Stars Who Can't Stand Madonna

Madonna may be the Queen of Pop, but that doesn't mean every other celeb on the planet is a loyal subject. In fact, there are plenty of stars who really loathe the "Like a Prayer" singer. Here's a sampling.

David Letterman

When Madonna appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1994, she was so obnoxious and crass that she'd probably make a modern-day Miley Cyrus blush. Madge dropped a slew of F-bombs and double entendres, even giving Letterman a pair of her underwear and refusing to leave the stage. She later claimed the disastrous appearance was her way of protesting against television censorship. Sure.

Sandra Bernhard

In the early '90s, comedian Sandra Bernhard was one of Madonna's best (and most public) pals. They even appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman together. Then something changed. While neither Bernhard nor Madge has ever divulged what happened between them, Bernhard has been vocal about her evolving distaste for Madonna as a person (though she respects her as an artist.)

"We were friends. We don't speak anymore," Bernhard told Dot429 (via Page Six). "I keep my friends my whole life, but Madonna feels differently." When addressing Madge's much-younger boyfriends, Bernhard said, "I'm not sure how involved she is with these young boys. She has four kids at home."

Arsenio Hall

When Madonna appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1990 to promote Dick Tracy (1990), she made the comedian feel exceedingly uncomfortable by bringing up his ex-girlfriend, Paula Abdul, and Abdul's rumored new flame, John Stamos. "Are you jealous of John Stamos? I want to know how it feels to be dumped for John Stamos," she said before offering Hall a gold ring "because I feel bad for you." 

Hall laughed it off, adding, "For those who don't know, there was a rumor that Paula Abdul and I were dating...and then I guess Paula showed up at the Grammys with John Stamos, and it was a full house, I couldn't go."

Madonna kept at it. "[Abdul] wanted somebody who was home more often," she sassed. 

Hall kept his cool, but lamented, "Wow, you're telling all my business."

Madge defended her move: "I know you were heading in the direction of getting in my [sex] life, so I thought I'd turn it around."

They changed the subject eventually, but the tension between was palpable for the rest of the episode. Madonna proceeded to call Hall's hairstyle "tired" and suggest he and best friend Eddie Murphy were more than friends. On the bright side? Entertainment Weekly reported that it was the show's highest-rated episode ever.

Mark Wahlberg

According to People, Mark Wahlberg reportedly used a homophobic slur to refer to a member of Madonna's entourage at a party in 1993. The artist then-known as Marky Mark then proceeded to exchange "sexual-related" insults with the Queen of Pop herself. When her longtime manager, Guy Oseary, stepped in, Wahlberg allegedly punched him hard enough to have possibly broken his nose.

Mariah Carey

Madonna threw the first punch when she slammed Mariah Carey in a 1996 interview, telling Spin that Carey's music wasn't "art" and that if she had to sing Carey's catalog she'd "kill [herself]." Little did Madge know she'd opened a huge can of shade that would span decades (because no one serves shade better than Queen Mimi).

When MTV News asked Carey about Madonna's comment in early 1996, she shrugged, "I really haven't paid attention to Madonna since I was in like, seventh or eighth grade when she used to be popular, so I didn't hear that."

In a 1998 interview, Carey doubled down when asked what she thought of Madge. "I haven't heard the new album. Growing up, I liked her first album a lot. That was really popular... Good for her." Several times, Carey has allegedly mocked Madonna, though not by name, for using a faux British accent.


In fairness to Madonna, it seems like Deadmau5 has had beef with just about every artist on the planet. That said, the DJ and producer took Madge to task in 2012 for comments she made about drugs in relation to the Ultra Music Festival. When introducing DJ Avicii at the festival, Madonna asked the crowd, "How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?" ("Molly" is slang for the drug MDMA, which Madonna also referenced in her album titled MDNA.)

Deadmau5 was furious, tweeting (via NME), "very classy there Madonna...such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. quite the f'n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! f**king cant smack my head hard enough right now... I can appriciate [sic] her meteoric career, and all good deeds done, but WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT? That's your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies [sic]? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? f**k off you f**king IDIOT. f**k."

Madonna never responded to his comments, but she did awkwardly hug him at the 2015 Tidal launch.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna were BFFs for years, but they reportedly had a falling out when Madonna divorced Guy Ritchie in 2008. Some sources claimed the ladies just had "less and less in common," but Paltrow hinted that there may be more to the story. 

Paltrow reportedly told Vogue (via the Daily Mail), "I can be mean. I can cave in to gossip. I can ice people out and I can definitely harbor revenge. In fact, I'm having a situation right now with a friend where I'm feeling pretty angry. But revenge is corrosive and it doesn't make me feel good." Paltrow later referenced her long-time personal trainer, Tracy Anderson. "It's good that [Anderson] doesn't train Madonna any more. It was too much. She keeps people waiting—it takes up your whole day."

A source told Us Weekly (via Celebitchy) that the beef started when Madonna mistreated her Oscar-winning pal. "Madonna would s**t on her, over and over," the insider said, adding that after Paltrow dropped her, "[Madonna] feels Gwyneth abandoned her. Now Madonna will do anything to make her suffer."

