Madonna ‘burnt herself out’ competing with younger stars as we look at her dating history

Madonna’s loved ones fear the Queen of Pop danced herself into an ICU hospitalization after trying to compete with younger stars like Taylor Swift and Pink.

The 64-year-old legend had been pushing herself to her physical limit ahead of her much-anticipated “Celebration” tour, which led to her sudden collapse and multi-day intubation, insiders revealed.

“The countdown was well and truly on. Madonna had all her chips on one number, which was this tour,” the anonymous source told the outlet.

“She was working overtime, but she clearly burnt herself out and people around her have been politely reminding her that she is not 45 anymore, let alone 25.

“She needed to pace herself. Pushing herself so hard was extremely risky.”

Both Swift, 33, and Pink, 43, have been embarking on their own recent headline-grabbing tours, characterized by their jaw-dropping showmanship — Swift has been consistently playing four-hour shows, while Pink stuns fans with aerial stunts hundreds of feet above her audience’s heads.

To compete, Madonna forced herself through hours of grueling rehearsals that slowly took a toll on her body.The Queen of Pop had been putting in 12-hour rehearsal days ahead of her “Celebration” tour.

Those close to Madge noticed the physical strain she was withstanding and worried it could lead to a fate similar to Michael Jackson’s, who died in the lead-up to his “This Is It” tour in 2009.

“Madonna was in good spirits before the incident, but some friends had encouraged her to take it easy and find time for rest because of the grueling schedule she had ahead of her,” a source told the Sun.

“Many of us feel the constant remarks about her age have put pressure on her to compete, so we are relieved that she has been forced to take time out and put her health first. People were really worried about her.

“Nobody would say it out loud but there were concerns about another Michael Jackson situation if she doesn’t slow down a bit.”

The “Like a Virgin” singer stayed incognito in black sweatpants and a long-sleeve T-shirt on her last outing before she was hospitalized.

Friends say they have been politely reminding Madonna that “she is not 45 anymore, let alone 25.”

“Everyone saw something like this coming because of her intense schedule but only a few were brave enough to tell her that they were concerned,” the source added.

The insider admission comes just one day after a friend of the superstar told Page Six that Madonna was pushing herself in an attempt to keep up with her dancers, who are just a “fraction of her age.”

The “Like A Virgin” singer had been putting in 12-hour days at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, in preparation for her 84-date tour in the weeks before her health crisis. The tour, which was slated to kick off July 15, has since been put on pause.

Madonna was even toiling in the studio with Katy Perry just hours before she was found unresponsive last Saturday.

She was intubated in the ICU for several days after being diagnosed with a “serious bacterial infection” that doctors believe grew from an unreported month-long fever the singer had been trying to stifle while strenuously rehearsing.

Madonna was in “good spirits” in the days before her incident, insiders said.

In spite of the health scare, the “A League of Their Own” star has no plans to scale back her “Celebration” tour when it is rescheduled.

“She is home, happy and taking meetings, and she has rejected a proposal to scale back on the tour as she still wants to deliver as many dates as possible when she’s regained her strength,”.

“Her condition is completely curable and she’s working with a group of doctors to boost her immune system. She’ll be back, I am 100% sure of it. God bless her. I hope she is still working and still killing it at 100.”

Madonna’s dating history: A look back at Madonna’s most high-profile relationships, Guy Ritchie and Sean Penn

Madonna has dated a number of celebrities, particularly in the early years of her career. The pop star was linked to Tupac, Warren Beatty, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Dennis Rodman, among others.

But no one made as much of a lasting impression on the star more than the two most high-profile romances of her life: Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie.

Let’s take a look back at these two defining relationships for the Queen of Pop.

Sean Penn: A rocky relationship

Madonna met actor Sean Penn in 1985 when she was 26 years old, while filming the music video for Material Girl. The pair hit it off instantly, and soon they were hanging out every day.

Things started out slow: they’d both just gotten out of relationships and wanted to stick to just being friends with benefits. The plan didn’t quite work, however, and they married just six months after meeting, on the pop star’s 27th birthday.

“We have so much in common that he’s almost like my brother,” she told People the month before their wedding. “His temperament is also similar to mine. That doesn’t always make for ideal relationships, but I don’t know what will happen.”

They lived their lives in the spotlight, constantly facing the scrutiny of media and fans. In 1986, they both starred in the film Shanghai Surprise. Later that year, Madonna released an album True Blue, dedicated to Penn.

