Madonna is making waves with her latest album drop, Madame X — and a claim to British Vogue that phones “ended” her relationship with her older children, Lourdes Leon, 22, and Rocco Ritchie, 18, when she gifted them with the devices when they turned 13.
Madonna has yet to give son David, 13, a cell phone (or, presumably, children Mercy, 13, or Estere and Stella, 6). The iconic singer told British Vogue, “I’m going to stick that one out for as long as possible, because I made a mistake when I gave my older children phones when they were 13. It ended my relationship with them, really.”
The Grammy and Golden Globe Award winner continued, “Not completely, but it became a very, very big part of their lives. They became too inundated with imagery and started to compare themselves to other people, and that’s really bad for self-growth.”
This isn’t the first time Madonna has expressed concern over cell phones in regard to her relationship with her kids. In 2013, she told Good Morning America, “Ever since [Lourdes] got an iPhone she stopped talking to me.”
Madonna seems to be particularly worried about her eldest, Lourdes. She told British Vogue, “She doesn’t have the same drive [as me]. I feel social media plagues her and makes her feel like, ‘People are going to give me things because I’m her daughter.'” Madonna added, that to work against this thinking, “I try to give [Lourdes] examples of other children of celebrities like Zoe Kravitz, for instance, who have to work through that ‘Oh yeah, you’re the daughter of…’ — and then eventually you are taken seriously for what you do. You just have to keep going.”
Are we going to argue with Madonna that smartphones are lousy for kids? Nope. Many parents of teens find themselves locked in similar battles for face-to-face time over screentime. And the World Health Organization has made itself abundantly clear on the drawbacks of screentime on young minds.
So where are Lourdes and Rocco now? Whatever struggles she and her mom may have had with that cell phone in her early teen years, it sounds like Lourdes may have taken her mom’s advice. Lourdes doesn’t currently have a public Instagram account. She quietly finished four years of college at the University of Michigan (her famous mama’s alma mater) and is now taking center stage as Miu Miu’s new face.
Madonna and ex Guy Ritchie (Rocco’s dad) have also put their rift behind them, poking fun not long ago at their son’s newly suave image on Ritchie’s friend’s Instagram account, arguing over which parent gave him his sense of style.
But the whole family gathered in 2017 with Madonna for this charming picture — all six kids in one place. A pretty remarkable achievement for a busy, globe-trotting squad, so we’re thinking maybe there’s no long-lasting harm from early attainment of cell phones?
Madame X drops June 14.