Madonna: I Need to Be a "Tougher" Mom to Lourdes

The Queen of Pop opens up about her struggles as a single mother of four -- and reacts to photos of her 15-year-old daughter smoking

Madonna might be one the most successful female performers on the planet -- but she still struggles when it comes to being a single mother of four.

In a new interview for Rock Center with Brian Williams (which airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on NBC), the 53-year-old Queen of Pop addresses the controversy involving her 15-year-old daughter Lourdes Leon -- who was recently photographed smoking. (Watch an excerpt from the interview, which aired Wednesday on Today, below.)
 


Not surprisingly, the Material Girl "wasn't very happy" when she saw the photos of her teenager puffing away -- but she still considers herself a somewhat strict parent. "I think I am (a tough mom), but honestly I don't think I'm as tough as I should be," she admits. "I think I need to be maybe tougher."

When interviewer Harry Smith references Madonna's recent music video for "Girl Gone Wild," which shows Madonna smoking a cigarette, as a potential reason for Lourdes' rebellion, the singer is quick to defend herself.

"I don't smoke. That's just an accessory, Harry. There's a difference," she says. "(Lourdes) smoked that cigarette before I did that video!"

Still, Madonna admits that the struggle to find the right balance in parenting can be "hard."

"Every day is a negotiation, but cigarette smoking I'm not very fond of for anyone," she says. "I don't approve of anyone smoking cigarettes, most of all my daughter."

The past few months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Madonna, with plentiful ups and downs.

Her new album MDNA received positive reviews and opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in late March, but then quickly dropped off in sales during its second week. And her Super Bowl halftime performance got raves from citics, but was ultimately marred by controversy surrounding co-performer M.I.A.'s middle finger. According to Madonna, that's just the way things are.

"We all have our challenges," Madonna says. "To be a single mother of four and to work as much as I do, with my life in a kind of metaphorical fish bowl, it's pretty challenging. But so far I've survived with sanity and humor intact."

As for whether there's more than one Madonna persona out there, she admits "there are probably about 25." Her children -- Lourdes, Mercy, David and Rocco -- get to see the real one, though.

Says Madonna: "For my children there's mostly the one that comes home and says, 'Have you done your homework?' and 'Why are you wearing that?' and 'Why did you say that?' and 'What are you eating that for?'"

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