Queen of Pop Madonna has earned the title of ‘royal b*tch’ from the staunchest supporters of her biggest contemporaries over the years.
Most recently dominating headlines for a resurfaced letter that saw her refer to Whitney Houston as ‘horribly mediocre’ (click here to read more if you missed it), she not only infuriated the ‘I Will Always Love You’ singer’s stans, but also added them to a long list of fan groups who have penciled her name atop their hitlist. A list that features the likes of Lady Gaga, Prince, Michael and Janet Jackson, Cher, Mariah Carey, and many more, Madge’s mouth has certainly incited no shortage of fury over her nearly 4 decade long career.
Now, for this week’s “Top 5,” That Grape Juice looks back at her top 5 feuds. Look below to see if your favorite made the cut:
5. Mariah Carey
Historically, no other pop divas have had more feuds than Madonna and Mariah Carey respectively. With Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Ariana Grande atop her list of least faves, Carey has worked hard over the years to earn the title ‘Queen of Shade’ (even before the term pervaded popular culture).
But, before Carey ‘didn’t know’ J.Lo, it was actually Madge who she didn’t exactly care for. That’s right, in a now infamous 1995 interview, Mimi took to press to clapback at Madonna who said she’d rather “kill herself than be Mariah Carey.”
Here’s how Carey responded (skip to :50):
While they never publicly buried the hatchet, the 2000s have seen the two be cordial when asked about each other.
4. Lady Gaga
Though revered from her beginnings for daring fashion, energetic performances, and glossy cinematic videos, pop singer Lady Gaga has always fielded attacks of plagiarism. First bursting on the scene with thumbs down from Christina Aguilera fans, Grace Jones supporters also noted similarities between their fave and Gaga that were a bit too close for comfort.
Yet, even in the face of those accusations, none plagued the ‘Poker Face’ performer more than Madonna comparisons – an association that birthed their fallout when ‘Born This Way,’ Gaga’s big 2011 hit, was slammed as a ripoff of M’s 1989 hit, ‘Express Yourself.’ Later, when the young songstress thanked Whitney Houston for being her biggest inspiration, Madge pounced. Referring to Gaga as ‘reductive’ in a now infamous interview, the two went back and forth for nearly three years before they kissed and made up at the 2015 Met Gala (click here to read).
Sadly, that reconciliation was short-lived because Gags, in late 2016, insinuated she and M shouldn’t be compared since the ‘Like A Prayer’ performer doesn’t write or produce her own songs (click here to read more).
3. Elton John
‘C*nt,’ ‘lip syncer,’ and ‘fairground stripper’ are just a few of the insults Elton John’s hurled at the Material Girl. Their famous feud, which allegedly stems from 2004 when John slammed M for winning ‘Best Live Act’ at the 2004 Q awards, has seen them trade blows for years. Elton has apologized, dissed her, apologized again, and followed up with yet another diss. This trend was only accelerated when Madge beat him for ‘Best Original Song’ at the 2012 Golden Globes.
Arguably the most civil Madonna has been in any of her feuds, Elton confirmed in 2016 their beef has cooled and he’s apologized for his behavior.
2. Janet Jackson
While Michael Jackson has long been known as the King of Pop, the title of ‘Queen’ has often been split between his sister, Janet, and, of course, Madonna. Mind you, this “shared” crowning has never been accepted by either fan group as both, to this day, still debate on any public forum where the pop divas are mentioned who rightfully owns the honor.
The groups’ ongoing beef is undoubtedly an extension of the real life feud between Madge and Jan that allegedly started when, according to Jermaine Jackson, the former privately criticized the latter to her own brother, Michael. Fans may recall MJ and Madge dated briefly in the early 90’s (click here to read more on that), but apparently that didn’t end well as Madonna went on to publicly slam Michael – a feat that garnered a clap back from him and his sister Janet (as seen in the video above and Vibe magazine excerpts from the video below).
While Janet hasn’t said much more since the early 90s, Madonna has made repeated slick, but noted comments about her ‘Rhythm Nation’ foe over the years, even into the 2000s (click here to read about that).
The Catholic Church
Like Michael Jackson’s shiny glove, admiral jackets, and signature socks and Prince’s purple guitar, high heels, and ruffled Victorian white “puffy” shirt, Madonna – one of music video’s pioneers – was known for her use of very specific, and later iconic, imagery. Arguably more so a focal point for her than for her 80s counterparts, her beginnings saw her don ripped clothing and lace gloves before evolving to blonde ponytails, coned bras, and more. Yet, for as much of a chameleon as she’s always been considered, there was always a staple in her wardrobe: the crucifix.
A bit of irony considering her most famous images are the complete antithesis to what the crucifix symbolizes, Madonna has always used the cross as a not-so-subtle diss to the Catholic Church…and they were very well aware.
Ruffling their feathers with messages across her ‘Like a Virgin,’ ‘Papa Don’t Preach,’ and ‘La Isla Bonita’ videos, she went “too far” with her banned 1989 Pepsi commercial and ‘Like a Prayer’ video (featuring burning crosses).
Across the 90s, the Church called for the public disregard of her coffee table book, ‘Sex,’ and into the 2000s she earned a holy thumbs down when her ‘Confessions’ tour saw her belt her hit ‘Live to Tell’ while wearing a crown of thorns.
She even pissed off the Vatican as recently as 2015 when her ‘Rebel Heart’ tour featured stripping nuns (click here to read more). Needless to say, she’s been ex-communicated multiple times over the last 3 decades.