As a seven-time Grammy-winning artist, Madonna has become an icon in the music industry.
She’s released 14 studio albums to date and is recognized as the world’s best-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records, selling more than 300 million units worldwide. All hail the Queen of Pop.
She is also a proud mom to six children and often uses her social media to celebrate their accomplishments and identities.
On Sept. 26, the “Like a Prayer” singer celebrated her son David Banda’s 18th birthday. In a post shared to her Instagram, she celebrated her son’s southern African roots and his accomplishments.
“Happy 18th Birthday David Banda!” she began the caption of her post. “Tribal Name -Senzangakhona- . Descendant of the Ngoni Tribe! It is impossible to believe that almost 18 years have gone by since We met you in Mchinji at Home of Hope Orphanage!”
According to an article published by the International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science, the Ngoni people are an ethnic group whose reside in regions across southeastern Africa.
The singer’s post featured a video from Banda’s birthday celebration and shows him dancing with family and friends.
“Your name means ‘Speak the truth'!" Madonna's post continued. “I couldn’t think of a better name for an artist! You are growing into a truly remarkable human being! We are all so proud of you! You light up like the brightest star!”
For more on the pop star’s children, read below.
Who are Madonna’s kids?
To her six kids — Lourdes, 26, Rocco, 23, David, 18, Mercy, 17, and twins Estere and Stella, both 11 — the Material Girl is just mom to them.
As they got older, Madonna learned that family life can be quite “complicated” at times, but she told People that it’s still “so worth it.”
“I had this funny notion that when your children get older, they learn to take care of themselves and it gets easier,” Madonna said in 2017. “But actually, the older they get, the more challenging it gets — because now they’re becoming adults, and they really need guidance.”
Madonna biologically shares Lourdes with her ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon and Rocco with her second ex-husband, Guy Ritchie. When it comes to co-parenting, she admitted that she’s always the “boss.”
“I’m in charge!” Madonna said.
Lourdes Leon is Madonna’s first child. Her zodiac sign is Libra and she was born on Oct. 14, 1996, to Madonna and her ex-partner Carlos Leon. They were never married.
In a May 2019 interview with British Vogue, Madonna said that she adores how “insanely talented” Lourdes is.
“I’m green with envy because she’s incredible at everything she does — she’s an incredible dancer, she’s a great actress, she plays the piano beautifully, she’s way better than me in the talent department,” the “Like a Virgin” singer said.
Lourdes works as a fashion model, making her runway debut in 2018 at New York Fashion Week for the brand Gypsy Sport. In a September 2021 interview with Vogue, the fashionista said that she paid her own way in college and lived in Brooklyn, New York, by herself.
“We don’t get any handouts in my family. Obviously, I grew up with extreme privilege. There’s no denying that. But I think my mom saw all these other kids of famous people, and she was like, ‘My kids are not going to be like this,’” Lourdes explained.
“Also, I feel like if your parents pay for things, then it gives them leverage over you. My mom is such a control freak, and she has controlled me my whole life. I needed to be completely independent from her as soon as I graduated high school.”
After Lourdes graduated from the University of Michigan, she noted that she was focused on making “a decent living” because she wasn’t making that much money at the time. However, her mom told her that living a luxurious life should never be her end goal, and those words always stayed with her.
“She was like, ‘Remember, this s--- is not real. It’s not about the money or your face or how hot you look,'" Lourdes recalled Madonna once telling her. "'It’s about what you’re bringing into the world and what you’re going to leave behind.’ That always shakes me awake when I get too caught up in everything.”
Lourdes has appeared in various campaigns for Swarovski, Miaou and Marc Jacobs. She also appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine for its coveted September issue alongside other models changing the industry.
Just recently, Lourdes broke into the music scene with her debut single. Performing as Lolahol, the single is called “Lock & Key,” and features an electronica sound different from her mother’s catalogue.
Madonna gave her Queen of Pop seal of approval on Lourdes’ foray into music, sharing the video on her Instagram story with the caption, “I am so proud of you Lola!”
On Aug. 11, 2000, Madonna welcomed Rocco with her second ex-husband, Guy Ritchie, though at the time of Rocco’s birth they weren’t married yet. Four months after he was born, Rocco was baptized at the Dornoch Cathedral in Scotland. The next day, Madonna wed Ritchie.
Rocco’s zodiac sign is Leo (like his mom) and in 2017, he was primarily living with his father in London.
For his 22nd birthday, he went out to dinner with his family.
“From one Leo to another!! Happy birthday Rocco,” Madonna captioned a slideshow of pictures of her, Rocco, and Estere and Stella dining out at a restaurant.
In one photo, Madonna and Rocco wrapped their hands around each other while a couple of musicians played for them in the background, and in another, Rocco was surrounded by his sisters and his mom when he cut into his briefcase-shaped birthday cake.
Madonna’s old friend Rosie O’Donnell commented, “So happy to see him.”
