She’s a heavy, says estranged brother

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2008 |

Christopher Ciccone has little in common with his sister, ultra fit and apparently ageless pop star Madonna.

The 47-year-old Ciccone is so reserved he comes across almost as shy. He’s wrapped in an oversized hooded sweatshirt, and the wrinkles show around his eyes, making him look personable.

Despite the cool autumn weather, he prefers to sit on the terrace of a New York hotel for an interview about the book he has written about his famous sister. Perhaps it’s so that he can tamp down a touch of nerves with a cigarette.

He likes to refer to himself and Madonna as “we”, although he has fallen out badly with her since Life With My Sister Madonna was published in English this summer. The book has recently been published in German.

In a family of eight in Rochester, Michigan, Christopher Ciccone was 27 months younger and closest in age to Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.

Together, they managed to break out of the tightly knit family, and in the early 1980s they lived together in a derelict apartment in New York City. Their lives revolved around the Manhattan dance club scene, and they mingled with film stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore and Sean Penn.

Ciccone witnessed his sister’s rise from their modest home to her current status as a legend of the music industry – the queen of pop.

He was her personal assistant, a backup dancer in her act, her decorator, her art and concert tour director. He helped her change clothes between numbers and wiped the sweat from her body. Madonna is known for her lack of inhibition, but Ciccone has written that in private she is too shy and prudish to appear naked in front of a stranger.

But his tales get far more scandalous, and the book has even been cited in recent reports about Madonna’s split from Guy Ritchie, which had been rumoured for months, and was recently announced by the couple.

However, genuine secrets aren’t to be found within the pages of the book. Her reputation as a control freak, leaving nothing in her career to chance, is already well documented.

Madonna acknowledged Ciccone’s loyal services poorly, her brother wro te . For example, she outed him as gay in an interview with a British newspaper in 1991 without consulting him about it first, and she failed to compensate him financially for his work in helping her sell millions of albums.

Ciccone writes that she committed a sacrilege in the 1991 documentary film In Bed With Madonna, when she frolicked on their mother’s grave.

He said there’s nothing sacred to Madonna, not even the memory of their mother, who died when Madonna was five years old .

Ciccone has described Madonna as self-centred.

“The focus of her world is her. You don’t get to where she is and stay there for 20 years by focusing on other people,” he said.

His comments don’t sound bitter. Ciccone said he didn’t want to hurt anyone by writing the book, just rediscover himself.

Somewhere between all the partying with famous people, the screaming fans and his dedication to his sister’s career, he lost his own identity.

“I have no regrets about our life together. It’s been a bumpy road, and it has been very high and very low, but it is a life I have gotten used to. It makes me what I am,” Ciccone said.

He recognises that for the rest of his life he will be the brother of Madonna. After years of therapy and the publication of the book, he’s come to terms with it.

He’s also convinced that one day he’ll reconcile with his sister, but this time he has a condition.

“The first requirement I have is: She has to read the book. She needs to know my perspective.”


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