Madonna reveals in a shocking bombshell interview with Harper's Bazaar that she was raped on the rooftop of a building in New York City while held at knifepoint, shortly after arriving in the Big Apple as a then unknown artist.
"New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back," the 55-year-old icon wrote in her cover story essay.
The Like A Virgin singer also says she "had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time."
In 1978 Madonna dropped out of the University of Michigan to pursue her dreams in New York, but it "wasn't anything I prepared for," she wrote.
"Trying to be a professional dancer, paying my rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal… I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it. But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going."
Madonna eventually signed a record deal with Sire Records in 1982 and married actor Sean Penn on her birthday in 1985. The couple split and divorced in 1989.
"At 35, I was divorced and looking for love in all the wrong places. I decided that I needed to be more than a girl with gold teeth and gangster boyfriends. More than a sexual provocateur imploring girls not to go for second-best baby. I began to search for meaning and a real sense of purpose in life. I wanted to be a mother," Madonna reveals.
She now has four children — Lourdes with ex Carlos Leon and Rocco with ex-hubby Guy Richie, as well as two adopted children, David and Mercy — and she describes the decision to adopt as "an eye opening experience" and "a real low point in my life."
"I didn't know that trying to adopt a child was going to land me in another sh*t storm. I was accused of kidnapping, child trafficking, using my celebrity muscle to jump ahead in the line, bribing government officials, witchcraft, you name it," she wrote.
"I could get my head around people giving me a hard time for simulating masturbation onstage or publishing my Sex book, even kissing Britney Spears at an awards show, but trying to save a child's life was not something I thought I would be punished for. . . In any case, I got through it. I survived."