For May's U.K. issue of Elle, the still-sexy singer – whose eleventh studio album, Hard Candy, is out this month – chats candidly about her kids, her sex life and her tempestuous marriage to Guy Ritchie.
Madonna and the 39-year-old filmmaker have been dogged by rumors of marital strife, culminating last month, when the singer's rep was forced to release a statement saying, "Mr. and Mrs. Guy Ritchie remain happily married."
In the interview, she talks frankly about the struggles they face as two strong-willed halves of a Hollywood power couple. "I had to marry a challenge because otherwise I would just get bored," she says. "Whatever else Guy is, he's never boring ... We're both there to help each other and challenge each other."
In fact, Madonna tells Elle, Ritchie inspired her new song "Miles Away," in which she laments being forced to spend so much time apart. "So many people have to deal with long-distance relationships," she says. "It's not easy. You have to work hard to make it work."
And in the bittersweet love song, "Incredible," the 49-year-old croons, "sex with you is incredible." Is that also a tribute to her husband-of-seven-years? "Absolutely," she tells the magazine. "Sex with Guy is incredible ... And surprise, surprise, it's his favorite song on the album. Actually, maybe it's not his favorite song, but it's definitely his favorite line."
Still, she seems bemused by all the media speculation surrounding the state of her union. "I'm sure people aren't that interested in my marriage," she insists. "Posh and Becks are much more interesting."
Madonna's Softer SideThe singer shows her softer side when talk turns to her children, Lourdes, 11. Rocco, 7, and soon-to-be-adopted David, 2. (According to Reuters, Madonna is expected to travel to his native Malawi April 8 to make the long-bogged-down adoption official.)
"Lourdes is the most like me," she said, adding that her eldest is now going through a "Goth phase." "Rocco is just Guy. He's very aware, very funny and doesn't let anything drop. David is this incredibly bright, smart, bundle of energy. They are all so different and completely full-on."
'I Would Never Get Fat'As her August birthday approaches, she shows no sign of slowing down. "I'm not going to be defined by my age. Why would any woman?," she asks. "I'm not going to slow down, get off this ride, stay home and get fat. No way!" Then, making a face, she adds, "I would never get fat."
She won't talk about any surgery she may have had – "I'm not against plastic surgery, I'm just against discussing it" – but Madonna does reveal some aspects of her beauty and fitness regimes.
"If you want to know how I look like I do, it's diet and exercise and being constantly careful," she says. "I swear by oxygen facials, I'm obsessive about staying out of the sun. I don't drink much and drugs are out."
The real secret to her success, Madonna thinks, is self-discipline. "There are no tricks. Tricks don't work. Discipline does."
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