Live To Tell-All
By Noah Michelson
Christopher Ciccone spent most of the last 47 years following his big sister Madonna around the world and pitching in where and whenever she needed him: back up dancer, tour director, interior designer and -- above all -- confidante. Which is probably the position she most regrets assigning him now that he's released a tell-all memoir entitled Life With My Sister Madonna. The Queen of Pop outed her brother in a 1991 interview with The Advocate, so it seems only fair that Ciccone should have a chance to return the favor and air some of her dirty laundry. And while he restrains himself from exposing anything too terribly shocking, word on the street is that Madge is none-too-pleased with her little brother.
The book was released nearly six weeks ago, but Out always likes to arrive at the party fashionably late -- when everyone is already loosened up a bit and thus more likely to spill a secret or two. Ciccone was more than cooperative and chatted with us about Madonna's reaction to the book, why she's distanced herself from her gay fans, and a particularly shocking, sticky night partying with Demi Moore.
Out: Was there any intimidation -- subtle or not so subtle -- when Madonna found out you were publishing the book?
Christopher Ciccone: Three weeks before the book came out Simon and Schuster approached the media and Madonna found out from someone at ABC. And I got an email from her -- I hadn't heard from her in nine months. When her private email name pops up on my screen, I'm like 'Ack!' It just said, 'Call me.' That's all it said. A command. And I don't respond to that anymore. So I didn't. Then I got a phone call from her and she left a message -- the same thing, 'Call me.' And I thought, No, I'm not going to call you. I know what this is about. [Laughs]
So she was flipping out?
But she didn't know exactly what was in the book, did she?
She had no idea what the content was. She went to the worst possible place [mentally] -- which is where everyone else went, too. That was a little disappointing for me on her part. After spending 47 years of her life with me I would have thought she'd have known me a little better and known that I wasn't going to write a book that tore her apart. And that's what she was expecting. And I think it's what other people wanted. That was another surprising thing -- the bloodlust out there, that people wanted that kind of a book. A lot of bloggers were saying what an awful person I was but, in the same breath, that they couldn't wait to read it.
Does that other book -- the one she was afraid you had written -- exist?
In my head. [Laughs] It's from another time. I did start writing a book when I was very angry with her, six years ago, and I got five pages and then stopped. I thought, This is not the way to do this. It felt bad. I knew I was angry and I know what happens -- it's just bad karma. It's hard to work in Hollywood again after that. People see you in a weird way. And I didn't want to be seen as a destroyer. So I didn't write that book and time passed and I got to a better place for me and it felt like the right time.
I think the most shocking thing about the book is how totally not shocking it is. She's arguably the most famous woman in the world but it's like the Wizard of Oz and you've pulled back the curtain to reveal a run-of-the-mill -- if not fairly unpleasant -- human being.
We both are [unpleasant]. It's not just her I'm exposing. I'm exposing myself just as much. I'm no angel. It's our relationship -- a brother and sister relationship behind the Iron Curtain. The stuff we did on stage was another whole thing. I think those were great moments -- the Girlie Show, Blonde Ambition, the houses -- great moments of creativity for me and for her. Those things far outweighed the things that were bad. And those came in doses. And I've gotten a lot of grief about If you were being treated so poorly, why didn't you leave? But that was my family. She was my family. My real family I wasn't in contact with. I left town when I was 19. I was gay and I didn't have a relationship with them. So there was no place for me to go. I couldn't walk away from her.
You've said you have at least one more book in you.
I think so. It probably won't be a novel. The thing I don't go into is my personal sexual history because I was with somebody in my 20's and 30's. I had my first one-night stand when I was 35. That's old for a lot of people. So I got to experiment from 35 on. So there's a whole 10-year period when it was all sex and drugs.
So that's all still churning inside of you?
[Laughs] No, I think I'm past that moment. Or at least it's certainly not what it was. It wasn't just that -- it was also a really creative period for me. I did a lot of painting, and a lot of writing, and a lot of photographs from that period. So I might do a diary from the Hollywood period because it's a bit darker. Definitely X-rated.
Speaking of which, there are a few points in the book when guys used you to try and get close to Madonna but --
You know, two weeks ago I was at a bar in L.A. and I was sitting with my friends and this kid came up to me and touched me on the hand and then walked away. And then he came back and said, 'I just wanted to touch Madonna's DNA.' And I was like, 'You are a creep.' Just creepy! People are like that. It's just the way it is. Six years ago I probably would have torn him apart. But now I don't give a shit. Whatever. It's cool.
Did you ever use your sister to get laid?
No. Never to get laid. I used to her to get into clubs and stuff. But God, no.. First of all, it wasn't something I told people upfront. It's something I'd wait until --
You're having breakfast with them the next morning?
Not even then. Some people worked it out. Some people didn't. I was staying with a friend of mine in Miami once and I brought a guy home with me and we were sitting on the sofa -- I think we were making out -- and then my friend comes home and he's plastered. He sees the guy I'm with and says, 'You're cute!' and I'm like, 'Dude, go to bed.' So he disappears into his room. Two minutes later he presses the 'page all' button on his intercom and all throughout the house you hear, 'Did you tell him you're Madonna's brother yet?' And I thought Fuck!
You'd been outed again.
[Laughs] Everything changes completely. I told the guy I was with, 'You should probably go.' So, no. I never did it. That was not an aphrodisiac for me.
Has the book gotten you laid?
[Laughs] No. It probably could have, but I haven't had any time. I've been so damn busy. I'm in need of some affection. I'll admit to that.