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Madonna Young: 15 Photos of the Pop Star Throughout Her Career

From her performances on the stage to the screen, check out these photos of the young icon!


It’s hard to think of the 80s without thinking of Madonna. From her blonde locks, one-of-a-kind fashion sense, and talent in just about every area possible, Madonna, born Madonna Louise Ciccone, was born to be a star.

But the pop star’s upbringing was far from glamourous. One of six children, she lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just five years old. However, she credited such an experience with being one of the reasons for her strong, spirited demeanor.

Despite the rebellious nature that made up her youth, for example, dressing in revealing clothing and dismissing her Roman Catholic upbringing, she was still a disciplined student who achieved high grades and success as a cheerleader and dancer. Her skill as a dancer earned her a scholarship to college, despite ultimately dropping out to pursue dance full-time in New York City.

Her life prior to fame was full of adventure and intrigue — from being a performer in France to performing as a singer in numerous bands. However, in 1981, she took the leap and went solo. Her first hit, “Everybody,” put her on the map.

Madonna grows in popularity

Success continued to come her way after “Everybody” was such a hit. Her 1983 album, Madonna, featured songs like “Boderline” and “Holiday,” and it was only a matter of time before Madonna was an international sensation.

Today, the 65-year-old singer and actress continues to shine, currently on The Celebration Tour throughout North America.

Here, take a look bck at Madonna as a young pop star.

1972: A young Madonna is full of school spirit

Madonna, 1972
Madonna, 1972Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A youthful Madonna (center) is pictured in 1972, practicing with her fellow cheerleaders at Adams High School in Rochester, Michigan.

1976: Madonna kisses high school goodbye

Madonna, 1976
Madonna, 1976Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Different from the Madonna we came to be familiar with over the years, this young girl poses for her senior year high school yearbook photo. A good student throughout school, she received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan after graduating before ultimately dropping out to move to New York City.

1979: Making a name for herself

Madonna, 1979
Madonna, 1979Michael McDonnell/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Madonna poses in a New York City dressing room in 1979 after recently making her big move to the city.

1984: A memorable performance

Madonna, 1984
Madonna, 1984Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

At the 1984 Video Music Awards, Madonna gave one of her most iconic performances of her hit song, “Like a Virgin.” Wearing a dress similar to a wedding gown, her suggestive dance moves on the stage left some viewers reeling.

1985: On the stage and the screen

Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985
Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985Orion Pictures Corporation/Getty Images

In addition to a successful career as a musician, Madonna also found great success for her work on the big screen. In 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan, she acts alongside Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn as a free-spirited drifter who finds herself in an un unusual entanglement with a New Jersey housewife.

1985: Madonna hits the road

Madonna, 1985
Madonna, 1985Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Madonna embarked on her first North American concert tour in 1985, the Virgin Tour. Pictured above, she performs at Madison Square Garden to a packed audience. With outfits and ensembles unique to her, this era saw fans trying to emulate nearly all aspects of her look.

1986: Video girl

Madonna, 1986
Madonna, 1986Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

Madonna is seen shooting her music video for her hit song, “Papa Don’t Preach.” In the video, she stars alongside Danny Aiello, who plays her father.

1986: Madonna finds young love

Madonna and Sean Penn, 1986
Madonna and Sean Penn, 1986Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

Madonna walks alongside Sean Penn. The couple were married in 1985 and separated after two tumultuous years, officially divorcing in 1989. However, both parties have expressed positivity and love toward one another in recent years.

1988: Ladies of the 80s

Jennifer Grey, Madonna, 1988
Jennifer Grey, Madonna, 1988Robin Platzer/Getty Images

Madonna and Jennifer Grey chat at a Tony Awards party — two of the biggest names of the decade!

Related: ‘Dirty Dancing’ Cast Then and Now — And The Latest Scoop On A Long-Awaited Sequel

1989: Live Aid

Madonna, 1985
Madonna, 1985jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images

Madonna performs at the 1985 US Live Aid concert in Pennsylvania to fundraise for famine relief in Ethiopia.

1990: One of Madonna’s many iconic looks

Madonna, 1990
Madonna, 1990Frans Schellekens/Redferns

Madonna sports another one of her most iconic looks onstage at a show in the Netherlands: the cone bra.

1990: Madonna makes more VMA history

Madonna, 1990Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Madonna stunned in yet another performance at the 1990 Video Music Awards. She brought her hit song “Vogue” to life in this elaborate display, complete with immaculate choreography and costumes.

1996: An award winning performance

Evita, 1997
Madonna, Evita, 1997Getty Images

Madonna took home a Golden Globe for her role in the 1996 hit film, Evita.

1997: Bringing home the gold

Madonna, 1997Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Madonna takes home the Golden Globe in 1997 for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

2001: Madonna shines on the screen once again

Madonna, 2001Daniel Smith/Getty Images

Madonna is pictured golden, tan and blonde on an Italian beach during the filming of the 2002 film, Swept Away, written and directed by her then-husband, Guy Ritchie.

2002: Madonna’s brush with royalty

Queen Elizabeth II, 2002
Queen Elizabeth II, Madonna, 2002Anwar Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Madonna shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II at the premiere of Die Another Day (2002).

Want more 80s stories? Keep reading below!

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See What the Stars of the 1980 Classic ‘9 to 5’ Have Been Up to Since the Release

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