A Complete Timeline Of Madonna's Many Feuds

Madonna is a trailblazing pop superstar who has changed the music industry forever. With a career spanning over four decades, Madge has seen her fair share of music's latest superstars come and go. But just because she's the indomitable Queen of Pop doesn't mean she always plays nice with others in her kingdom. Instead, Madonna is notorious for sharing her real, unfiltered opinions on everything from sex to religion, and even her fellow pop stars.

While the alleged feud between Madonna and Lady Gaga might be the first that comes to mind for some fans, the "Vogue" singer has actually said that she never disliked Mother Monster. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Madonna suggested the beef was fabricated because, "We live in a world where people like to pit women against each other." The only time she ever criticized Gaga, she said, was when she felt as though the artist had "blatantly ripped off" her song, "Express Yourself," with "Born This Way." A track that some critics thought sounded similar upon release in 2012, and which Madonna called "reductive" in an interview with "20/20" that same year, per Page Six. But hey, that's showbiz, right?

As it stands, the "Material Girl" hitmaker has enough actual feuds to worry about, anyway. Some of them have lasted nearly as long as her career, and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. So, grab some blonde ambition and let's get into the groove, as we take a look at the complete timeline of Madonna's many feuds.

Madonna traded barbs with Arsenio Hall

Madonna made quite the impression on the "The Arsenio Hall Show" in 1990. The nearly 30-minute interview starts off relatively calm by Madonna's usual interview standards, before turning into a barbed ping pong match between the two. Things start getting personal when Hall asks about Madonna's then-boyfriend Warren Beatty. The singer then quickly turns the questions around on the host and asks "how it feels to be dumped for John Stamos," referring to Hall's recent breakup with Paula Abdul

The back-and-forth continues with Madge famously calling Hall's fade hairstyle "tired" and saying he would have to change it if he were her background dancer. "What should I have? Hair like Warren?" he jokingly responds. Though caustic, the hilariously off-the-rails interaction became the show's highest rated episode in its history, per Entertainment Weekly

As Hall tells it, the two may have been bickering purely for entertainment value. In an interview with "VladTV," the legendary show host served the reminder that Madonna was a regular guest on the show and that the "little bit of tension" she brought along was always welcome. "The crazy thing about me and Madonna is we always left [the show] and got along. It was one of those cool relationships where you throw barbs and then you go to a Laker game." 

A Material Girl, not a Pepsi girl

The music video for Madonna's "Like a Prayer" is now considered iconic, but many people may have forgotten just how big of a stir it caused upon its release in 1989. According to Vogue, Pepsi paid the pop star $5 million to use the song in a commercial which had already aired by the time the music video came out. But when Pepsi saw the controversy the video received, the brand yanked it from ever airing again.

The New York Times reported that some people thought the music video, where Madonna dances in front of burning crosses and kisses a Black saint, was a Pepsi ad. "When you've got an ad that confuses people or concerns people, it just makes sense that that ad goes away," Pepsi spokesperson Tod MacKenzie told the outlet. 

In 2017, Madonna may have alluded to the feud again following Pepsi's controversial advert starring Kendall Jenner. Showing the supermodel attempting to end a protest by handing a police officer a can of the soda, the advert was pulled after receiving widespread criticism for having "missed the mark," as a Pepsi spokesperson put it, per The Hollywood Reporter. Just days later, Madonna appeared to make her true soda allegiance known by posting a timely throwback Instagram picture of her holding a can of Coca Cola at the 1999 Grammys with a gold medal emoji as the caption. Subtle.

Cher won't mess with mean girls

Cher has shared her opinions of Madonna for over 30 years, but the "Hung Up" singer has never made a peep in response to the fellow icon. Starting in 1991, Cher told Steve Kmetko that while she respected a lot of things about the artist, she ultimately thought Madonna acted "like a spoiled brat" after having her over to her home several times. "There's something about her that I don't like. She's mean. I don't like that," she said. 

That same year, during an interview with Terry Wogan, she served a sharp, backhanded compliment about the superstar. "[Madonna is] unbelievably creative," she said, "because she's not unbelievably talented, she's not beautiful ... she's rude." A couple of decades later, and the beef was still fresh as ever. In 2013, Cher made fans giggle on Twitter when a user asked how she celebrated Madonna's birthday. Her response? "I got a colonic." She later told the "#BehindTheTweets" YouTube series that she didn't really have her colon cleaned, but a joke's a joke. "I thought it was really funny," she said. "It made me laugh."

That same year, the Oscar-winning actor set the record straight on her beef with Madge, writing in a Reddit AMA, "I never hated her, I just thought she was a b***h. Actually I quite respect her. ... She always saw trends WAY before anyone else, and had great videos." 

