Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958) is an American recording artist, dancer, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977, for a career in modern dance. After performing as member of the pop musical groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her self-titled debut album in 1983, and then produced three consecutive number-one studio albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1980s and four more since year 2000.
Madonna is known for exploring religious symbolism and sexual themes in her work. This drew criticism from the Vatican throughout the 1980s. In 1992, she founded an entertainment company, Maverick, which published a book of erotic photographs called Sex. She also released a similar themed studio album called Erotica and starred in a film called Body of Evidence. These works generated negative publicity and coincided with a fall in commercial sales in the 1990s. Madonna's career was revived in 1998, when the release of her seventh studio album Ray of Light garnered critical acclaim.
Madonna has acted in 22 films. Although most failed critically and commercially, she earned a Golden Globe Award for her role in the 1996 film Evita. Divorced from actor Sean Penn, Madonna has a daughter, Lourdes, by her former personal trainer Carlos Leon. She also has two sons with former husband Guy Ritchie, one of whom was adopted from Malawi, causing media allegations that they violated that country's adoption laws.