Today in Madonna History: December 28, 1988

On December 28 1988, Madonna filed assault charges against Sean Penn at the sheriff’s office in Malibu, California.

Versions of what happened on that date include:

  • Sean scaled the wall surrounding their Malibu home and started a quarrel with Madonna in their bedroom
  • Madonna threatened to leave the house
  • Sean attempted to tie Madonna to a chair with the cord from a lamp, but she fled the bedroom
  • Sean chased Madonna into living room and then tied her to a chair using twine
  • Sean threatened to cut off her hair
  • The police report indicates that Sean was “drinking liquor straight from the bottle” and that the abuse went on for several hours, according to Madonna
  • Madonna was smacked several times while bound to the chair
  • Sean eventually untied Madonna and she fled the house in her car and drove to the sheriff’s office

When she arrived at the sheriff’s office, Lieutenant Bill McSweeny is quoted as saying, “I hardly recognized her as Madonna. She was weeping, her lip was bleeding and she had obviously been struck.”

Sean was charged with inflicting “corporal injury and traumatic conditions” on Madonna as well as committing “battery”.

Madonna filed for divorce a few days later and withdrew the assault charges against Sean.

On December 17 2015, Madonna made this statement about the above mentioned rumours/speculation:

“I am aware of the allegations that have surfaced over the years accusing Sean of incidents of physical assault and abuse against me, which purportedly resulted in Sean’s arrest for domestic assault and battery against me. Sean has never struck me, ‘tied me up,’ or physically assaulted me, and any report to the contrary is completely outrageous, malicious, reckless and false.”

So .. according to Madonna in 2015, these stories are false. But, if you listen to Till Death Do Us Part and piece the story together bit-by-bit — you might think she’s re-writing history to save a long-time friend and life-long love. Either way, it’s her decision ..

Till Death Do Us Part:

Our luck is running out of time
You’re not in love with me anymore
I wish that it would change, but it won’t, if you don’t
Our luck is running out of time
You’re not in love with me anymore
I wish that it would change, but it won’t
‘Cause you don’t love me no more

You need so much but not from me
Turn your back in my hour of need
Something’s wrong but you pretend you don’t see
I think I interrupt your life
When you laugh it cuts me just like a knife
I’m not your friend, I’m just your little wife

They never laugh, not like before
She takes the keys, he breaks the door
She cannot stay here anymore
He’s not in love with her anymore

The bruises they will fade away
You hit so hard with the things you say
I will not stay to watch your hate as it grows
You’re not in love with someone else
You don’t even love yourself
Still I wish you’d ask me not to go

He takes a drink, she goes inside
He starts to scream, the vases fly
He wishes that she wouldn’t cry
He’s not in move with her anymore

He makes demands, she draws the line
He starts the fight, she starts the lie
But what is truth when something dies
He’s not in love with her anymore

You’re not in love with someone else
You don’t even love yourself
Still I wish you’d ask me not to go

She’s had enough, she says the end
But she’ll come back, she knows it then
A chance to start it all again
Till death do us part

3 responses

  1. >>The song on your album “Till Death Do Us Part” portrays a tormented, volatile and dangerous marriage. The implication is autobiographical. How honest are the lyrics?
    Like most of the songs on my album, it’s very much drawn from my life, factually speaking, but it’s fictionalized, too. “Till Death Do Us Part” is about a destructive relationship that is powerful and painful. In this song, however, it’s a cycle that you can’t get out of until you die. It’s futile. I wanted the song to be very shocking, and I think it was. It’s about a dysfunctional relationship, a sadomasochistic relationship that can’t end. Now that’s where the truth stops, because I would never want to continue a terrible relationship forever and ever and ever until I die.

    >>How accurate are the tabloid tales of your night of terror – the nine hours in bondage?
    Extremely inaccurate, as they usually are. They made it all up. But I expect it. They’re always making shit up. I’ve completely reconciled myself to that fact.

    And I thought you were the biggest fan of M.
    Madonna’s songs have never been 100% autobiographical. In some cases it’s more fiction than anything.
    She denied it in 1989 and recently denied it again. No one is re-writing history, if you believe in TABLOID stories it’s your problem.

    Greetings ; )

    • I think you’re missing the point. Jay was simply noting the irony in the fact that the song’s lyrics appear to reinforce the tabloid claims. He didn’t state whether or not he believes that the tabloid claims are factual, only that it is an easy assumption to make when connecting the lyrics of the song with the tabloid stories. Madonna is certainly intelligent enough to have known when she decided to include Till Death To Us Part on the album that it would cause people to question whether there was violence in her marriage, especially in light of the tabloid claims…clearly she would have excluded the song from the album if she’d had an issue with people speculating on it at the time.

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