Madonna and Piers Morgan have history

Piers Morgan's beef with Madonna reportedly dates back to the '90s when he was working as the head of a newspaper. During an interview with Access, the controversial blabbermouth claimed her publicist denied she was pregnant, allowing his competitor to break the story first. Out of spite, he banned the singer from ever appearing on "Piers Morgan Tonight," and continued to bash her year after year on Twitter and during outbursts on "Good Morning Britain," per Daily Mail.

"Madonna and I, we've never really seen eye-to-eye," he explained to Access. "There was a bread roll throwing incident in London in the mid-'90s; there was an incident at a hotel in the south of France [at] the Cannes Film Festival involving a photographer and a bodyguard; there's been an incident involving a pub owned by her recently departed husband, Guy Ritchie, where my brother was the manager."

Morgan called Madonna "pathetic" on "Good Morning Britain" in 2020 after reporting that the pop star was set to direct her own biopic, per the Mirror. "She doesn't know how to age gracefully. She's trying to act the age of her boyfriends. I think the latest one's about — what is he, 18?" Morgan said. In 2022, he also criticized the pop star's money management in a column for The Sun (via Express) where he wrote, "I've heard Madonna's so mean with money her purse has to be opened with chainsaws." 

The Jackson family aren't fans

They may be household names, but that doesn't certify any mutual respect between Madonna and the Jackson family. Janet Jackson started her feud with the "Material Girl" singer in a '90s interview where she was asked about the similarities between their careers. "How do I put this — I think what I do has class to it," Janet said. Madonna played it cool but, just ahead of her 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, she dissed the "Feedback" singer during an interview with NY1, per PopCrush. "You don't have to show nipples to be interesting and it doesn't necessarily mean you're cutting edge if you do, right?" Madonna said in reference to Janet's infamous Super Bowl incident.

Janet's brother, Michael Jackson, then briefly dated Madonna in the early 1990s, according to brother Jermaine Jackson's book "You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes." But the "Thriller" legend did not have fond memories of their time together. According to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's book "The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul in Intimate Conversation," per CNN, Michael reportedly told his spiritual adviser that Madonna "is not a nice person." The tapes allegedly suggest that Michael was unhappy that "Madonna laid the law down" before they went out, expressing that Disneyland was a no-no, and that they were to attend a "strip bar" instead. "I am not going to there," he purportedly said. "If that's how it is, forget this whole thing."

Madonna thought Mariah Carey was basic

Madonna started her feud with Mariah Carey in 1995, telling NME, per Madonna Nation, that the singer lacked "a f****** point of view." She added that she thought Carey "wishes" she could be as thought-provoking as her and snarled, "On the other hand ... if you're not terribly bright I suppose that you don't really give a damn."

An MTV News report later claimed that Madonna said she'd "rather kill herself than be Mariah Carey." The cable channel gave Carey a chance to respond, to which she jabbed back, "I really haven't paid attention to Madonna since I was in seventh or eighth grade when she used to be popular." A year later, Madonna had another diss for her "Obsessed" peer in an interview with Spin. "We have to realize that the same country that acquitted O.J. is the same country ... that buys Mariah Carey records. It's this homogeneity. But it's got nothing to do with art."

Years later, Carey was rewarded the Icon Award at the 2019 Billboard Awards. On Facebook, Madonna posted an exasperated behind-the-scenes video of herself laying on the dressing room floor of the very same Billboard Awards, where she bemoaned a sad fact of her attendance. "I will be honored with nothing ... as usual," she sighed. She didn't name names, but some, like the Daily Star, seemed to think it was a subtle jab at her sparring partner.

Elton John isn't feeling the love tonight

Elton John has always been critical of Madonna, for one reason or another. At the 2004 Q Awards, he took aim at the singer's lip-syncing habits while onstage to accept the Classic Songwriter award. "Madonna, best f****** live act? F*** off," he said. "... Sorry about it, but I think everyone who lip syncs ... on stage when you pay like 75 [pounds] should be shot." When "Good Morning America" asked the "Rocket Man" singer if he had any advice for the Material Girl ahead of her 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance, he similarly replied. "Make sure you lip-sync good." Clearly, he is not a fan.

That same year, John went on to slam Madonna for being "such a nightmare" in an interview with Australia's "Sunday Night," per Rolling Stone. "Her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn't happen to a bigger c***," he said on the TV show. On top of suggesting that Madonna had "been so horrible" to Lady Gaga, godmother of John's sons, he also said that the "Human Nature" singer looked like a "fairground stripper." Ouch. Still, in a surprising turn of events, John told Extra TV in 2013 that he "apologized profusely" to Madonna in a French restaurant, and they are now in good standing. So, maybe there's hope for everyone?

