Today's Birthday, August 16: American singer-songwriter Madonna (1958 - )
After releasing her 14th studio album in June this year, 61-year-old Madonna is preparing to hit the road again for her Madame X tour.
It will be the first time the Queen of Pop will be touring smaller venues since her breakout Virgin tour in 1985, which she attributes to a desire to connect with her fans.
"Intimacy... the thing we've become allergic to thanks to social media. I want to be close to people," she told Variety. "I want to look into people's eyes. I want to feel that energy."
Born and raised in Michigan in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone was one of six children born to Catholic parents.
Her mother died when she was young, and her father remarried and had two children.
After finishing high school, Madonna began studying dance at the University of Michigan, but, a short time later in 1978 she packed up and moved to New York.
"It was the first time I'd ever taken a plane, the first time I'd ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with 35 dollars in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I'd ever done," she said.
Madonna worked a number of jobs and joined a couple of bands until she was signed and released her first single Everybody.
In 1983, she released her self-titled debut album Madonna, and a year later, the Like A Virgin album rocketed her into stardom.
Like A Virgin has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, and was the first album by a female artist to sell five million copies in the United States.
Since then, Madonna has continued to push the boundaries of religion and performance art, and is not a stranger to controversy.
She has drawn the ire of the Vatican on many occasions. In 1989 her music video for Like a Prayer, which included seducing "black Jesus" and burning crucifixes, was slammed by the church. A year later they labelled her Blonde Ambition tour as one of the most "satanic shows in the history of humanity".
More recently she caused a stir by dedicating a performance to Pope Benedict XVI, nailing herself to a cross on tour, and surprising fellow recording artist Drake by kissing him during a Coachella performance.
Madonna has six children aged between 22 and six.