Tuesday 20 March 2018

BBC journalist lifts lid on 'controlling' Madonna


Aishling Phelan

Pop icon Madonna was a super diva when she was first questioned about adopting her Malawi-born son in a sit-down interview.

The star was interviewed by journalist Kirsty Wark on BBC2's Newsnight in 2006, amid a wave of criticisms of her adoption of an African baby.

Speaking on The John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1, Mrs Wark said, ''She didn't like it when I asked a couple of questions, you know, about the adoption yet that was what the interview was about.''

''You could see she was becoming uncomfortable and really after the interview there was a complete switch off,'' she said.

The journalist recalled how the superstar had dictated the lighting concept for the interview and had ''controlled absolutely everything''.

''When we got there we realised that her lighting rig had been all set up and it was beautiful and it was filmy, gauzy and all fabulous and there I was looking completely different with a mic and one lighting camera,'' she said.

''She controls absolutely everything and I can understand that, you have an image you want to protect. She controlled absolutely everything for the set up in that interview,'' the BBC journalist added.

Wark said it was difficult to warm to Madonna because the singer appeared to have a ''guard'' up.

''I admire her but I didn't necessarily take to her but I didn't take against her. I wouldn't mind sitting down and having a glass of wine with her but I wonder would she ever be off her guard,'' she said.

The journalist interviewed the music icon after she received a bashing in the media for adopting the little boy from Africa, David Banda.

'We had been asking to interview Madonna for a while and then of course she adopted David Banda and there was a great hoo-ha,'' she said.

Madonna and her eight-year-old son David Banda pose on the red carpet for the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Wark recalled how the singer was eager to restore her public image and show the public she was serious about being a mother to the poverty-stricken child.

''I'm sure Madonna is lovely to her friends, I'm sure she has a lovely private life but it was definitely a case of, I need to do this interview because I need to try and show people that I'm not a bad person.

'I'm a person that is a fit person for a lovely little boy from Malawi,'' she said.

During the interview, Madonna claimed Banda's birth family abandoned him.

''From the day that he was left in the orphanage he was not visited by any extended family members and that's really why I became interested in him,'' Madonna said.

The boy's family disagreed and insisted that they did visit him but believed he would have a better life with the multi-millionaire.

She regularly interrupted host Wark throughout the interview and became ''uncomfortable''.


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