50 Cent wasn't sweet on Madonna's candy

Madonna is still a reigning pop star in her golden years. A fact which rapper 50 Cent seems to have a problem with. In 2021, Madge posted sexy pictures to Instagram of her laying on a bed in fishnets, heels, and a bra exposing her nipples. In a now-deleted comment, per Complex, 50 said the photos were the "funniest s***" he'd ever seen. "That's Madonna under the bed trying to [be] like a virgin at 63. She shot out, if she didn't get her old a** up. LMFAO."

Madonna responded to 50 on her Instagram Stories with a photo of the two hugging on "TRL" in the mid-2000s. "[You're] just jealous you won't look as good as me or have as much fun when you are my age," Madonna wrote, tagging 50, per PopCrush. He later apologized for his comments, which Madonna found "fake" and "not valid." "What you should be apologizing for is your misogynistic, sexist, ageist behavior and remarks," she said in an Instagram video, using a filter to make herself look like an animated character.

The rapper responded with his own "The Purge"-inspired video on Twitter, in which he plays Madonna's video while dismissing her statements. He captioned the post, "Hey is there a age limit for this kinda s*** man,i'm [sic] asking for a friend."

M.I.A.'s protest provocation wasn't appreciated

Madonna recruited fellow artists LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., and CeeLo Green for her 2012 Super Bowl XLVI halftime performance. Everything was going according to plan until political British musician M.I.A. gave the middle finger to the camera. The gesture resulted in a $16.6 million lawsuit against the "Bad Girls" rapper, per The Hollywood Reporter, and scrutiny from Madge herself. "I was really surprised," Madonna told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS FM radio show, per E! News. "I didn't know anything about it. I wasn't happy about it. It's such a teenage, irrelevant thing to do. ... There was such a feeling of love and unity there. What was the point? It was just out of place."

In a statement to the NFL, M.I.A. took to her YouTube channel to question what was more inappropriate: her "offensive" finger or the allegedly "underage Black girl(s) with [their] legs wide open" who Madonna had reportedly hired as background dancers. She also cycled through a few different explanations for the gesture, first calling it "punk rock" and later, "a spiritual gesture of the Hindu goddess Matangi," per The Guardian. Whatever the real motivation, Madonna's spokesperson, Liz Rosenberg, per BBC News, said she accepted the "Paper Planes" artist's apology and believed M.I.A. "just got caught up in the moment."

Gwyneth Paltrow's Burn Book received a new name

Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna became close friends in the 2000s when they were both married to British men and living in the United Kingdom. That all came to an end when the two reportedly got into a disagreement over celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson. Without naming names, Paltrow alluded to a failing friendship in a 2010 interview with British Vogue, per Us Weekly.

"I'm having a situation right now with a friend where I'm feeling pretty angry," Paltrow said. "But revenge is corrosive and it doesn't make me feel good." As noted by the Daily Mail, some thought the GOOP founder was talking about Madonna, who the actor had spoken about later on in the interview. Although the singer once called Anderson her "savior," she reportedly did not always treat her trainer with respect. "Yeah, it's good that [Tracy] doesn't train Madonna anymore. It was too much," Paltrow told British Vogue. "She keeps people waiting — it takes up your whole day." 

Anderson addressed the rumors herself in an interview with The Times in 2017. "Madonna can demand whatever she wants to demand, she's Madonna, that's just what it is," she said. "It wasn't working for me because my demands are like, I have a kid. When I missed my son's saxophone concert because of a training session with her, I was like, 'I can't do this anymore.' That was it for me."

Mark Wahlberg and Madonna's New York brawl

In 1993, Mark Wahlberg and Madonna's heated feud reportedly started when both stars were at director Alek Keshishian's Hollywood birthday party. The singer's spokesperson, Liz Rosenberg, told People that the actor had allegedly called one of her friends "a homo," which resulted in what the party hostess described as "the hip-hop version of the OK Corral." But one source told the magazine that it was Madonna who started the beef because Wahlberg had been "dissing her in the press."

Regardless, per MTV News, both groups reportedly shouted "sexually explicit insults," and the fight spilled out onto the street, resulting in Wahlberg allegedly punching Madonna's Maverick Production talent scout, Guy Oseary, in the nose. "Guy will probably press charges — I think Marky broke his nose," Rosenberg told People.

The "Renaissance Man" actor talked about the incident in a 2012 interview with ShortList. He claimed the fight almost cost his breakout film role, saying "[Madonna] called the f****** cops on me. Told everybody this bulls*** story that I was doing s*** that I wasn't. Penny [Marshall, the producer] called me saying, 'What the f*** did you do?', but then she was like, 'F*** that, I'm giving you the part anyway.'" And then, quicker than a ray of light, the world seemed to forget that Madonna and Wahlberg were once such firm one-time enemies.