Madonna moves to Portugal with her four kids and stuns Lisbon locals with her massive entourage
ExclusiveBy Amy Jones in Lisbon3rd August 2018, 10:30 pmUpdated: 3rd August 2018, 10:47 pm
AT first glance it seems like any other plush Lisbon property, with its golden yellow walls and cast iron balconies.
But look a little closer and it is clear that this palatial home does not belong to your typical Portuguese-made-good.
Security cameras loom in all directions and from the windows a throbbing techno beat wafts across the breeze.
The voice on the track is unmistakably Madonnaâs, and it is here that the Queen of Pop â" and her vast entourage, including SIX chefs â " has apparently settled down.
As she prepares to turn 60 in a fortnight, she has ditched New York, and with it celebrity pals including Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Schumer, for a laid-back family life.
She told this monthâs Italian Vogue mag: âThe energy of Portugal is so inspiring. I feel very creative and alive here.â
But, for once, the Material Girlâs move to the Med is not all about her â" the plan is to turn 12-year-old son David Banda, who won a place at top-flight football club Benficaâs youth academy, into t he next Cristiano Ronaldo.
The mum of six initially stayed in a luxury hotel suite with her four adopted children â" David, Mercy, 12, and five-year-old twins Stella and Esther â" when they moved over last summer.
Daughter Lourdes, 21, is based in the US, while son Rocco, 17, lives with dad Guy Ritchie in London.
She has since embraced a relatively no-frills approach, such as when she flew to London last year on a Â£42 Air Portugal ticket, despite a fortune of around Â£450million.
She told Vogue she was so devoted to Davidâs career that she had âno lifeâ. Locals report seeing the superstar singer ferrying him to matches and practice like a regular proud parent.
She said: âIâve been desperate to get him into the best academies with the best coaches, but the level of football in America is much lower than the rest of the world.
âI saw his frustration, and I also felt it was a good time.â
She appears to have settled in with no fuss. Her neighbours describe her as âone of usâ.
Tiago Moreira, 23, a waiter at a local restaurant, told us: âShe came in, ordered a glass of local dessert wine and sat down with a girlfriend.
âShe seemed happy and relaxed and was very friendly to everyone. She had a lot of security, though.â
The 42-year-old owner of another restaurant said: âMadonna passes by here a lot â" sheâs very normal and friendly and usually says hello. Sh eâs low key.
âShe wears big glasses and doesnât want lots of attention.â
But not everyone is thrilled to have a pop star â" and her staff â" living among them.Madonna enjoys a holiday in Portugal with her adopted twins
One resident told The Sun: âI havenât seen her but Iâve seen plenty of her entourage, including all the security, the personal trainer, the nannies. Iâve heard she has six chefs. Sheâs rented houses for many of the staff and it feels like theyâre taking over the area.
âA lot of older people live here and itâs making them uneasy.
âThe convoy of blacked-out vehicles clogs up traffic and the mayor has gi ven her 15 parking spaces for all her cars, which some people were annoyed with.
âParking in Lisbon can be a nightmare. Itâs definitely preferential treatment.â
The singer is allowed to use land near her home for â¬720 (Â£640) a month. Metered street parking costs well over one euro an hour. Francisco Dias, who runs a wine shop, said Madonnaâs team often drop in to buy a few bottles.
The 35-year-old added: âSheâs chosen a good place to live. Portuguese people donât get star-struck. Itâs an older generation living here and Iâm sure many of the locals donât know who she is.
âEric Cantona has a home nearby and never has problems.âMadonna wows crowds with daring Givenchy dress on the red carpet at the Met Ball 2016
Her new house may not give much away from the outside but, inside, it is a sprawling palace fit for pop royalty, with stucco ceilings and hand-painted blue and yellow tiles. She has leased the stunning ten-bedroom property for the next year.
When she needs a break from the city, she heads for Troia, on Portugalâs hip west coast.
A source said: âTroia is a bankerâs paradise. She has very rich friends there and stays there a lot.â
All the children with her, who Madonna adopted from Malawi between 2006 and last year, have adjusted to the change.Madonna gives adopted twins Esther and Stella a singing lesson
She said: âWhatâs amazing is how resilient they are and how they embraced all things, especially music, dance, soccer and sports â" things that connect them to other people makes adaptation easier. They learned to speak Portuguese through doing all those things, not by sitting in a classroom.
âInstead, itâs fun, itâs interactive. Especially with Stella and Esther, who were in an orphanage for four years. Theyâre so happy to join in, to help out, to be part of something, whether itâs a small or a large group.âMadonna and James Corden strike a pose in the latest Carpool Karaoke
Rather than having big ambitions for her kids, she wants to mould them into good people first.
The singer said: âA lot of people say to me, âYou must really want your son to be a successful soccer player, your oldest daughter to be a dancer, Rocco to be a painterâ.
âAnd I always say, âNo, what I want my children to be is loving, compassionate, responsible human beingsâ. Thatâs all I want.
âI donât care what the vehicle is, I just want them to be good human beings that treat other human beings with dignity and respect, regardless of skin colour, religion, gender.
âThis is the most important thing. If they happen to be the next Picasso or Ronaldo, then great, thatâs just the cherry on the cake.â
All her children do appear to be thriving. E ldest daughter Lourdes is pursuing a career as a dancer in New York, while Rocco looks to have put his troubles behind him after seeming to veer off the rails two years ago, including an arrest for cannabis possession in London.
At the time he was at the centre of an ugly custody battle between Madonna and ex-husband Guy, 49.
At a gig in Nashville in January of that year, the singer apparently referred to the Sherlock Holmes director as a âc***â.
Welling up on stage in Mexico City, she told the audience: âI, too, go through challenging times in my life and right now is one of them.âMadonna speaks to Jonathan Ross about her BRITS fall
Madonna even appears to have outgrown her penchant for toyboys. After splitting from Guy in 2008, she sought comfort from 21-year-old model Jesus Luz.
The pair were together for two years until she moved on to 23-year-old French dancer Brahim Zaibat, who is three DECADES her junior.
A devout Muslim, he had initially been hired to dance at the launch of a Madonna fashion line at Macyâs department store in New York.
Barely a month after finishing with him in 2013, she hooked up with Timor Steffens, a 26-year-old Dutch dancer. But eight months later he too was packing his bags.
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In 2016, she started seeing Aboubakar Soumahoro, a 25-year-old model, but their relationship has also since fizzled out.
Now her focus appears to be firmly on her children, making sure she spends time in London, New York and Malawi to maintain relationships with the childrenâs wider family.
She said: âSix kids, no husband, single mum â" I never thought that would be me.
âBut pretty much everything thatâs ever happened to me in this life is something I never imagined.â
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