Madonna Is Surprisingly Strict About Sharing Her Fortune With Her Kids

Madonna works hard for the money, so hard for it honey, she works hard for the money, so you better treat her right. That rule goes for Madonna's children and everybody else. In fact, the singer has made her feelings about sharing her fortune with her offspring crystal clear. And, well, don't give up the day jobs anytime soon, kids.

How much Madonna is worth is staggering. Forbes estimates her net worth to be $580 million, placing her at 45 on their 2023 list of richest self-made women. And that was before her long-anticipated Celebration tour — which Billboard guestimates will pull in $100 million. Not bad for a girl from Bay City, Michigan.

Madge is history's top female musician, selling over 300 million records during her 40-year career. And hers is a true rags-to-riches story — the American Dream — when it was still a thing. After dropping out of college at 19 and moving to NYC, Madonna slummed it in rodent-infested walkups in Manhattan's shadiest areas when she wasn't crashing on couches or homeless. She didn't have a dime to her name and was rejected by execs time and time again. Still, she stuck with it through thick and thin, and her tenacity finally paid off. Madonna finally struck it big in 1983 after a couple of lackluster releases when "Borderline" became her first top-ten hit. So, given her broke to bourgeois battle, why's she so reticent to give her kids a foot up the ladder?

Work for it

Madonna is a true dichotomy. On one hand, she's this controversial, ground-breaking anti-establishment icon. On the other, Madonna's a super-strict mom of six who runs a tight parental ship. But despite her multi-million dollar bank balance, she's determined to ensure her kids learn the value of money. Madonna's oldest daughter, Lourdes Leon, told Interview that her mom locks her closets to prevent her kids from borrowing her clothes.

And Lourdes shared that she paid her own way through college. "We don't get any handouts in my family. Obviously, I grew up with extreme privilege. There's no denying that," Lourdes said. "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 admitted she was glad to become financially independent, though, as it freed her from her "control freak" mom.

Luckily, Madonna's kids have all inherited her work ethic, so they'll never have problems supporting themselves. Per Us Weekly, Lourdes, 27, is a successful model, musician, and fashion designer. Her half-brother Rocco Ritchie, 23, is a model, actor, and artist. David Banda, 18, is a dancer, comedian, on-fleek fashion icon, and aspiring soccer star. Mercy James, 17, is a passionate photographer who shot an ad campaign for Stella McCartney's kids' collection featuring her half-sisters, Stella and Estere Mwali. The twins are only 11, but they're already showing off their performing skills, joining their mom on stage during her celebration tour.

Madonna the bad cop

Madonna isn't only strict about her fortune. She's also strict about the rules her children abide by. Lourdes Leon told Interview she couldn't watch TV growing up and that "the list of things [she] wasn't allowed to do is never-ending." Madonna told British Vogue that she increasingly feels the need to protect her kids from outside influences. She admitted she banned her then-13-year-old son, David Banda, from having a cell phone. "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," Madonna said. "It ended my relationship with them, really. Not completely, but it became a very, very big part of their lives."

Madonna said that she feels the closest connection with David. "I feel like he gets me; he has more of my DNA than any of my children so far," she shared, admitting she worries about Lourdes' lack of hustle. "Does she have the same drive that I have? No. But she also has a mother, and I didn't," Madonna said. "She grew up with money, and I didn't."

Meanwhile, Madonna has absolutely no problem with being the disciplinarian. "I'm bad cop; I'm the one that says no," she told People. "I accept that role. I'm not the popular parent." Still, she's doing the best she can. "I want my kids to be loving, decent, compassionate human beings," Madonna continued. "But it's been a rollercoaster ride."