Though they seemed like the picture of love and happiness, reports swirled that behind closed doors, there was trouble in paradise. Penn was allegedly very jealous, accusing Madonna of cheating on numerous occasions. Accusations of infidelity, domestic violence, and constant arguing between the two plagued the headlines in the late 1980s.

In April 1986, Penn was charged after attacking songwriter David Wolinski in a nightclub, because he thought he saw him kiss his wife.

“The marriage had been undergoing stress all the time, but this was the first major stress, the first really traumatic episode for [Madonna],” a source told People at the time. “Wolinski was someone she knew, and it really shook her up.”

Despite extensive reports of Penn’s jealousy and anger, Madonna backed up her husband.

“I have my insecure moments,” Madonna admitted at one point during the relationship, “and that puts a lot of strain on people. You take things out on the person you love, and that causes fights, alienation, grief, shrink sessions and a lot of ca-ca.”

In December 1987, Madonna filed for divorce, but withdrew the papers just two weeks later. She filed them again a year later, in January 1989. The couple remained friends, however.

In 1991, in her record-breaking documentary In Bed With Madonna, the star named Penn as the “love of her life”. He’s been spotted attending her concerts over the years, and in 2017, he told Stephen Colbert that he still loves his ex-wife “very much”.

During a gala at Art Basel in 2016, Madonna said she was “still in love” with Penn, even offering to remarry him if he bid $150,000 in a charity auction.

Though were many rumours following the divorce that Penn was violent toward Madonna, but the singer quashed those allegations.

“While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false,” Madonna said in 2015.

Guy Ritchie

Madonna met Guy Ritchie, an English film director, in 1999 at a party hosted by their mutual friend Sting. At the time, Madonna had a two-year-old daughter, Lourdes, who she shared with her ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon.

It was attraction at first sight for the pop star. “I had a whole premonition of my life fast-forward,” she told People. “My head didn’t just turn, my head spun round on my body. I was taken by his confidence. He was sort of cocky but in a self-aware way… He’s a risk taker and he’s got a hungry mind.”

The media labelled him her toy-boy, as he was, at age 29, a decade younger than her.

But Ritchie had made a name on his own. “Guy works almost as hard as Madonna does,” her friend and actor Rupert Everett said of the couple. “He’s definitely not a boy toy.”

It took a while for the relationship to get off the ground, as they were each so hyper-focused on their own careers and unwilling to compromise. He was also seeing TV presenter Tania Strecker at the time, while also hanging out with Madonna on the side.

But by the end of 1999, the singer relented, agreeing to move to London with her beau. Their son Rocco was born in August 2000, after a complicated pregnancy and birth.

Ritchie proposed to his girlfriend shortly after Rocco’s birth, and they got married in a super-secret Christmastime ceremony at a castle in Scotland.

“We wanted to find a place that was really hard to get to, because when people have to work hard to get somewhere, you know they really want to be there,” Madonna said of the location. Gwyneth Paltrow and Donatella Versace were among the guests.

The couple adopted a son, David, from Malawi in 2006, but just a few months later, reports surfaced that the couple’s relationship was on the rocks. There were rumours that Madonna had conducted an emotional affair with baseball player (and future J.Lo fiancé) Alex Rodriguez.

Insiders told reporters that the couple had simply been drifting apart for a while. “It wasn’t just one thing,” a source  revealed. “It was unravelling throughout the last year. They were living separate lives and coming together every now and then for the cameras.”

“She was more about being a celebrity and he was more low-key. He wanted to live in London and live a normal life but that’s impossible when you’re married to Madonna.”

At first, the couple’s split was amicable. In 2011, Ritchie told Details magazine: “The experience was ultimately very positive. “I love the kids that came out of it, and I could see no other route to take.”

But in 2015 the couple entered into a bitter custody battle for their son Rocco. At first, the 15-year-old was travelling with his mum on the Rebel Hearts tour, before choosing instead to live full-time with his dad in the UK.

A judge ordered Rocco to return to Madonna’s home in NYC, but he refused. Eventually, the couple settled the dispute.

The same year, Madonna spoke a candidly about her ex-husband. “I did sometimes find myself in a state of conflict,”. “There were times when I wanted to express myself as an artist in ways that I don’t think my ex-husband was comfortable with.”

She added, “There were times I felt incarcerated. I wasn’t really allowed to be myself.”

In 2022, during a Q&A on YouTube, Madonna was asked if she’d ever made any decisions that she now feels wasn’t the best idea, the star kept it simple: “Getting married,” she said. “Both times.”

Guy Ritchie is now married to model Jacqui Ainsley; the couple have three kids.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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