Today in Madonna History: January 15, 1996

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On January 15 1996, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine, with the title: Madonna faces down her stalker in court.

Here’s an excerpt from the issue:

At first glance, it looked like any other Madonna-centric media event, with scrambling news crews and ogling fans swarming around her black limousine. But as soon as she entered courtroom 116 in the L.A. Criminal Courts Building on Jan. 3, it became clear that this was no ordinary Madonna performance. Inside, a jury listened intently as the normally flamboyant singer, 37, dressed with subdued elegance in a black, knee-length suit, soberly delivered testimony against a 38-year-old drifter accused of stalking and threatening to kill her. “He was there to take me away; he wanted me to be his wife,” she said in measured tones. “If he couldn’t have me [he told my secretary], he would slit my throat, from ear to ear.”

Madonna’s hour-long testimony may bring to some kind of conclusion an unsettling series of events that began when Robert Dewey Hoskins was first found hanging around the singer’s Hollywood Hills estate. Hoskins showed up at Madonna’s home last April 7, jumping a security wall before being ejected from the 3.5-acre grounds by a private guard. (Madonna was not home at the time.) Returning from a bike ride with her personal trainer the following day, Madonna encountered Hoskins at her gate. “He looked homeless, dirty; his clothes were wrinkled, and he had a crazy look in his eyes,” she testified. His stare, she said, was “creepy…deranged. It was scary.” Hoskins said nothing but left a note that said, “I love you. You will be my wife for keeps.”

The appearances by Hoskins were unsettling enough, Madonna says, to persuade her to sell the estate, once the home of gangster Bugsy Siegel. Seven weeks later, while Madonna was in Florida, where she also owns a home, Hoskins was back, this time carrying a four-inch wooden heart with the oddly misspelled inscription “Love To My Wife Madnna.”

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Today in Madonna History: December 18, 2000

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On December 18 2000, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine:  Madonna and family: A burglar in the house.

In the predawn hours of Dec. 1, the unsettling sounds of an intruder downstairs awoke Madonna and her fiancé, British film director Guy Ritchie, 32, at their rented Victorian mansion in London’s Notting Hill. By the time help arrived, the thief, who police believe had targeted the house at random, had fled with a laptop computer in Ritchie’s year-old black Range Rover. The shock of the invasion aside, little harm was done. The couple’s 4-month-old son, Rocco, and Madonna’s daughter Lourdes, 4, slept right through the excitement, and the SUV was recovered later that day in London.

“On a scale of 1 to 10,” says Ritchie pal and publicist Kris Thykier, “it’s a 1.”   Yet security plainly rates a 10 in Madonna’s mind. Though she recently knocked L.A. by announcing “I feel safer” in London, she was burgled in the same house last June. After that theft, the star shelled out $280,000 to tighten security at the three-story house, which came equipped with a 5-ft. stone wall and iron railings.

Contrary to press reports that she purchased a $10.3 million Georgian property in nearby Belgravia, real estate agents say that Madonna—who has made a second career of shopping for London houses—is still on the prowl to buy a residence.   Meanwhile, jetting off to Rome 12 hours after the heist to promote her new Music album, Madonna, 42, put aside her burglary fears with a 90-minute shopping spree at the chichi Fendi boutique. Shop manager Mariano Manselli, who declines to confirm reports of a $15,000 tab, demurely labels the haul “Christmas shopping.”

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Today in Madonna History: December 14, 1987

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On December 14 1987, Madonna and Sean Penn appeared on the cover of People magazine.

Everyone Said It Wouldn’t Last… …And It Didn’t. After Two Years of Marriage, Madonna and Sean Penn Go Their Separate Ways.  

Well, you can’t blame Judge John Merrick. It was Merrick, now a retired justice of the peace, who performed the August 1985 marriage of Madonna Louise Ciccone and Sean “KO” Penn. “I felt they were serious about their vows,” says Merrick. “I remember a line from the ceremony: ‘Although there will be times that your moods may falter, and you’ll question each other’s motives, the faith and love that you share will help to show that your inconsistency is only for the moment.’ ”   Trouble is, for Sean, 27, and Madonna, 29, that moment seemed to persist for a little over two years. Now, after 27 months of holy matrimony and unholy acrimony, the material girl and her rebel without a pause are positively, absolutely, this-time-they’re-not-kidding headed for that crowded community called Splitsville. “The marriage is definitely over,” says Madonna’s spokesperson, Liz Rosenberg. Seconds Penn’s publicist, Lois Smith, “The two of them have called off the marriage.”

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Today in Madonna History: September 17, 2001

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On September 17 2001, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine as part of the Best and Worst Dressed feature.

People magazine had this to say about Madonna’s great fashion choices in 2001:

Madonna wore midriff-baring Dolce & Gabbana cowgirl pants to Europe’s MTV Music Awards last fall—just three months after giving birth to son Rocco. Britain’s Times later praised the star for baring “her potbelly” during her concert tour, declaring, “The truly hip are taking a leaf out of Madonna’s book and learning to love their tummies.”

Today in Madonna History: August 29, 2005

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On August 29 2005, Madonna appeared on the cover of People Magazine with the caption: Bone Breaking Fall.

Madonna had planned to celebrate her 47th birthday on a warm summer afternoon at her country home outside London, relaxing with her husband and children and horseback riding with her assistant.

And then: boom.

On Aug. 16 the singer took a spill on an unfamiliar horse, suffering three cracked ribs and a broken collarbone and hand. Her husband, Guy Ritchie, drove her to a local hospital, where she was treated and released a few hours later. Fortunately she’s almost finished wrapping up her new album, which she shot cover art for last Thursday and is due out in November. That said, “I’m sure she’ll be very restless,” says rep Liz Rosenberg. “She’s usually doing lots of things at once: Pilates, riding her bike. I think it will be tough on her.” At the very least, she can count on the neighbors to pull her a sympathetic pint or two. “She is well-liked by the locals round here,” says Tim Birks, landlord of Madonna’s local pub the King John Inn. “A lot of people will be wishing her a speedy recovery.” So will she get back on the horse and ride again? “Knowing her, she’ll be riding next week,” says Rosenberg. “She is a fearless girl.”