Oprah and Madonna
"Nothing in the material world will ever make us happy," says the singer whose eighties hit "Material Girl" glorified conspicuous consumption. The Madonna who sits with me in my Harpo office says she is a woman transformed. At 45 she exudes a softer vibration and seems more at home with herself than she did during our last interview, five years ago. She prefers to be hailed not as a pop icon but as a teacher—of spiritual principles she's learned from studying Kabbalah for almost eight years, since just before her first child, Lourdes, was born.

A visitor to the London home where she lives with her husband, director Guy Ritchie, their 3-year-old son, Rocco, and Lourdes would find one sound conspicuously absent: television. "We don't talk about fame, we don't have magazines in the house, and we don't watch TV," says Madonna, who launched a children's book series with The English Roses last fall.

Motherhood, marriage, music—all three have taken on a different shimmer for her. For the first time, she says, she's learning to love unconditionally, and, after a career defined by provoking controversy, she has taken up a different kind of quest.

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Note: This interview appeared in the January 2004 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.