its rich cultural scene provided the perfect impetus for Madonna and her music. She talked in the same Billboard interview about how music ties people together through a shared language, saying:
"No matter where we are. Where we travel. No matter who we’re with or what language we speak, when we hear music, even if we don’t understand the words, we can still connect to the vibe, to the soul, to the feeling, the emotion that the artist put into that music. You can still relate to it. It doesn’t matter what language people are singing in, or the beat or genre. We will always, in a primal way, be connected through music."
She also talked about how Lisbon's diverse mix of cultures contributed to the feel of Madame X, which features a host of international artists including Colombian musician Maluma, Brazilian singer Anitta, French producer Mirwais, and others. She explained:
Rocco Ritchie (2018), (David M. Benett/GettyImagesEntertainment/GettyImages)
"I feel that my record, because Lisbon is a melting pot of culture, from Angola to Spain to Brazil to France—I had the pleasure and honor to meet musicians from all these places and be inspired by their music and let it influence me. And that’s how all these songs came to be."
Still based in the Portuguese capital with her children, Madonna appears content with her new lifestyle. Not only is she prioritizing her son David's burgeoning soccer career, but she's also managed to find new inspiration and continue releasing music while there. Her life there seems to be a fairytale of sorts, even down to her home. Hello! Magazine did a feature that showed off her 18th-century Moorish Revival mansion just outside of the city and it's simply stunning. The large mansion features four bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and both a caretaker's cottage and a guesthouse, and it is believed that she purchased it in 2017 for a reported £6 million. She shares the home with her children and the family has been there during the pandemic in the last year. The home's interior is full of soft colors and even takes inspiration from Portuguese elements.
Defying the odds as always, Madonna is still following her own path like she has done since she first catapulted to fame. And now she is passing on that drive and freedom to her children. We look forward to seeing what they choose to do in their lives as they get older.
Madonna's family is so unique—did you know she had six children? And don't Lola and Rocco look just like their mom? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to send this to any Madonna fans you know!