Elton John

Sir Elton John and Madonna's feud lasted more than a decade. It began in November 2002, when John called her song "Die Another Day" "the worst Bond tune ever." In 2004, he slammed her nomination for best live act at the Q Awards, saying onstage, "Since when has lip-syncing been live? Anyone who lip-syncs in public on stage when you pay 75 pounds to see them should be shot." She reportedly started returning his Christmas cards and rejected his invitation to perform at his bachelor party.

In January 2012, John and husband David Furnish both slammed Madonna publicly when her song "Masterpiece" from W.E. (2011) beat out John's contributions to Gnomeo and Juliet (2011) at the Golden Globes. That July, he said on Australian TV, "Why is she such a nightmare? Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn't happen to a bigger b***h...  And she looks like a f**king fairground stripper."

In 2016, John revealed on The Graham Norton Show (via the Daily Mail) that he and Madge had buried the hatchet. "I was in a restaurant in the south of France a couple of years ago and she walked in so I sent her a note saying, 'You'll probably never speak to me again but I am really sorry and ashamed of myself and can I buy you dinner,'" he recalled. "She was very gracious and accepted and we talked. We are fine—it was just me and my big mouth."

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's trouble with Madonna is so long and so shady that it warranted its own list. After Gaga was deemed the second coming of Madonna, the dueling divas made fun of their allegedy feud on Saturday Night Live. However, Madonna later dissed Gaga in real life, calling the "Born This Way" singer's music "reductive" in comparison to her own and performing deliberate mashups of "Born This Way" and "Express Yourself" to seemingly highlight the similarities.

Gaga told a British radio show in 2016, "Madonna and I are very different... I wouldn't make that comparison at all. I don't mean to disrespect Madonna... But I play a lot of instruments. I write all my own music. I spend hours and hours a day in the studio. I'm a producer. I'm a writer... What I do is different. I'm not just rehearsing over and over again to put on a show. There is a spontaneity to my work. I allow myself to fail. I allow myself to break. I'm not afraid of my flaws... I just will not be compared to anyone anymore, I am who the f**k I am and this is me." 

Is Lady Gaga the new Elton John? Perhaps these two could use an impromptu dinner in France.


Madonna raised eyebrows when she performed a tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, and not just because of her drug-themed accessories (including her diamond-encrusted "Dealer" purse). These two had a history that was checkered with disses on both sides.

Madge mocked the Purple One in a 1994 Los Angeles Times profile, griping, "I had dinner with Prince once, and he was just sipping tea, very daintily. I was stuffing food down my face and I was like, 'Aren't you going to eat?' And I thought, 'Oh my God!' I have this theory about people who don't eat. They annoy me. It's something about being in control." 

Rolling Stone reported that she referred to the singer, who she dated briefly in 1985, as a "little troll." 

In 2007, Prince said during a concert that he has "more hits than Madonna's got kids."

Though Rolling Stone reported that they resolved their feud in 2011 when Prince invited Madonna to a show at Madison Square Garden, he still shaded her slightly two years later. In 2013, Prince talked to Billboard about his contract dispute with Warner Bros. "It was also about Madonna. She was getting paid, but at the same time we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights. It wasn't about her. This was about business." 

After Prince's death, his ex-girlfriend, Anna Fantastic, told TMZ that he refused to appear in a video for "Love Song," his duet with Madonna.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson's beef with Madonna allegedly started with Madge's attempt to date Janet's brother, Michael, in the early '90s. Jermaine Jackson wrote in his book, You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes, "I think Madonna sincerely adored Michael, but the feeling wasn't mutual and she committed two cardinal sins. The first was that she was hell-bent on loosening him up and getting him to see life through her eyes. The second mistake was when Michael went to dinner with her one night and Madonna had the temerity to criticize Janet. Michael was furious and not surprisingly, they never went on another date."

In 1994, Janet told Vibe, "I never said 'hate.' Hate is a strong word. But if I did hate [Madonna], I'd have valid reasons." After that interview was published, Madge told veejay Kurt Loder. "[She] dissed me, I don't know [why]. I read it myself and was like, 'Okay, that sounds ominous.' What did I do? I've never met the woman, I don't know anyone she knows. I'm mystified."

Later, when asked in an interview about going head-to-head with Madonna, Janet replied, gently, "I think—how do I put this? I think what I do has class to it. I'll say that."

As recently as January 2012, it was Madonna who seemed to be stoking the fire. During a Super Bowl halftime show press tour, Madonna snidely addressed Jackson's "Nipplegate," saying, "You don't have to show nipples to be interesting. It doesn't necessarily mean you're cutting edge if you do, right?"


In 1991, Cher was loud and clear about her lackluster opinion of Madonna. When an interviewer asked if she "goes jogging like Madonna," Cher cracked, "You mean my best friend Madonna?" Her interviewer then said that the question was a way to "drag [Madonna] in," to which Cher responded, "How about dragging her in by her hair?"

The "Believe" singer continued: "In my day, I was pretty good at doing the same thing that she's doing, but she does it so much better. She's unbelievably creative because she's not unbelievably talented, she's not beautiful, but she's kind of—she's rude... But I really don't have anything against her... I do respect that she goes farther than anyone else should go."