The eight Ciccone siblings include Anthony, Martin, Madonna, Paula, Christopher, Melanie, Jennifer and Mario
Meet Madonna’s seven siblings.
The “Vogue” singer grew up in a large family with four brothers and three sisters. Her father, Silvio Ciccone, and mother, Madonna Louise Ciccone, whom the Queen of Pop is named after, welcomed six children together: Anthony, Martin, Madonna, Paula, Christopher and Melanie, before the matriarch passed away in 1963 from breast cancer. Madonna was five years old at the time of her mom’s death, a tragedy that is often reflected in her music.
"I'm sure that it has influenced every decision that I've made and sort of left me with a feeling of hunger and longing; a feeling of emptiness and growing up afraid to love things because they're going to leave you," she previously told Primetime.
Her father went on to remarry the family housekeeper Joan in 1966, and the pair welcomed two children together: Jennifer and Mario.
While Madonna became one of the biggest pop stars in the world, her siblings proceeded to lead a quiet life out of the spotlight.
“If my mother didn’t die, and I grew up with a feeling of wholeness and completeness and family, I probably would have stayed in Michigan and become a schoolteacher,” she once told Rolling Stone.
So who are the Ciccone siblings? Here is everything to know about Madonna’s seven brothers and sisters.
Madonna and her siblings were raised in Michigan
Madonna and her siblings grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan, where Silvio worked as an optical engineer for Chrysler and General Dynamics and Joan operated a daycare out of their home.
After graduating high school, Madonna stayed near her hometown to attend the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship before launching into superstardom. The award-winning musician has spoken fondly of her roots, including when Jeff Bezos tweeted that he was looking for philanthropic ideas to financially support.
“@JeffBezos you, me, the motor city. Let’s go and I will show incredible opportunities for almost instant impact in one of the coolest cities in America #Detroit,” she wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
They grew up in a religious household
Madonna’s parents were devout Catholics and the religion played a large role in her and her siblings’ childhood.
“I grew up with priests and nuns, and I always looked up to them,” the star told NPR for Northern Colorado. “I mean, my grandmother's kitchen was always filled with priests and nuns. And, you know, everything was about the church, while everybody was slugging back the martinis. It was fabulous."
Her religious upbringing has been the inspiration for some of her most controversial work, including the music video for “Like a Prayer," which featured burning crosses and erotic images of Jesus, and was condemned by Catholics, including the Vatican.
“The theme of Catholicism runs rampant through my album,” Madonna told The New York Times a few years after the song’s release. “It’s me struggling with the mystery and magic that surrounds it.”
Madonna’s brother Anthony died in 2023
Madonna’s eldest sibling Anthony Ciccone died earlier this year from respiratory failure and throat cancer at the age of 66. The “4 Minutes” singer visited Ciccone shortly before his death on Feb. 24, 2023.
The two siblings had a complex relationship due to his longstanding struggles with addiction, but his younger sister was supportive of him in his final months, a source previously told PEOPLE.
Madonna honored her brother in an Instagram Story after his death that featured the pair posing for a black-and-white photo in the ‘80s alongside their siblings.
"Thank you for blowing my mind as a young girl," she wrote, adding: "You planted many important seeds," she captioned the post, crediting him with introducing her to Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Buddhism, Taoism, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac and expansive thinking.
Her brother Christopher worked as her art director, designer and interior decorator
Madonna and her younger brother Christopher worked side-by-side in the early stages of her career. He appeared as a backup dancer in one of her earliest videos, “Lucky Star,” and went on to serve as the art director of Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour in 1990 and the production design lead for her 1993 tour, The Girlie Show.
He also migrated into interior design in 1985, when Madonna asked him to buy furniture for her new apartment.
“She had just married Sean [Penn] and they had a two-bedroom apartment. She needed help buying some furniture, and there’s where my interest began for filling a space, designing a room, and working with a client,” Ciccone told Northern Express.
He has since gone on to design Manhattan restaurants, Miami luxury condos and even furniture for sitting presidents.
Madonna co-wrote a song with her brother-in-law
Madonna’s brother-in-law Joe Henry, who is a singer-songwriter and married to her sister Melanie, helped co-write her second single “Don’t Tell Me” off her 2000 album, Music.
Madonna got the inspiration for the track when Melanie sent her Henry’s demo of a song titled “Stop,” and the Evita star admired the lyrics.
“My [demo] version was written in about 20 minutes, and I did not revise it. I let it stand for the burst that it was,” Henry told Variety. He added that “Madonna heard its pop sensibility, and sculpted a chorus out of a passing stanza from my original take. That repetition gave it weight, and expanded it, sharpened a hook that I had barely gestured toward. That evidences her gift of taking something fairly obtuse, and translating into something memorable.”
The track, which was also co-produced by Mirwais Ahmadzai, peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 2001, and Henry later released his own version of the song on his 2001 album Scar.
Madonna’s brother Mario and sister Paula tried their hand in the entertainment industry
When Madonna dropped out of the University of Michigan in 1978 to chase her dreams in New York, Paula followed a few years later, with ambitions of her own career in showbusiness.
Paula took jobs behind-the-scenes, including serving as an effects coordinator for I Love Trouble (1994) and working in visual effects for Space Jam (1996), before moving back to Michigan and settling down.
Madonna’s brother Mario, who plays the guitar, also broke into the music industry like his older sister, telling Northern Express that he became serious about learning to become a songwriter when he hit 20.
“I was having a conversation with my sister on the phone one day, and she encouraged me to come to L.A. to check it out for a year and to see if I could find some people to play with out there. I packed up all my stuff and along with a drummer friend moved to L.A.”
He ended up playing in a few bands that first year and landed a demo deal with Warner Brothers.
“I flew to Toronto and went into the studio, redid the two songs I had sent them, and recorded two additional songs,“ he said. “I flew back to L.A. only to learn that the label wanted me to remix them again. Essentially, they wanted me to change my songs, and I was unwilling to do that.”
Mario was simultaneously working at Maverick Records and climbing the corporate ladder in sales and marketing.
“I love to make music and I started to see how the industry worked and I didn‘t want to be on the performer end of it anymore,” he said.
Mario stayed working at Maverick while slowly letting go of his musical ambitions.
“I made a choice to be on the end that I am at now because I wanted to be involved in this industry for the long term, helping bands and breaking new bands.”
Madonna’s dad started a family vineyard where several of her siblings work
As they ventured into retirement, Silvio and Joan established the Ciccone Vineyard and Winery in Suttons Bay, Michigan, in 1995.
This was a decades-long passion of Silvio’s, who learned the winemaking process from his own father and hoped to one day pass the tradition down to his children.
Three of Madonna’s siblings work in the family business. Madonna’s youngest sibling, Mario, is the manager of the vineyard, her sister Paula is an award-winning winemaker and her sister Jennifer helps oversee the business.
Madonna’s sister Melanie attended Rocco’s christening in London
Madonna and Melanie have remained close over the years, with the entertainment multihyphenate even singing her sister’s praises during a pre-show prayer at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I'm so happy to have my sister Melanie in this room right now,” Madonna said in the Instagram video. “No one knows better than her what it's like to survive our toxic and broken family from Michigan.”
She also showed her appreciation for her brother-in-law saying, “Her lovely, incredibly talented husband Joe Henry, who is an amazing singer, songwriter, human being and who I've written a lot of songs with, it's a pleasure and honor to have with you.”
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