Brother dishes about Madonna
By Hillel Italie
‘Madonna’s true love is herself,’ Ciccone says in memoir
“Life With My Sister Madonna” by Christopher Ciccone (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $26)
NEW YORK — A memoir by Madonna’s brother says the singer really does love her husband, director Guy Ritchie, but, apparently, not as much as she loves her career and herself.
“I hope that it is Kabbalah’s lesson that she is not the center of the universe,” Christopher Ciccone writes in “Life With My Sister Madonna,” scheduled to come out Tuesday but purchased in advance by The Associated Press.
The 342-page book, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, arrives at a time when Madonna has been linked to the breakup of the marriage between New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and his wife, Cynthia Rodriguez, who filed for divorce Monday.
Madonna issued a statement last Sunday saying that she has “nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study,” apparently referring to reports that the singer had introduced the ballplayer to Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism.
According to her brother, she and Ritchie love each other, despite rumors that they are splitting up. He believes they are “passionately committed” to staying married, with the help of Kabbalah.
Christopher Ciccone, 47, worked often with his older sister, designing and directing her “Girlie Show” tour in 1993 and serving as artistic director of her 1991 documentary, “Madonna: Truth or Dare.” But in his book, he says they are no longer close.
Madonna’s representative, Liz Rosenberg, told The Associated Press that the singer had not read the memoir but found it “very upsetting” that Ciccone “has decided to sell a book based on his sister.”
“I would have to assume she has come to terms with the fact that they do not have a close and loving relationship,” Rosenberg said. “And with the book coming out, I assume that will remove the chances of that ever happening.”
Ciccone’s memoir includes everything from gossip about Madonna’s sex life (she lost her virginity to a “guy named Russell”) to anecdotes about such ex-lovers as Sean Penn (Madonna called him a “paranoid control freak”) and Warren Beatty, who allegedly cornered Ciccone at a party and quizzed him intensely on what it was like to be gay.
“There is no subject that doesn’t fascinate Warren Beatty,” Rosenberg said.
The book offers snapshots of Bruce Willis allegedly hitting on other women while still married to Demi Moore, of Ciccone dancing with Moore at a drag queen club, of Madonna allegedly kissing Gwyneth Paltrow on the mouth during a New Year’s Eve dance at which Ciccone said that he and Ritchie got into a shoving match.
Ciccone describes Ritchie as a man’s man undisturbed by homophobic humor, whose emergence in Madonna’s life marks “the death knell” of the Ciccones’ brother-sister bond. Ciccone portrays Madonna as a show business survivor — bossy and self-absorbed, sometimes compassionate, mindful of “how little faith many people once had in her.”
The book was co-authored by celebrity biographer Wendy Leigh, who has written books on Liza Minnelli, Grace Kelly and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has announced a first printing of 350,000.
Earlier this year, stores were asked to order the book “blind,” without knowing the author or subject. Last month, the publisher released the subject matter — and the name of the author.