Madonna: The First 50 Years

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Ritchie turns 50 and fabulous today, and with a new album out and a world tour on the way, the Material Girl shows no signs of slowing down.

Since she released her debut album in 1983, the Queen of Pop has become the most successful female recording artist of all time, selling over 200 million albums worldwide and creating almost as many controversies along the way.

So how did a dancer from the Detroit suburbs land in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Access has the answers with five of Madonna’s career-making moments.

Click HERE to see all the photos of Madonna through the years!

1984 MTV “Video Music Awards” Performance:
In 1984, Madonna took the stage in a wedding gown for an iconic performance at the first MTV “Video Music Awards.” She rolled around the floor in a wedding dress, singing “Like a Virgin,” paving the way for a career that has yet to see her shy away from flaunting her sexuality.

Madonna At The Movies:
Madonna’s always had a love affair with Hollywood, as showcased by her numerous film roles, some successful (“Evita,” for which she won a Golden Globe), some not (“Swept Away,” the box office blunder directed by current husband, Guy Ritchie). Her romance with the movies has extended to filmmakers, too — she married actor Sean Penn in 1985, but the couple soon called it quits, divorcing by the end of the decade. In 2000, she struck up another Hollywood marriage, wedding Guy, a British director she met through Sting and Trudie Styler. Madonna has been linked to several other stars including Warren Beatty, Vanilla Ice and basketball player Dennis Rodman.

“Like a Prayer”:
In 1989, Madonna released the video for “Like a Prayer,” a clip filled with controversial religious imagery that included burning crosses and scenes depicting her engaged in a romantic tryst with a black Jesus figure. Though the song went to number one, the video was too heated for Pepsi, who pulled a commercial they’d filmed in conjunction with the premiere of the song in a $5 million endorsement deal. Madonna, a soon-to-be media mogul, reportedly got to keep the money.

The “Sex” book:
Paired with the album “Erotica,” Madonna’s 1992 racy coffee table book drew fire for its suggestive imagery. Showcasing photography of Vanilla Ice, Naomi Campbell and others in highly suggestive situations, the book was released through Maverick – Madonna’s own multi-media company. Despite negative reviews, the book sold 1.5 million copies of its first edition worldwide – making it, at the time, the most successful coffee table book ever released.

Kissing Britney at the “VMAs”:
Nineteen years after she first made waves at the “VMAs,” Madonna made headlines once again as she shared steamy kisses with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during a 2003 performance. Now a Material Mom, it’s clear that even at 50, Madonna still knows how to shock – and how to please her millions of fans.

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