Madonna stars as Eva Perón in Evita, which earns her a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy and an Oscar for Best Song "You Must Love Me" from the movie's double disk soundtrack, which includes several other songs by Madonna.
Madonna meets Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director Guy Ritchie (10 years her junior) at a 1998 luncheon hosted by Trudie Styler, Sting's wife. Two years later, the couple have baby boy, Rocco Ritchie, 5 lbs., 9 oz.
In a Stella McCartney gown, Madonna marries Ritchie, who wears a Mackintosh clan kilt at the Great Hall of Scotland's 19th-century Skibo Castle. Lourdes, then 4, acts as flower girl, and a kilt-clad Rocco held by the nanny sits in front. Guests include Gwyneth Paltrow, Donatella Versace and Sting.
Ritchie directs Madonna in Swept Away, a critical and box office flop. "Everybody wants to know, 'God, weren't you really bummed out by the reaction?' Yes, I was," she tells PEOPLE. "But did it affect my relationship with my husband? No. If our relationship couldn't have handled the failure of that movie, what would have been the basis of it?" Besides, she says, they had fun filming it. "Contrary to what people think, I take direction very well."
In her album American Life, Madonna expresses her feelings about the war in Iraq. The original version of the video shows the singer tossing a grenade at a George W. Bush lookalike and has to be re-cut. "Children, brothers, wives and sons were over there, and people at home were worrying about them," the singer said to PEOPLE about the decision to change the video. "I'd be putting salt in their wounds."
During the MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera join Madonna onstage for a much talked about performance that ends with Madonna locking lips with Aguilera and then Spears. "It was a lovely, soft kiss," Aguilera tells PEOPLE.
Madonna's children's book The English Roses goes on sale. "I want to be able to help girls and in the process help myself," says the singer, who follows the success of Roses with Lotsa de Casha in June 2005.
Despite following all legal procedures, the superstar faces scrutiny from human rights groups and the media when she begins the process to adopt David Banda, a 13-month-old from Malawi. In a statement to PEOPLE, Madonna says she was shocked by the reaction: "I expect to be given a hard time about many of the things I do. I know they are provocative and I prepare myself, but I did not expect the media, the government or any human rights organizations to take a stand against me trying to save a child's life."
Madonna leaves Warner Music Group for a deal with concert promoter Live Nation. The agreement, which will give the company a stake in her albums, tours, merchandising, films and other music-related projects, is worth about $120 million over 10 years, according to the AP. "The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift," Madonna says in a statement.
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