The model-dancer sat down with family friend Debi Mazar for Interview magazine to discuss her eccentric upbringing. According to Lourdes, the eldest daughter of Madonna (her father is personal trainer Carlos Leon), growing up with “extreme privilege” didn’t promise a free ride. “We don’t get any handouts in my family,” explained the 25-year-old. “…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.’ 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.”
Still, Lourdes is protective of her mother — even turning the tables on overzealous fans. “It’s really funny to me,” she told Mazar. “People are always really taken aback when I say that, because it’s like, ‘Bitch, don’t talk about my mom if you don’t want me to talk about your mom. You want to call my mom a whore? Okay, your mom is a whore.’ If you feel like you have the right to comment on my mother, then I’m going to do the same to you.”
As an adult, Lourdes can appreciate Madonna for her maternal wisdom (“‘It’s not about the money or your face or how hot you look.’ It’s about what you’re bringing into the world and what you’re going to leave behind”) and her artistry. “I’m increasingly able to recognize how influential and amazing this woman is, and how empowering to other women and ahead of her time she has always been,” said Lourdes. However, she’s not above raiding Madonna’s closet — and who can blame her — if she’s able to pick the lock on her closet.
“When she’s not in the house, those things are locked tight, because I take everything I feel that I’m entitled to,” said Lourdes.
Although she’s grown and flown, her relationship with her five siblings is strong — and even sounds pretty standard.
“It’s funny, the only siblings that I ever really argue with are the boys,” said Lourdes. “They’re just little a**holes sometimes. A 15- or 20-year-old brother? Come on. Obviously we’re going to fight. But Mercy and I have never, ever fought about anything. She’s always had my back and I’ve always tried to be the best big sister I can be for her. It’s harder with the twins, because I don’t live at the house anymore.” Lourdes’ brother is 21-year-old Rocco (whose father is Madonna’s ex-husband Guy Ritchie), 16-year-old brother David Banda (whom Madonna adopted from Malawi with Ritchie), 15-year-old Mercy James, and 9-year-old twins Stella and Estere (all of whom were adopted from the same orphanage as Banda).
Still, Lourdes visits often for mother-daughter slumber parties, though sleep is not guaranteed. “It’ll be 2 a.m. and she’s like, “Let’s watch a movie!’” said Lourdes. “Whenever I stay over, she’s walking around the house until like three in the morning. I’m like, “’What are you doing? Go to bed.’”
These celebrity moms make us all feel better when they share the highs and lows of parenting.