How do you rebel against a mother who has done everything in her life from take MDMA in New York clubs to sleeping with most of the men and women in Hollywood over the years? If you’re 15-year-old Lourdes Leon, you hang about with a gang of New York hipsters and smoke like a chimney after your Mum has ditched her own wild ways for a macrobiotic diet and early nights.
Madonna has always been a good parent, I think, but she has always been extremely strict and banned television from the house as well as not allowing the kids to have presents at Christmas (Kabballah thing). In the past few years Lourdes has started accompanying her mother to Hollywood events and been handed her own clothing label ‘Material Girl’.
Last year, the then 14-year-old Lourdes struck up a close friendship with Madge’s boyfriend Brahim Zaibat’s young French cousin. The two met on a $45,000 holiday at the Hotel Du Cap on the Cap D’Antibes in the South of France. Madonna had arranged the trip in a bid to win over her much younger boyfriend’s (he was 24) mother Patricia Vidal who at 45 at the time was eight years younger than the 53-year-old star.
Patricia and Madonna may seem to come from entirely different worlds, with one living in a cramped council flat in a tower block in a rough area of Marseille and the other being a multi-millionaire American pop star. And, there was the fact that Patricia is not only younger than her son’s new girlfriend, she also grew up listening to her music and is a strict Muslim to boot while Madge has persuaded her boyfriend to convert to her own religion- Kabbalah .
But, with the relationship growing serious, Madge vowed to win her man’s mum over. As well as splashing out on a mega-expensive vacation for Patricia and Brahim’s young cousins, she also took extensive French lessons ahead of the trip. The Hotel Du Cap (pictured above) can be a daunting place – it’s beautiful, just stunning, with views out over the clear blue Med, but the Eden Roc restaurant is one of those whispery places where you really worry about which fork to use with which course and you have about twelve waiters per table. A bowl of clear chicken soup costs €80. That’s almost USD$200. And, there’s a strict dress code. Imagine sitting there, surrounded by Russian Billionaires and their cosmetically enhanced dinner companions, having just taken a three hour car journey from your council flat, waiting to meet Madonna, arguably THE biggest star in the World? It’s so olde worlde there in the Chintzy interior that the menus they give women don’t even have the prices marked because they assume the man will pay. There’s a sommelier to advise on wine and even special bread trolley and desert trolley waiters. There’s only a few restaurants in France of that quality.
And, guess who won Patricia over? Lourdes. She speaks word-perfect French, because she attended the Lycée Francais in London and now attends the same school but in New York. The lessons are all in French, I have a friend who went there and she is English but French people think she’s French when she speaks. And, Lourdes is the same, which totally disarmed Patricia who was dreading dinner conversation with Brahim translating from English for her.
As the Ciccone entourage sat down and joined the Zaibat-Vidal clan for that all-important meeting of the two families, Lourdes chattered away happily, complained that the restaurant was too “stuck-up” and mocked her mother, who was nervous as well, for her terrible French accent and constant grammatical mistakes.
Across the white linen-covered table, with the silverware clattering, Patricia relaxed and suddenly realised that Madonna was a woman just like her. A single mum from a tough background just trying to make her way in the world and bring her kids up as protectively as she can. She saw too that her son was happy with this person who she knew from the television and had quite forgotten was a human just like everyone else.
Madonna went all out to impress her boyfriend’s mother with Lourdes as her secret weapon and it worked. She’ll no doubt get a bollocking for being papped smoking, but believe you me, Lourdes has earned her place in her mother’s good books.
Here’s a picture of Lourdes on that holiday last year with one of Brahim’s cousins. – Wouldn’t it be great if they start dating?