Celebrity Families

Madonna's six kids are growing up fast, it's time to get to know them a little better

She's the boundary-pushing pop queen that we can't get enough of. But what's she like as mum?

By Rebel Wylie
She's the original Material Girl, famous for pushing boundaries, taking risks and owning the shock factor. Everything Madonna touches seems to turn to gold, which is why we remain fascinated, decades on, with every aspect of her life. Including her family.
With a highly lauded career spanning decades, Madonna has a lot to be grateful for. But for the 60-year-old pop queen, it's her children she is most appreciative of.
"What I am Most THANKFUL for! My Children have led me down roads and opened doors I never imagined I'd walk through," Madonna wrote in the caption of a rare photo of all of her kids hanging out together on Thanksgiving. "Fame, Fortune and Records Broken could never equal that which I treasure and value most. #blessed #grateful #children #family Happy ThanksGiving from Malawi!"
Madonna with all six of her children in Malawi. (Image: Instagram @Madonna)
She shares her biological daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone, now 22 with former partner, dancer Carlos Leon.
Her marriage to English director Guy Ritchie saw her welcome a son, Rocco, now 18.
Her final four kids were adopted: 13-year-old David Banda in 2006 and Mercy James in 2009, followed by six-year-old twins Esther and Stella Mwale in 2017.
Madonna's six children, Stella, Mercy James, Rocco, Lourdes, Esther and David Banda. (Image: Instagram @Madonna)

Madonna and Lourdes

After a string of high-profile relationships, including her brief marriage to actor Sean Penn, Madonna looked like she was never going to settle down.
Then, in 1994 the Papa Don't Preach singer met Cuban dancer, Carlos Leon who became not only her fitness trainer but her lover.
Two years later, in October, 1996 Madonna gave birth to a girl named Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon (Lola for short).
Little Lourdes looks so much like her mum. (Image: Instagram @Madonna)
Madonna described the event to People magazine as "the greatest miracle of my life."
She even traded in her famous pink Hollywood mansion for a family home in a low-key suburb of Los Angeles, but trouble was brewing in her relationship with Leon. Even a new baby could not keep the pair together and their relationship ended in 1997, with Madonna declaring they were "better off as best friends".
Lourdes and Madonna. (Image: Getty Images)

Madonna welcomes son, Rocco

When Madonna met and fell in love with British director, Guy Ritchie in 1998, it seemed like an odd match. An odd match that seemed to work. Swapping LA for London, Madonna was setting up a new life for herself.
By August 2000 the couple had welcomed a son, Rocco John. However it wasn't an easy birth as Madonna suffered complications due to placenta praevia, and Rocco was to be her last biological child.
Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Rocco and Lourdes. (Image: Getty Images)
Rocco was christened at Dornoch Cathedral in Dornoch, Scotland, in December 2000, and the following day his parents were wed in front of a vey famous crowd at nearby Skibo Castle.
Madonna and Rocco on stage. (Image: Getty Images)

Madonna adopts David Banda

During her marriage to Ritchie, Madonna founded charitable organisation Raising Malawi, partially funded an orphanage in Malawi. While there, she decided to adopt a boy named David Banda in October 2006.
The adoption was not without controversy. At the time, Malawian law required would-be parents to reside in Malawi for one year before adopting, which Madonna and Ritchie did not do.
Madonna and David Banda on stage at NYE. (Image: Instagram @micheleruiznyc)
She addressed this on The Oprah Winfrey Show, saying that there were actually no written adoption laws in Malawi that regulated foreign adoption.
Sadly, Madonna and Ritchie's relationship deteriorated, and the couple split, divorcing in 2008 and sharing custody of both Rocco and David.
WATCH: Madonna's daughter Mercy James gets her groove on. Continues after video ...

Madonna adopts Mercy James

It was not long after her divorce that Madonna decided to add to her brood, heading back to Malawi to adopt daughter Chifundo "Mercy" James in 2009.
Once again it was not smooth sailing with the country's High Court rejecting the adoption application because Madonna had not lived in Malawi for the 12 months required. Madonna appealed the decision, and on June 12, 2009, the Supreme Court of Malawi granted her the right to adopt Mercy.
Madonna with David, Stella, Esther and Mercy James. (Image: Instagram @Madonna)
By 2013, Madonna's Raising Malawi had built ten schools to educate 4,000 children in Malawi, however her relationship with the country's government was strained.
The Ray of Light singer was stripped of her VIP status in 2013 after problems arose with Malawi's former president Joyce Banda, who claimed the star wanted eternal gratitude for adopting David and Mercy, accusing her of exaggerating the charity's contribution.
In fact many Malawian's have accused the courts of giving Madonna special exception to laws that prevent non-residents from adopting children to take abroad.
However when Banda was ousted in the 2014 elections, the new president Peter Mutharika moved to repair relations between the country and the mega-star, saying "my government has always been grateful for the passion Madonna has for this country".
WATCH: Madonna's twins, Estere and Stella singing in the car. Continues after video ...

Madonna adopts Stella and Esther

In 2017, aged 58, the Like A Virgin hitmaker, surprised the world by announcing she would be a mum again by adopting four-year-old twin girls Stella and Esther.
Cuties: Madonna adopted twins Stella and Esther in 2017. (Image: Instagram @Madonna)
Once again, the legalities of the adoption were questioned.
But a lawyer for Madonna in Malawi told Reuters that, "Madonna has demonstrated over the years that she has passion for Malawi and her children, and therefore the court was satisfied and could not stop the adoption of the twins."

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