Why Does Madonna Wear a Cross Necklace?

Madonna has been in the spotlight for nearly four decades. The Grammy-winning singer has made headlines throughout that time for her antics both on and off stage — sometimes without even saying a word.

Madonna wearing a cross necklace
Madonna | Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Madonna has been provocative throughout her music career

In the early 1980s, Madonna was a sweet new singer on the scene with dreams of being a pop music superstar. With the release of her 1984 album Like a Virgin, she made it clear that she wasn’t going to be any conventional kind of pop star. Her performance of the title song at the first-ever MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 showed that she was a force to be reckoned with.

Madonna sexed up her image even more in the early 1990s. She released her album Erotica in 1992; the following day, she released the Sex book, a collection of explicit photos of the singer. In the early 2000s, Madonna made headlines again when she famously kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

Madonna smiling wearing a cross necklace
Madonna | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Madonna started wearing a cross necklace because she ‘thought Jesus was sexy’

Madonna was a free spirit practically from the get-go in the 1980s. She reflected on her career — including the controversies she courted in the early days — in a 2013 interview with Harper’s Bazaar.

“When you’re 25, it’s a little bit easier to be daring, especially if you are a pop star, because eccentric behavior is expected from you,” she said. “By then I was shaving under my arms, but I was also wearing as many crucifixes around my neck as I could carry, and telling people in interviews that I did it because I thought Jesus was sexy. Well, he was sexy to me, but I also said it to be provocative.”

She went on to ruminate more seriously on her relationship with her own spirituality. “I have a funny relationship with religion. I’m a big believer in ritualistic behavior as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. But I’m not a big fan of rules,” she admitted. “Yes, I like to provoke; it’s in my DNA. But nine times out of 10, there’s a reason for it.”

Madonna singing and playing guitar
Madonna performs during her “Sticky and Sweet” world tour at Olympic Stadium on September 6, 2008 in Rome, Italy | Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images

Madonna famously studied Kabbalah

In the early 2000s, Madonna made headlines as one of the many celebrities who spoke about studying Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. But she said frankly that she wasn’t jumping on any bandwagon and was actually trying to better herself in the process.

“At 35, I was divorced and looking for love in all the wrong places. I decided that I needed to be more than a girl with gold teeth and gangster boyfriends. More than a sexual provocateur imploring girls not to go for second-best baby,” she remembered. “I began to search for meaning and a real sense of purpose in life. I wanted to be a mother, but I realized that just because I was a freedom fighter didn’t mean I was qualified to raise a child. I decided I needed to have a spiritual life. That’s when I discovered Kabbalah.”

“When the world discovered I was studying Kabbalah, I was accused of joining a cult. I was accused of being brainwashed. Of giving away all my money. I was accused of all sorts of crazy things,” she continued. “You would think that studying the mystical interpretation of the Old Testament and trying to understand the secrets of the universe was a harmless thing to do. I wasn’t hurting anybody. Just going to class, taking notes in my spiral notebook, contemplating my future. I was actually trying to become a better person.”

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