Madonna’s third child, son David Banda, was born in September 2005, and in 2008, the “Vogue” singer adopted him from the Home of Hope orphanage in Lilongwe, Malawi.
According to People, David was battling pneumonia and malaria at the time and Madonna instantly felt a connection to him when she met him. But after she adopted him and brought him back to live with her in London in 2008, she quickly became scrutinized by the media.
“Every newspaper said I kidnapped him,” Madonna recalled to People. “In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Wait a minute. I’m trying to save somebody’s life. Why are you all s---ing on me right now?’ I did everything by the book. That was a real low point for me. I would cry myself to sleep.”
For David, Madonna changed up her parenting style a bit and decided that it would be best for him not to have a phone at age 13. She told British Vogue that felt like the right thing to do because she noticed how much her “older children” changed once they got a cellular device.
“It ended my relationship with them, really. Not completely, but it became a very, very big part of their lives,” Madonna said. “They became too inundated with imagery and started to compare themselves to other people, and that’s really bad for self-growth.”
However, if there’s one thing she admires about David, it’s his work ethic because it reminds her so much of her own.
“What he has more than anything is focus and determination,” Madonna said. “I’m pretty sure he got it from me. He’s the one I have the most in common with. I feel like he gets me; he has more of my DNA than any of my children so far. Let’s see what happens — it’s still early days for everyone.”
Another thing David shares in common with the “Vogue” singer: her iconic sense of style. So much so, he’s even wearing pieces inspired by her closet and actually from her closet, too.
“He’ll put on any outfit and look swag as you know what. It’s really irritating. He wears my clothes and looks better in them,” Madonna told Jimmy Fallon, remarking that he can wear a dress and make it look great.
“You know he makes music now, too,” Madonna also mused during her interview with the late-night host.
In response, Fallon listed off a list of her son’s talents, noting that “he’s got it,” including magic, humor, charm and a gift for athleticism.
She remarked, “He’s going to end up being one of your guests.”
In 2009, Madonna became a mother again when she returned to Malawi to adopt her second daughter, Mercy. Mercy was born in January 2006 and her zodiac sign is Aquarius.
While giving a speech at the opening ceremony of The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care that Madonna founded and named after her daughter, the “Like a Prayer” singer said that Mercy’s adoption process was anything but easy.
“I was granted permission to adopt David first. And some time later, I filed a petition to adopt Mercy. But this time, the judge who was presiding said no. I was recently divorced, and she informed me, as a divorced woman, I was not fit to raise children and that Mercy James was better off growing up in an orphanage,” Madonna said, per People.
Madonna noted that she met Mercy around the same time she met David and the little girl was suffering from malaria. But when she held Mercy in her arms, she whispered to her that she would grow up as a “strong” and “healthy” adult.
Madonna kept that promise, even though Malawi officials didn’t like the fact that Madonna was a single mom after her 2008 divorce to Guy Ritchie. So she fought to adopt Mercy.
“I hired a team of lawyers, and I took my case to the supreme court, and it was not an easy battle,” Madonna said.
“The adoption laws in Malawi had not been reformed since the early ’40s, and it had not occurred to anyone to change them yet. So my argument was that women have been raising children for centuries, on their own … not to mention the fact that I was doing just fine raising my own three children,” she continued.
After a tough legal battle, Madonna won the right to adopt Mercy. She tells anyone who is going through the same thing to “never, ever give up on your dreams.”
“Never stop fighting for what you believe in. And finally: Love conquers all,” Madonna said.
Estere and Stella Ciccone
In February 2017, Madonna seemingly completed her family when she adopted twins Estere and Stella in Malawi. The girls were born in August 2012 and their zodiac sign might possibly be Virgo since their mother has been celebrating their birthdays near the end of that month.
The singer celebrated her two youngest kids in a sweet birthday post on Aug. 25, 2023.
Alongside a video sharing some of their moments together as a family, set to a slowed-down cover version of Tears For Fears’ song “Mad World,” Madonna wrote she couldn’t believe the two are now 11 years old.
“It is indeed a Mad world that we live in. And where would we be without the innocence and imagination of our children to remind us that Magic is all around us and anything is possible!” she captioned the birthday post. “How could you be 11 years old already?”
She added that the two are “the most magical twins in the world” and that when she looks at older videos of them, she wants to “cry!!”
She also opened up about the moment she met them.
“I will never forget The first time we met you in Machinji,” she wrote. “Your eyes held the whole world in them. The same way we now hold you locked inside of our hearts.
“In a way…. we are all displaced children, looking for connection. looking for love, ♥️. Looking for a home which is ultimately ourselves!”
For their 10th birthday, Madonna shared a heartwarming video that featured photos and videos of her and her girls over the years.
“Happy birthday Estere and Stella Mwale! 💖💖 You both bring so much Love- Laughter and Light ✨✨ into all of our lives!! 💕💕. I cannot believe you’re already 10 years old!” she wrote.