On September 16 2003, Madonna made an hour-long appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote her first children’s book, The English Roses. It was Madonna’s third appearance on the popular daytime talk show.
On September 15 2003, Madonna’s first children’s book, The English Roses, was released worldwide. To promote the book, Madonna held a reading to a group of children (and adults!) at the Gallimard Gardens in Paris.
The English Roses debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The book remained at #1 on the New York Times Children’s Best Sellers list for 7 weeks.
To date, The English Roses has sold over 500,000 copies.
On June 17 2003, the single cover for Madonna’s Hollywood single was revealed. The photo was taken from the photo shoot by Steven Klein for W Magazine.
Hollywood was the second single from the American Life album, released on July 14, 2003.
In April 2003, in an interview with Q Magazine, Madonna described the allure life in Hollywood:
“I’ve had 20 years of fame and fortune, and I feel that I have a right to an opinion on what it is and what it isn’t. All everyone is obsessed about at the moment is being a celebrity. I’m saying that’s bullshit and who knows better than me? Before it happens you have all kinds of notions about how wonderful celebrity is and how much joy it’s going to bring you. Then you arrive … Look like this you’re gonna be happy. Drive this car you’re gonna be popular. Wear these clothes and people are gonna wanna fuck you. It’s a very powerful illusion and people are caught up in it, including myself. Or I was.”
On April 28 2003, Madonna graced the cover of People Magazine: Madonna’s Real Life
Here’s a snippet of the article that went with the cover:
Once a naughty material girl, the pop icon has turned into a doting mom and devoted wife. But she’s still making waves. Visitors to Madonna’s $6.5 million Beverly Hills mansion on a recent afternoon could stroll through and behold master-works by Picasso, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and…resident artist Lourdes Leon, age 6. Alas, Lourdes belongs to the enfant terrible school of art, which has her famous mom clenching her teeth in frustration. “My daughter spilled black paint on the bedroom rug,” says a stressed Madonna. “We’re not really sure how it happened. She was left alone for two minutes, and, well, it’s not pretty.” So where is her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie? “He’s upstairs, working on a script,” she says. “I’m much more the disciplinarian of the house, although Guy is getting more involved.” Then, flashing a playful grin, she adds, “I’d have to fire him as a dad if he didn’t get more involved. I can’t be the hard one all the time.”
On April 19 2003, Madonna.com was hacked by some “fans” that didn’t agree with her anti-download policy.
Madonna’s official website was hacked and replaced by a page with links to download the complete American Life album as well as some remixes. The hack occurred only days after Madonna tried to combat illegal trading of songs from her American Life album, by flooding the Internet with fake MP3s.
The hacker defaced the homepage with the words, “This is what the fuck I think I’m doing” — a response to MP3s circulated to confuse file traders that included only a tape-looped message from Madonna herself saying, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” MP3s of every song from American Life were posted along with the hackers’ message.
Madonna.com was taken offline for an nearly fifteen hours after the hack.
On April 5 2003, an Australian interview aired that demonstrated Madonna’s quick change of heart regarding the American Life music video.
During the interview with Richard Wilkins, the following dialog takes place:
Wilkins: “You’re going to get all sorts of criticism I think.”
Madonna: “Why. Tell me why!”
W: “People are going to say it’s inappropriate to show bombs going off and planes bombing people.”
M: “Why? That’s on the news every five minutes! I’m just using news footage that’s already been seen by everyone.”
W: “I’m suggesting that some people are going to think maybe it’s ill-timed.”
M: “But in a way it’s perfect timing, because it’s what we are experiencing right now – so, it’s American life. It’s very current and appropriate I think.”
Wilkins may have convinced Madonna to go cold on the idea.
“Maybe I did, perhaps I caused her to think again,” he said. “She is very proud of the video, as she should be because it’s incredible.”
By the time the interview aired (a week later), Madonna had already pulled the American Life video and made a statement regarding her choice.