Madonna: 11 avortements ; des rendez-vous de 15 minutes par jour avec ses enfants.
Want to see Mum? Book a 15-minute slot in her diary - what it's really like being Madonna's child
By Alison Boshoff
Last updated at 10:22 PM on 25th August 2010
With an expression of pure bliss, Mercy, the five-year-old girl adopted by Madonna from Malawi last year, turns up her face to receive a kiss from her Mama.
David, who was also adopted from Malawi in 2006, is in such a scramble to get a kiss, too, that his hat falls off. Have there ever been more delightful pictures of Madonna?
Seeing her snatch moments of affection with her two Malawian children on a street in London this week, you can't help but observe that the flame of maternal love burns brightly for the Material Girl.
So has Madonna suddenly gone all domestic on us? Well, as ever with Madonna, there is more to this that meets the eye. She is currently directing the movie W.E. and the children were visiting her on-set, where they interrupted her for only a brief moment.
After that, they were taken back home by Madonna's eldest child Lola, 13, Lola's father Carlos Leon, and a nanny, while Madonna got back to work.
Indeed, having a mother who is an international icon and 'hard-assed businesswoman' as she puts it, is a very particular circumstance.
Madonna apparently manages her diary in 15-minute increments. I'm told that she will have 'time with Lola' or 'time with David' marked into her schedule by one of her PAs.
The children are said to have appointments made to see their mother, who will help with homework, or sing, or even make food with them - but only if it has been planned in advance.
Madonna is well known for her inflexibility and her narcissistic focus. We should not be too surprised that this makes it impossible for her to be entirely involved in the domestic routine of raising a family.
For most of the day she is busy taking meetings and managing her enormous fortune - she's worth well over £230 million - and likes to keep a track of her investments.
She has other non-negotiable appointments. For example, she works out for two or three hours a day, every day.
'There are no short cuts to being Madonna,' she likes to declare. 'It's all about hard work.'
Neither will she consider skipping her Friday night Kabbalah meetings, and all her children are expected to attend. These meetings are not much of a family bonding experience as Madonna mainly just sits and concentrates.
At present there are three nannies who look after the children on a rota and play a large and important role in the children's lives. The nannies all speak French, as the children are being raised in a bilingual environment and do not have TVs in their rooms.
The children benefit from a readymade stable of playmates among the bodyguards, drivers assistants and other household staff who travel the globe with Madonna.
There are also two macrobiotic chefs who cook for everyone. There is no red meat, pork or refined sugars. Dairy products are very strictly limited - although Madonna is not such a zealot that the children don't get ice cream or cake on their birthdays.
It may not be conventional, but that Madonna adores her children with all her heart is beyond question. She adopted David Banda after trying for four difficult years to present Guy Ritchie with another child, and was said to have tried various fertililty treatments - conventional and through Kabbalah.
After her split from Ritchie she still found that she ached for another child, even though by this stage she is thought to have been going through the menopause. She fought for nearly a year to get her adoption of Mercy through the courts.
Madonna turned 52 this month and her friend Rosie O'Donnell let slip last year that the singer had been advising her on the use of progesterone cream to treat the hot flushes and other symptoms of the change. 'She was like - just get the cream,' said O'Donnell.
Madonna's version of motherhood is conducted on her own terms. She only desired children at an age where it was difficult for her to bear them - she fell pregnant with Rocco at 41 and suffered a traumatic birth when her placenta became partly detached.
Objections - such as the legal status of adoption in Malawi, or the feelings of the fathers of both children - have not stopped her. You wonder if, given this struggle, she ever pauses to consider the babies which she didn't bear, too.
For Madonna has in the past admitted to having had 'several' abortions as a young woman.
'Several sounds so many,' she told a television journalist in 1994, sounding chastened. The irony is that she spent her childbearing years not having children, and is finally embracing motherhood in her 50s.
Author Barbara Victor, who wrote a 2001 biography of the star, alleges that Madonna has had as many as 11 terminations since she was 18, most of them when she was a young singer and dancer struggling to make it in New York.
Victor says: 'There was a period when she was a struggling nobody, when it seems that Madonna used abortion pretty much as a method of birth control.'
Madonna's camp have never commented on the abortion stories, beyond denying that the total was 11. They were, however, unable to stop Victor going ahead with her book, Goddess.
'I had too much evidence, paperwork and too many interviews for them to keep it quiet,' Victor tells me.
She claims the first pregnancy Madonna terminated came during an affair with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the Eighties. The relationship ended as Madonna had been seeing other men and also did not want to stay with Basquiat as he descended into heroin addiction.
Victor asserts that there were further abortions when she was with producer and songwriter Jellybean Benitez. Another was in 1990 when she was seeing Tony Ward, a bisexual model who starred in her Justify My Love video.
Some say she was told there were abnormalities with the foetus, others that she felt Ward, who was not faithful to her, was not father material.
In either case, with regret, she seems to have terminated the pregnancy. This was her wild period, and when she produced the book Sex in 1992, she said: 'It was my own personal rebellion against my father, against the way I was raised, against culture, against society, against everything.'
However, she decided at the end of 1993 that she wanted to become a mother. She fixed on Denis Rodman, the bad-boy basketball player. In his book, Rodman said Madonna told him that she wanted him to father her child - but was frustrated that his schedule did not coincide with her ovulation. They split after only a few months.
In the autumn of 1994 she met Carlos Leon, an aspiring actor. Their relationship was on the rocks by the end of 1995 and she changed the locks at her New York apartment.
However, early the following year she fell pregnant by him, and delivered Lourdes on October 14, 1996.
For Madonna, who lost her mother at six, there was overwhelming joy. She told Vanity Fair: 'I knew that having a child would be an incredible healing experience... because I didn't have a mother, I just knew my karma was to have a girl.'
She and Carlos remain on reasonable terms. After Lourdes' birth, she said she would like another child, but 'would need to be in a stable relationship'.
She even told an interviewer that she was haunted by the terminations she had undergone. 'You always have regrets when you make those kinds of decisions, but you have to look at your lifestyle and ask yourself: "Am I at a place in my life where I can devote a lot of time to being the really good parent I want to be?"
However, there appears to have been a final abortion when she was 39 and pregnant by penniless British film runner Andy Bird. In an interview, he said: 'I don't think she was sure how she felt. She was experiencing the same turmoil I was.'
In the following year, 1998, she met Guy Ritchie, and had Rocco, her final biological baby, in August 2000.
It was not an easy nine months, and she once declared that: 'pregnancy is a big joke God played on women.'
Sadly, it seems that the famously humourless Madonna didn't want to be the butt of the joke too often.
Source: Mail Online.
Tender moment: Madonna gives adopted daughter Mercy a kiss as she visits her on her latest film set.