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Madonna's 6 Children: Everything You Need to Know About Lourdes, Rocco, David, Mercy, Stella, and Estere

by Tasha Mayberry


The pop icon welcomed her first child, Lourdes, in 1996 and expanded her family with the additions of Rocco, David, Mercy, and twins Stella and Estere. In 2017, Madonna graced the cover of PEOPLE, sharing insights about her life at home with her children and her emotional adoption journey. “Sometimes I would just close my eyes and think, ‘Why isn’t my kitchen filled with dancing children?’ There are so many children that need a home,” she said. “I thought, ‘What am I waiting for? Just do it.'”

The “Like a Virgin” singer honored all six of her children by getting her first tattoo in December 2020 — each of their initials on her wrist. Madonna admits that being a mother of six isn’t always easy. In an interview with Vanity Fair in January 2023, she described motherhood as “the most difficult, the hardest battle,” adding, “Today, I am still struggling to understand how to be a mother and do my job. Because, whoever you are, having children and raising them is a work of art. And no one gives you a manual. You have to learn from mistakes. It is a profession that requires a lot of time. And it is exhausting because there is never rest.” Madonna was hospitalized for a “serious bacterial infection” in June 2023.

Lourdes, 27

Madonna and her then-boyfriend, fitness trainer Carlos Leon, welcomed Lourdes Leon on October 14, 1996, in Los Angeles. From the beginning, Madonna’s eldest was the light of her life. She wrote “Little Star,” a song on her 1998 Grammy-winning album Ray of Light, for her firstborn. Now a successful fashion model, Lourdes has worked for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Swarovski, and Mugler, and has been featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair. In August 2023, she modeled nearly nude for Dion Lee’s new handbag collection. While Lourdes admits her famous mom was “a control freak” during her childhood, she has since come to admire “how empowering to other women and ahead of her time she has always been.

Rocco, 23

After splitting from Carlos Leon in May 1997, Madonna began dating director Guy Ritchie in 1998. Their son Rocco Ritchie was born in Los Angeles on August 11, 2000, and was christened in Scotland at Dornoch Cathedral in December 2000. Madonna and Ritchie married the next day at Skibo Castle, though they later divorced in 2008.

“She’s a good mother … She’s very strict but in a good way,” Rocco told Ellen DeGeneres in 2012. At the time, he was touring with Madonna and completing his schoolwork with a tutor, but later decided to live with his father in London to attend a traditional school. Despite some tension and a custody battle, Rocco and his mother were back on good terms by June 2016. Today, Rocco is a model, actor, and talented painter. His most recent art exhibition took place in Miami, showcasing a collection of paintings inspired by Muay Thai fighters.

David, 18

David Banda was born in Malawi on September 24, 2005. Madonna founded her charitable organization Raising Malawi in 2006, and during a humanitarian trip to the country in October that year, she and Ritchie decided to adopt 1-year-old David from an orphanage in Lilongwe. Despite facing legal challenges due to Malawi’s residency requirements for adoptive parents, the adoption was finally approved on May 28, 2008.

In 2019, Madonna told British Vogue that she has a special connection with David. “He’s the one I have the most in common with,” she said. “I feel like he gets me; he has more of my DNA than any of my children so far.” Madonna also praised David’s fashion sense during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in August 2022, saying, “He can put on any outfit and look swag as you know what. It’s really irritating. He wears my clothes and looks better in them. He can even wear a dress and look butch.” For David’s 18th birthday, Madonna threw a grand celebration, complete with dancing and a cake featuring his face. In May 2024, David visited Prince’s Paisley Park studio while traveling with Madonna on her Celebration tour, sharing photos from his visit on Instagram.

Mercy, 18

Chifundo “Mercy” James was born in Malawi on January 22, 2006. In 2008, following her divorce from Ritchie, Madonna applied to adopt Mercy as a single mother from an orphanage in Blantyre, Malawi. Though initially rejected by the High Court, her application was later approved on June 12, 2009.

In July 2017, Madonna opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, the first pediatric surgery and intensive care center in Malawi. Mercy celebrated her 16th birthday in January 2022 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and a Tupac Shakur exhibit. “Happy Birthday Chifundo Mercy James,” Madonna wrote on Instagram. “The kindest, most thoughtful, most magical girl on the planet! There is no one like you!” For Mercy’s 17th birthday in January 2023, Madonna held two family dinners — one at a fancy restaurant and one at home.

Stella and Estere, 11

Twins Stella and Estere were born in Malawi on August 24, 2012. Madonna adopted her youngest daughters when they were 5 in February 2017. “It’s like they were always here,” she told PEOPLE. “It didn’t take long for them to get acclimated. And they’ve learned, in time, that I’m their mother and nothing is going to change that.” As the girls have grown, they’ve discovered their passions and talents. Madonna has showcased Stella’s piano skills, and both girls are talented dancers like their older brother.

Madonna's Dating History: From Sean Penn to Guy Ritchie

Madonna has been in the spotlight for decades and has had several high-profile relationships over the years. The Queen of Pop has been married twice — first to Sean Penn from 1985 to 1989, then to Guy Ritchie from 2000 to 2008. She has also had a series of relationships and flings with other Hollywood stars, including Tupac, Dennis Rodman, and Warren Beatty, among others. Most recently, she has been linked to Summer House star Josh Popper.

While Madonna is famous for being unapologetically herself, it doesn’t mean she has “absolutely no regrets” about her past. During a 2022 Q&A on YouTube, a fan asked the “Take a Bow” singer about a life decision that “wasn’t the best idea,” to which she quickly replied, “Getting married. Both times!” In October 2022, the “Ray of Light” hitmaker sent fans into a frenzy with a TikTok video in which she appeared to come out as gay, though she has not yet directly discussed her sexuality. Here is a look back at Madonna’s romances through the years.