Chart topping singer Madonna has revealed she was held up at knife point and raped after moving to New York City.
In a first-person essay penned for Harper's Bazaar magazine, the pop star spoke of her traumatic ordeal when she had moved to New York from Michigan, aged 20.
“New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms”, she wrote.
“The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time.”
In the magazine's Daring issue, the 55-year-old described struggling to make friends as a teenager because others found her non-conformist attitude "strange". She did "the opposite of what all the other girls were doing," which she said turned her into a "man repeller".
In order to pursue a career as a professional dancer, she paid her rent by posing as nude for art classes, where she found herself "staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pens and charcoal."
Despite feeling “scared s***less” by some parts of the city, she remained "defiant" and "hell bent on surviving“.
Madonna also opened up about her relationship with British director Guy Richie, whom she become divorced from in 2008. Moving to England to live with Richie left her feeling alienated again, she said. “It wasn't easy for me. Just because we speak the same language doesn't mean we speak the same language."
“I didn't understand that there was still a class system. I didn't understand pub culture. I didn't understand that being openly ambitious was frowned upon.”
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
However, Madonna said she “stuck it out” and eventually fell in love with different aspects of England.
The singer signed off her essay in the present day. She writes: “Ten years later, here I am, divorced and living in New York. I have been blessed with four amazing children.“
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies