An immensely popular entertainer and popular culture fixture for more than four decades, Madonna is one of those artists, like David Bowie or Prince that constantly reinvented themselves throughout their careers, rarely leaving the spotlight for a considerable period of time. And that is largely due to the important part that her body played in her career — from her nude modeling early days to her constantly provocative music videos of the 80s and 90s. Seeing the disproportionate attention the media gives to the physical appearance of female celebrities, the way her body looks was always a subject of hot discussion.
In the second part of her career, however, her body and face became the target of intense scrutiny with the intention to divine information about any supposed plastic surgery that she might have undergone. Madonna plastic surgery rumors have now become as much a staple of her popular culture presence as Material Girl or her marriage to Guy Ritchie, but what is the truth behind these allegations?
1. The round-faced eighties
In all fairness, the questions about possible plastic surgery done to her face did not arise only from the vulture celebrity media’s obsession with women’s bodies, but from a clearly visible difference between photos from the early-eighties incarnation of Madonna and all the subsequent ones. A rounder face, with low cheek-bones and a pronounced diastema, as well as a more girl-next-door physique are all present in pictures of a young Madonna Louise Ciccone, in contrast with the gym-fit, sharp look of her mid-career and while the dental work is obvious, specifics for this transformation abound, from good-natured explanations of the changing physiognomy through the natural changes that a person’s face goes through in their youth or the changing style of make-up and lifestyle, to the more venomous ones that hold these before and after pictures as hard proof of her use of plastic surgery or even blaming it on alleged drug abuse.
2. Constant transformation
It is even more difficult to assess the differences Madonna’s physical appearance throughout the years, not because lack of photographic documentation, but because Madonna’s look has changes so much through the years, with make-up, costume and body shape being employed in her endless string of reinventions and transformations, one of the tools that helped her stay relevant for more than 40 years in the tumultuous world of pop music. That being said, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that she has undergone surgical interventions to change her looks but, for most of her life, that would have been not only unnecessary, but unnoticeable, as her constant shape shifting in regards to looks and persona were much more immediately noticeable than any work she might have done to her face or body.
3. And then, of course, there’s the arms
Maybe one of the best arguments against theories of Madonna plastic surgery is the look of her arms which, for a few years, held celebrity rags’ headline, being famously described by the notoriously bad venom-spitter Piers Morgan as “grotesque”. The same people that were hungry to shame her for any plastic surgery were also quick to condemn a woman in her 50s that she tries to keep fit by exercising in the gym, rather than slicing and dicing ribbons of her own flesh.
4. Maintenance Work
Unlike stories of other stars whose plastic surgery is either obvious or worn on their sleeves, the thousands of tabloid pages that had been filled by the Madonna plastic surgery topic continue to hold some sort of mystery, even now when multiple pics make it obvious that her looks are being described even by the kindest people as “uncanny” for a 56 years old. The main reason for this is her apparent refusal of ever going overboard with her surgery, resorting only to small-scale surgery that is meant more to keep her from looking like an old woman, than to make her look young.